Everyday Kale Salad
Yield: 8 side servings; 4 entrée servings (add protein of choice)
A short list of fresh ingredients pair with pantry staples to deliver a kaleidoscope of flavors, colors, and textural appeal while offering a flexible base upon which to build.

For the vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup (56ml) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) apple cider vinegar*
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) freshly squeezed orange or clementine juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1½ teaspoons (10g) honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (plus an extra sprinkle for the kale)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 large or 2 smaller bunches (~14 ounces) lacinato kale**, ribs removed and thinly slivered (10-12 cups once chopped)
  • 1 medium apple, thinly sliced or chopped (I leave skin on)
  • ⅓ cup (38g) dried cranberries or cherries
  • ⅓ cup (38g) toasted sliced almonds or chopped salted almonds (I love smokehouse almonds)
  • ⅓ cup (38g) crumbled feta or coarsely shredded sharp cheddar or smoked Gruyere


  1. For the vinaigrette: (yield: ~½ cup) In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, shallot, honey, salt, and pepper. Or add to a Mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake well. (Tip: If you have a few extra minutes, sprinkle the salt over the minced shallot and let it sit for 10 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. This will mellow the shallot.)
  2. For the salad: Place the thinly sliced kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt (I use about ¼ teaspoon here. If watching sodium, you may omit.) and massage the kale—literally just squeeze bunches of it with your hands— for a minute or so, or until the leaves soften and become a deeper shade of green. (You may skip this step altogether, but it will make the kale more tender.)
  3. Add the apple, cranberries, almonds, and cheese. (Tip: If expecting leftovers, I sprinkle the plated servings with the almonds for best crunch.)
  4. Drizzle with about a ⅓ cup of the dressing and toss to evenly coat. Add more dressing to taste and refrigerate any leftover for later use.


* I have used red wine vinegar instead of the apple cider vinegar specified in the vinaigrette. It’s worth making if you don’t have the latter, although the flavor is more pronounced. Alternatively, you could try a white wine vinegar if you don’t have ACV.

** Also called Tuscan or dinosaur kale, lacinato kale is more tender than curly kale, although I’ve used the latter and it works well. The size of kale bunches varies widely, so check the weight, or plan on 8-10 packed cups once chopped.

Storage & prep-ahead tips:
 The vinaigrette may be made in advance and will maintain freshness for about 2 weeks. Covered and refrigerated, the dressed salad will keep for up to 4 days.
•  The kale may be chopped up to a day in advance and kept in an airtight container or sealed bag.
•  The salad may be prepared and dressed early in the day and then refrigerated (covered) until ready to serve. In this case, I wait to add the cheese and nuts, but even when fully combined, the salad will taste great over time. Leftovers keep for 3 to 4 days, making this salad great for lunches and dinners throughout the week. The vinegar in the dressing preserves the color of the apples and the overall freshness.

Best way to prepare the kale? Strip the leaves away from the tough stems, and then stack the leaves and roll into a tight “cigar” (you can fold over the skinnier ends before rolling), and then slice very thinly (⅛- to ¼-inch wide) with a sharp knife.


There’s sufficient dressing to accommodate add-ins. Following are some of my favorites:

• I often roast sweet potatoes. I love them so often go heavy, but two medium (or about a pound) is a good place to start.
• Other roasted vegetables, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and winter squash complement this salad nicely too.
• The creaminess of a chopped avocado is lovely in this salad. If expecting leftovers, you may wish to use as a topping.
Instead of almonds, feel free to use walnuts, pistachios, or other nut/seeds of your choice. A mix of several is nice as well.
• Goat cheese and shaved Parmesan offer yet more alternatives to the cheeses mentioned above. I have yet to use blue cheese, but I bet it would be delicious!

For a vegan salad: Omit the cheese and use maple syrup or agave instead of the honey.

Make it a meal: Salmon and chicken take especially well to this salad, although pork tenderloin, ham, and cannellini or chickpeas also pair well.

More recipes at FountainAvenueKitchen.com