Apple and kale salad with a sweet garlic dressing. A fresh and crunchy salad – kale, cabbage and fennel – tossed with sweet cranberries and apples.

kale, apple, cabbage salad with fennel and pumpkin seeds and cranberries

Who said you can’t make a fresh and colourful salad in the middle of winter?

This Apple and Kale salad is prefect this time of year when the more usual and tender salad ingredients are just not available, very expensive  – or just not that nice. Crunchy cabbage and sweet fennel are prefect with toasted, slightly salty, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries.

Adding fresh veggies to your meal plan during the winter months can be a challenge. Which is why I tend to grab a head of cabbage or two. Cabbage does not have to be limited to cole slaw. It makes an inexpensive and interesting salad that packs nicely too.  Cabbage also seems to last forever in the refrigerator. I find myself cutting off a wedge from the same head of cabbage over a week or two –  shredding it into salads or toppings for tacos or burgers.

spiced apple pie jelly

I’ve used apple jelly to sweetened the dressing. I like using jam and jellies in salad dressings to add a bit of sweetness and some unusual flavours. You can use marmalade or apricot jam in its place or just a bit of maple syrup. I realize not everyone has spiced apple jelly hanging out in the fridge. But if you do… this is a good place to use it.

A few notes for this kale salad:

  • Because these greens are on the heartier side this salad will keep, dressed, nicely for a couple of days if refrigerated. They apples may darken a bit but will stay crunchy. Just watch the garlic. I find the garlic in the dressing intensifies as it sits. If you are making this for lunches – and it packs beautifully in lunches – you may want to skip the garlic. (And maybe that only depends on whether you have meetings scheduled in the afternoon 😉)
  • You can purchase salted and roasted pumpkin seeds at the grocery store. Buying them already roasted makes the prep a bit easier here. Just buy them in small quanities as they are highly perishable once toasted.
  • Kale salads often get a bad rep because people believe kale requires special prep. I just remove the stems, tear the leaves into bite sized pieces and wash like any other softer lettuse. I find it pretty easy to use.

Apple and Kale Salad with Sweet Apple Dressing

A fresh and sweet winter salad - crunchy fennel, cabbage, apple, cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds in a creamy garlicky dressing.
Prep Time25 mins
Total Time25 mins
Servings: 6 servings


For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup of raw cashews soaked
  • 2 tablespoons spiced apple jam or 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon digon mustard
  • 1 small clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • freshly grated black pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoons of water

for the salad:

  • 4 cups chopped kale about one bunch, stems removed
  • 1/2 a small bul of fennel thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 tart apple cored and thinly sliced, half moons
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese optional


  • Soak cashews in warm water for at least 30 minutes, drain.
  • Place cashews and all dressing ingredients, except water, into a blender or the small bowl of food processor fitted with an S-blade. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add water, start with 2 tablespoons, then adding more as needed, blending between each addition, until desired consistency is reached. Taste for salt, add more if needed.
  • Toss together salad ingredients, along with dressing in a large salad bowl. Toss at least 30 minutes before serving. Salad will keep, dressed, for a couple of days if refrigerated.


The salad will stay crisp for a day or two if refrigerated. However, the garlic will become stronger and more pungent as it sits. If you want this salad for lunches over a couple of days, you may want to reduce the garlic.
Trish | The In Fine Balance Food Blog