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Last updated March 28, 2023

Healthy Kale Apple Salad with Cider Vinaigrette (Paleo, Whole30)

This Healthy Kale Salad is filled with some of the best fall flavors including chopped kale, crisp fall apples, roasted brussels sprouts, sweet potato, crunchy pecans, and pumpkin seeds. Pair with a simple apple cider vinaigrette and a touch of maple syrup.

Why You’ll Love This Healthy Kale Salad Recipe

All of your favorite fall fruits and vegetables are in this easy, colorful, whole-food salad. Get back to basics with freshly chopped kale, nutritious brussels sprouts, crispy apples, roasted sweet potato, nutty pecans, and tasty pumpkin seeds.

Fall Kale Salad with apples, brussel sprouts, sweet potato, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and purple onions in a white salad bowl.
  • It’s super easy to make! Prep is only 5 minutes, and the oven does the work for you in terms of roasting the sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts.
  • This healthy kale apple salad is filled with some of the best flavors fall and winter have to offer like apples, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, pecans, and pumpkin seeds.
  • It’s an interesting mix of textures! Kale is always a nice crunch, and roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts add a smooth melting touch.
  • The kale salad is versatile! Substitute different veggies, nuts, or add different proteins to the salad without compromising the flavor profile.
  • This fall recipe is Paleo, Vegangluten-free, and can be Whole30 (if you leave out the maple syrup in the dressing).
  • This salad is filled with nutritious foods and fiber that your body needs! Kale is a natural source of vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. And fresh fruit like apples contains vitamin C.
  • In sufficient quantity, it makes a perfectly healthy and nourishing meal, and you can use it as a side dish too!

How to make this Kale Apple Salad

  • Start by cubing the sweet potatoes. Mine were about 1/2″ bite-sized pieces. After cubing, place the potatoes onto the sheet pan.
  • Next, slice the brussels sprouts. Rip off any outer leaves that are yellow or brown. Trim the scalloped ends off and slice the brussels sprouts in half, vertically. For larger brussels sprouts, cut them into halves again. Arrange brussels sprouts on the sheet pan along with the sweet potatoes.
Cubed sweet potatoes on a cutting board
sliced brussel sprouts on cutting board
  • Toss the sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts with avocado or olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until soft and slightly brown.
  • While the sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts are roasting, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.
Sliced brussel sprouts and cubed sweet potatoes on a sheet pan

Cutting the Kale

First, chop the kale leaves after washing and drying them in a salad spinner. There are many ways to cut kale, but I find this way the easiest. When chopping kale, you first want to remove the thick stem.

  • Using your hands: Squeeze the top of the stem of the kale. Slide your fingers down the kale to rip the leafy part of the kale off. When the stem is removed, chop the kale into small pieces and place it into the large salad bowl.
  • Using your knife: Take the knife and slice vertically down and in between the stem and leafy part of the kale. Throw the stem away and chop the kale into small pieces or ribbons and place them into the large bowl.

Combining

  • Combine the diced onion, sliced apple, pecans, and pumpkin seeds in a large salad bowl along with the kale.
Fall Kale Salad with apples, brussel sprouts, sweet potato, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and purple onions in a white salad bowl.

Making the healthy kale salad dressing. 

  • Combine the extra-virgin olive oilapple cider vinegar, and maple syrup into a salad dressing jar or container and shake! Keep in mind that you may not use all of the dressing. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
  • Lastly, add in the cooled sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts and toss with salad spoons or your hands. If serving with dressing, toss right before serving. It may get soggy if you leave the salad to sit with the dressing.

Tips and Variations

  • Kale can be tough and bitter. If you would like to massage kale with a small amount of olive oil in the large salad bowl before adding the other ingredients, it will make it more tender and digestible.
  • If you would like to add meat I recommend adding any kind of pulled chicken, roast, or pork. It is delicious if you top the salad with any of these meats!
  • Substitutes: sub the sweet potato for butternut squash; replace the kale for any kind of mixed greens or spinach, sub the pecans for walnuts or almonds, sub the cider for lemon juice, replace the maple syrup with honey.
  • Use any kind of apples. I chose Fuji, but any will work!
  • Add more fruits: raisins, cranberries
  • For Whole30leave out the maple syrup in the dressing, and just use the olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

More Healthy Salads & Side Dishes

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Fall Kale Salad with apples, brussel sprouts, sweet potato, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and purple onions in a white salad bowl.

Healthy Kale Apple Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette (Paleo, Whole30)


Description

This Healthy Kale Apple Salad is filled with some of the best fall flavors including chopped kale, crisp fall apples, roasted brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and a sprinkle of crunchy pecans and pumpkin seeds. Paired with a simple apple cider vinaigrette with a touch of maple syrup.


Ingredients

Scale

For the salad:

  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2” bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups brussels sprouts, sliced
  • 1 bunch of curly kale, chopped
  • 1 large red apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup raw pecans
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, toss sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts in avocado oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts onto the sheet pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until soft and slightly brown.
  3. In a large salad bowl, add kale, onion, apple, pecans, and pumpkin seed. In a mason jar or salad dressing container, combine salad dressing ingredients.
  4. Remove sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts from the oven and let them cool. Add cooled sweet potato and brussels sprouts into the salad bowl and toss. If you plan on having leftover salad see the recipe notes.
  5. Toss salad with dressing right before serving. You may not need to use all the dressing.

Notes

Leftover salad: If you plan to have leftover salad, and you would like the sweet potato and brussel sprouts to be warm, store brussel sprouts and sweet potato in a separate container instead of combining them in the large salad bowl. Simply reheat and toss them on the next time you make the salad.

Add meat to salad: add chicken, beef, pork, fish, etc!

For Whole30: leave out the maple syrup in the dressing. Use just olive oil and apple cider.

Kale Types: curly kale is the most common, but you can use red (Russian) kale, or lacinato kale (also called “dinosaur kale”). Lacinato has a longer stem and thinner leaves, is sweeter and easier to digest. It’s best cut into ribbons. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Side dishes
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Calories: 215
  • Sugar: 8.4g
  • Sodium: 41.7mg
  • Fat: 13.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 21.3g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

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