Apple and kale salad with a sweet garlic dressing. A fresh and crunchy salad – kale, cabbage, and fennel – tossed with sweet cranberries and apples.
Who said you can’t make a fresh and colorful salad in the middle of winter?
This Apple and Kale salad is perfect 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 perfect 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 coleslaw. 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.
I’ve used apple jelly to sweetened the dressing. I like using jams and jellies in salad dressings to add a bit of sweetness and some unusual flavors. 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. The 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 quantities 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 lettuce. I find it pretty easy to use.
Apple and Kale Salad with Sweet Apple Dressing
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 dijon 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 a 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.