You will love this Autumn-inspired Kale Salad Recipe with apples, pears, cranberries, and toasted pecans with honey lemon dressing. It’s so easy to prepare and it’s one of the few green salads that can be made ahead.
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Kale Salad Recipe
We love this seasonal Kale Salad in the cooler months because it is loaded with all of our favorite Fall ingredients: crisp apples, pears, pecans, and kale of course! The simple honey-lemon dressing coats every bite of this kale salad and makes it completely fresh, healthy, and delicious!
This salad and a bowl of Creamy Sweet Potato Soup are all we need for the perfect Fall meal.
Is Kale Healthy?
Kale is considered a superfood. It is packed with Vitamin K, Vitamin A and Vitamin C and is considered one of the most nutritious foods. It also offers antioxidants and has so many health benefits. See the nutrition label below for details on this salad.
Kale is more versatile than you think. It’s also great in soups like Zuppa Toscana and our Sausage Kale Soup.
How to Make Kale Salad Dressing:
Combine lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a measuring cup and stir until dissolved.
Pro Tip: If your honey doesn’t dissolve readily, you can place the bottom of your dressing container into a bowl of hot water to warm it slightly, which should do the trick!
How to Prepare Kale:
Strip kale leaves (hold the stem in one hand and pull the leaves off with the other). Discard the stems as they are fibrous and tough.
Chop leaves into bite-sized pieces and double rinse the chopped leaves to catch any trapped dust in the curly leaves then thoroughly dry in a salad spinner.
Why Should You Massage Kale?
Raw kale is naturally a tough green and massaging it helps to soften it up so you can enjoy it without having to cook it. Be sure not to over-massage it so you don’t end up with mushy kale. Rub the kale and dressing together just until the kale starts to wilt.
How to Make Autumn Kale Salad:
1. Place kale in a salad bowl, add cranberries, and drizzle with all of the dressing. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale, just until the kale starts to wilt. This will help to soften it. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
2. Before serving, top with sliced apples, sliced pears, thinly sliced onions, and toasted pecans. Toss to combine.
Can I Make Kale Salad Ahead?
We completely LOVE that this Autumn Kale Salad is a make-ahead salad. Most green leaf salads like our Autumn Chicken Salad must be eaten soon after they are made but this one just gets better with time! I recommend letting the kale marinate with the dressing for 4 hours or overnight. We’ve enjoyed this salad after 2 hours but the leaves are softer and just right after marinating 4 hours.
PS. The lemon dressing preserves the fruit so leftovers of this kale salad are still very tasty the next day – perfect for a work or school lunch! 🙂
This kale salad is loaded with the good stuff. Every bite is so satisfying! The make-ahead option makes it perfect for serving up at your next party.
What to Serve with Kale Salad:
There are some recipes that end up on the regular rotation during the cooler months. These are the dishes we love to cozy up with and they pair perfectly with Kale Salad. Check out more of our favorite Fall Recipes Here.
Kale Salad Recipe with Honey Lemon Dressing
Prep Time: 4 hours
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
This Autumn Kale salad is loaded with crisp apples, pears and crunchy pecans. The simple honey-lemon dressing coats every bite and makes it completely fresh, healthy and delicious!
Cost to Make:
Salad, Side Dish
Calories: 275 kcal
Servings: 6 as a side salad
Ingredients for Salad Dressing:
Ingredients for Kale Salad:
(8 cups loosely packed) well rinsed
small red onion
(I used a crisp fuji apple)
toasted on a dry skillet
Combine all dressing ingredients and stir together until honey dissolves then set aside.
Rinse and strip kale leaves. Chop in bite-sized pieces. I rinse the chopped leaves a second time to ensure there isn’t any dust hidden in the curly leaves then dry in a salad spinner.
Place kale in a salad bowl, top with 1 cup craisins and drizzle with dressing. Use hands to stir well and massage lightly until kale just starts to wilt. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Before serving, add sliced apples, sliced pears, thinly sliced onions and toasted pecans. Toss to combine.
Kale Salad Recipe with Honey Lemon Dressing
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Vitamin A 975IU20%
Vitamin C 19mg23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen