With all the heavy dishes that accompany this cooler weather and seasonal holiday meals, I like to get behind a light salad every now and again. Winter kale salad with crisp apples, tangy goat cheese and spiced pecans tossed in apple cider vinaigrette is the perfect fall salad that can be on your table from start to finish in 10 minutes. Take that, lazy weeknight dinner.
What I love about making salads is that you can really customize it for the seasons based on the fresh seasonal ingredients that you can throw in there. For instance, throw in some apples or butternut squash, and you instantly have a fall or winter salad. Some of my other favourites to make in the cooler months are my fall harvest salad with roasted butternut squash, apple walnut salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and goat cheese and tangelo winter salad with creamy dressing.
Ingredients in this Kale Salad
The best part about this recipe is that is versatile and completely customizable. Really, what you need is 1 bunch of your favourite leafy green + 1 crisp fruit + your favourite cheese + crunchy nuts. Here are the ingredients that I used:
- kale - you can use whichever type of kale you like best. I usually go for Lacinto kale (also known as Tuscan kale), but this week, I could only get my hands on curly kale. You can also easily switch out the kale completely for your favourite leafy green. I would recommend swiss chard, collard greens, and mustard greens, which I fing work better in this recipe than spinach or arugula.
- honey crisp apples - any kind of apple works in this salad. You can also substitute the apple with pear.
- goat cheese - I grabbed tangy and sweet goat cheese to balance the flavour of the spicy pecans. For an alternative, try blue cheese.
- spiced pecans - you can also use just regular toasted pecans instead of spiced pecans.
- apple cider vinaigrette - made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. This vinaigrette is what all your salads need from fall until spring. Plus, you can double the amount of dressing and save half in the fridge to use throughout the week.
How to Make the Best Winter Kale Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
First, make the apple cider vinaigrette in a small mixing bowl by whisking together olive oil, apple cider, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
Place kale in a large mixing bowl and pour dressing over top. Toss to combine and let sit for 10 minutes. Then, add sliced apples, crumbled goat cheese, and spiced pecans on top. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
How to Make Easy Spiced Pecans
Have you tried spiced pecans before? They add a really delicious zing to salads, charcuterie boards, and are even perfect for snacking on solo. If you can't get your hands on spiced pecans at your local grocery store, you can easily make your own:
- Lightly toast pecans in a non-stick skillet.
- In a small bowl, combine ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cayenne, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- In a medium bowl, add pecans and 2 tablespoons of butter. Toss to coat. Add spice mixture and toss again until fully coated.
More Salad Recipes
- Fall Harvest Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
- Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad
- Goat Cheese and Tangelo Winter Salad with Creamy Dressing
- Apple Walnut Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Radicchio and Mandarin Orange Salad with Walnuts and Currants
- Mediterranean Chickpea Wedge Salad with Hummus Dressing
- The Best Greek Salad
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.
Cozy winter kale salad with apple cider vinaigrette is easy to make with crispy apples, tangy goat cheese and crunchy spiced pecans in under 10 minutes.
- 1 large bunch kale, stems removed and leaves shredded or roughly chopped
- 2 honey crisp apples, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup spiced pecans (see notes for how to make your own)
Apple Cider Vinaigrette:
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, make the apple cider vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil, apple cider, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Place kale in a large bowl and pour dressing over top. Toss to combine and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Add sliced apples, crumbled goat cheese, and spiced pecans on top. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
How to make spiced pecans: In a small bowl, combine ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cayenne, and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a medium bowl, add pecans and 2 tablespoons of butter. Toss to coat. Add spice mixture and toss again until fully coated.
Apple cider vinaigrette: Double up on the dressing recipe and save in the refrigerator in an airtight container and use on salads all week.
How to store: Store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If you are planning to make ahead, I would recommend storing the vinaigrette separately, and then mixing together when ready to serve.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Salad
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: winter kale salad with apple cider vinaigrette and spiced pecans, kale salad with pecans, easy kale salad with apples