A Winter Kale Salad with Apple & Gruyere—Plus the Secret to Making Kale Taste Amazing

If you spent your January trying to eat more leafy greens, I get it—another kale salad in your life may not sound all that exciting. But I’ve found that kale is what you make of it. Sure, it can feel like a big bowl of roughage, but as shown here, it can also be an incredible vessel for crunchy almonds, sweet apples, a shower of salty Gruyère cheese, and creamy mustard dressing. And when you know how to properly massage it with a little olive oil and salt, kale can be pretty darn delicious, too.

If you’ve been around here awhile, you know that my recipes are flavor-forward and nutrient-rich. I want my food to taste amazing—and make me feel amazing, too. This kale and apple salad is packed with vibrant flavors, fresh ingredients, and the zestiest mustard dressing that takes it over the top. Read on to see how this salad comes together with just five ingredients (plus dressing), and how to make your kale taste every bit as good as “that kale salad you ate that time” in a restaurant. Promise.

How to Make This Kale Apple Salad With Gruyère & Almonds

This is one of those (amazing) recipes that has so much flavor and texture, it’s almost shocking how few ingredients it has! Here are the components to make this kale apple salad so delish:

1. Torn Tuscan Kale

A hearty, dark leafy green that provides the salad’s base. It’s packed with nutrients and adds a satisfying crunch.

2. Chopped Apple

Choose your favorite apple variety for a sweet and crisp contrast to the kale. I like one that’s crunchy and sweet, like a honeycrisp.

3. Chopped or Shaved Gruyère Cheese

Creamy and slightly nutty Gruyère cheese complements the kale and apple, adding depth of flavor and a salty contrast. You can sub parmesan or even an aged cheddar.

4. Red Onion

Thinly sliced red onion provides even more flavor and a beautiful pop of color to this salad.

5. Chopped Roasted Almonds

Roasted almonds bring the toasty smokiness this salad needs—not to mention, a delightful crunch.

6. Mustard Dressing

A zesty mustard dressing ties all the ingredients together, infusing the salad with tangy richness. (Which kale really needs, in my opinion.)

kale apple salad with almonds and gruyere
kale apple salad with almonds and gruyere

How to Make Kale Taste GREAT

Kale gets a bad rap, and rightfully so: it can be hard to swallow when not property prepared. Here’s how to make it something you’ll actually crave.

  1. Massage the kale. Before assembling your salad, massage the kale leaves with a touch of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt for a minute or two, until it’s shiny, silky, and reduced in size. This helps soften the leaves and reduces bitterness.
  2. Chop finely. Finely chop your kale to make it easier to eat and ensure the flavors come together perfectly.
  3. Add sweetness. The chopped apple adds a sweet contrast to the kale’s bitterness, making it more palatable.
  4. Balance with cheese. Gruyère cheese adds creaminess and richness, balancing the flavors in the salad.
kale apple salad with almonds and gruyere

Nutritional Benefits of This Kale Apple Salad

Because I like my food to nourish my taste buds and my body (yes, I ask a lot), it comes as no surprise that this salad is brimming with nutrition. Here’s how this kale apple salad will fuel you:

  • Fiber. Kale and apples are rich in fiber, aiding digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness.
  • Vitamins and minerals. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, boasting vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and potassium.
  • Protein. Almonds and cheese provide a dose of plant-based protein, essential for muscle health and overall well-being.
  • Antioxidants. This salad is packed with antioxidants, helping to combat free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
winter kale salad camille styles 1932

Optional Ingredient Swaps

Every salad recipe is an opportunity for endless riffs and experimentation, based on your preferences and what you have on hand. Here are some easy modifications to try:

  • Make it vegan. Swap out Gruyère cheese for a dairy-free alternative like nutritional yeast or vegan cheese.
  • Add a protein boost. This salad is delicious topped with grilled chicken or roasted salmon for a full meal.
  • Try other fruits. Experiment with chopped pears, halved grapes, or sliced figs for other delicious winter fruit combinations.
  • Add other nuts. Feel free to use pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts in place of almonds—just make sure they’re toasted for that warm nutty flavor.

Trust me, you’re going to savor every bite of this delicious kale apple salad. Scroll on for the recipe and let me know what you think!

Other Great Salad Recipes You’ll Love:

Spicy Cauliflower Salad

Squash and Farro Salad

Green Salad with Sesame Dressing


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Elevate your salad game with this delicious kale and apple salad. The salty, crunchy, creamy, and sweet ingredients make every bite something to savor.

  • 1 head Tuscan Kale, washed and dried
  • 1 Honeycrisp (or other sweet) apple, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped or shaved Gruyère cheese
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced or shaved on a mandoline
  • 1/3 roasted salted almonds, chopped

For the mustard dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Make the vinaigrette. Add everything to a blender, and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Prepare the kale. Remove the leaves from the tough stems (discard the stems), then chop into bite-sized pieces. Add to a very large salad bowl, drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Use your hands to massage for about a minute, until the kale has reduced a bit in size and is bright green and glossy.
  3. To the bowl, add the chopped apple, Gruyère, red onion, and almonds.
  4. Pour over half the vinaigrette, and use your hands (or a big spoon) to mix everything well. Drizzle a little extra dressing over the top and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or place in the fridge for up to six hours.
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Category: salads

Keywords: kale apple salad

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