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This Kale Apple Walnut Salad is healthy, easy and delicious!

Kale Apple Walnut Salad

Lots of people ask us where we get our inspiration for the recipes we share here on A Family Feast. In the case of this Kale Apple Walnut Salad – inspiration came from behind the deli counter at a Safeway supermarket in Lake Tahoe, California.

We just spent the last week in Lake Tahoe vacationing with two other families. (Such a gorgeous place!) Since our condo rental came with a very well-equipped kitchen, we decided as a group to cook as many meals ‘at home’ as possible to save money for other fun vacation activities.

Kale salad with apples and walnuts

Luckily for us, a supermarket was right across the street – and on our first night after we arrived, we stocked up on groceries, including a delicious Kale Apple Walnut Salad from the deli.

Everyone in our group loved that Kale Apple Walnut Salad – fresh, curly kale with chunks of sweet apple and crunchy walnuts, plus thinly sliced cabbage and red onion, and a little bit of hard cheese – all tossed in a light and mildly sweet dressing. So of course, Jack and I looked at each other and said, “We can make this!” (Yes – recipe inspiration comes from anywhere!)

This Kale Apple Walnut Salad recipe makes a big batch, so it’s a great, healthy option to bring along to a summer cookout. It also stores nicely in the refrigerator – in fact, I think this salad tastes even better the next day after the flavors meld together and the kale softens a bit.

Kale Apple and Walnut Salad

The employees working behind the deli counter at Safeway told me that the Kale Apple Walnut Salad is very popular with their customers. I can definitely see why – it’s delicious! And while I don’t know if our recipe is an exact copycat of Safeway’s Kale Apple Walnut Salad – our version comes very close to recreating the same flavors.

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Kale Apple Walnut Salad

Kale Apple Walnut Salad

  • Author: Martha
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings


1 medium leafy head of green curly kale (8 cups loosely packed leaves)

1 medium leafy head of red curly kale (8 cups loosely packed leaves)

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

4 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 tablespoons walnut oil (canola or grape seed oil can be used)

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 ½ cups walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 large Fuji apples peeled, cored and diced small (about 3 cups)

¾ cup grated hard cheese such as Romano, Parmesan or Asiago (We used half Romano and half Parmesan)


Remove leaves from stems by running a sharp knife down each side. Chop the kale into small bite sized pieces. Rinse, drain and dry. You should have about 16 cups (one gallon) of loosely packed leaves.

Place the kale into a large bowl and add onions and cabbage.

In a small bowl mix vinegar, oil, salt, mustard and sugar. Whip to combine and pour over the leaves.

With clean hands, massage the liquid into the leaves for about two minutes. The leaves will start to break down and become a little limp. Let this sit at room temperature for ten minutes.

Place the walnuts in a dry sauté pan over medium heat and toast, about five minutes. Cool.

Add cooled walnuts to salad along with the diced apples and grated cheese and toss.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Kale Apple Walnut Salad - Fresh curly kale tossed with apples, walnuts, red onion and cabbage. Such a healthy and delicious salad!

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  • Debbie Potts wrote:

    I made this today for my Culinary clubs Fall luncheon. It was a big hit. I did add dried cherries and replaced the sugar in the dressing with maple syrup.

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds like some delicious additions Debbie! So glad the recipe was a hit!

  • Northern Neck Princess wrote:

    I declare, I must confess, that of the many cooking blogs I read, you all really do an outstanding job. You recipes are tantalizing, your photography is gorgeous and I just love reading what and how you write. How do you manage all of this because I think you have indicated you both work full time, have children AND take a vacation to Lake Tahoe. I may have to go lah down before I finish writing this comment.

    Anyway, I have not made this recipe yet, though I plan to do so. BUT, I am giving it a five ⭐️ Rating because I am experienced enough to know it is a good recipe. I can tell how it is going to taste and it looks like one of those keeper recipes. You know the ones you serve at holidays when you tell your husband to go to the store on .Christmas Eve for kale “and do not come home for Christmas without the kale!” For every Christmas after that, when the children gather round the tree, the youngest says, “Why don’t Daddy ever write home?” The whispered response being, “he’s still lookin’ fer kale.” Collective sigh.

    Anyway, I think you should add that one should massage the dressing into the kale ‘in the privacy of one’s home’. And what is the matter with those Lake Tahoe people that they didn’t put ham hocks in their kale salad? I declare, no upstanding Virginian would ever eat kale without ham hock! 😉 lol!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hello Northern Neck Princess! Thank you so much for your kind words – you’ve made our day! (Yes – life is pretty hectic but we love what we do!) Your comments gave both Jack and me a big chuckle (several actually!) 😉 – you should be writing a blog yourself! Anyway, thank you again for taking the time to write to us and I hope you enjoy the recipe! Have a great rest of the weekend.

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