Kale Salad

This Sweet Kale Salad is topped with chunks of apple, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and bacon! Served with a homemade sweet dijon vinaigrette, this salad will make a kale lover out of anyone.

Kale Salad

Kale Apple Salad

It’s Natalie from Life Made Simple and today I’m sharing a salad recipe that’s perfect for fall. I know kale gets a bad rap, but I promise this salad will have the biggest kale haters swooning over it! It’s topped with chunks of apple, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and my favorite part – bacon!

We usually serve this as a side salad. It’s light and perfect for a heartier meal. If you want to serve it as a main dish, I’d recommend adding these ingredients:

  • Gorgonzola or Feta cheese
  • Grilled chicken
  • Roasted pepitas

You can definitely add any of those ingredients to it if you plan on eating it as a side too!

Kale Salad with Cranberries

Kale Salad Dressing

This kale salad comes together in minutes. Simply chop the ingredients and toss in the homemade dressing. We love making a sweet dijon vinaigrette using apple cider and grainy mustard. It’s divine! For the dressing you’ll need:

  • Shallot
  • Whole grain and regular Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Apple cider
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil or a mild tasting oil

Simply pulse everything in a food processor or whisk vigorously to emulsify it, then pour it over the salad and toss.

Kale Apple Salad

This salad is best if enjoyed within an hour or so of making it. If you want to make it ahead, simply keep the dressing in a separate container and toss when ready. I’d also suggest holding off on cutting the apple so you don’t end up serving it with a bunch of brown apple chunks.

We love this kale salad because it has so much flavor going on. It’s sweet thanks to the apple and candied pecans, slightly salty because of the bacon, and tart and tangy with the dried cranberries and vinaigrette. The kale is so mellow and tender it’s almost unrecognizable. However, if you do want to swap it out for some other greens, try shave brussels sprouts or a spring mix.

Do you love using kale in salad? Leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite kale salad is!

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Kale Salad Recipe

5 from 6 votes
This Sweet Kale Salad is topped with chunks of apple, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and bacon! Served with a homemade sweet dijon vinaigrette, this salad will make a kale lover out of anyone.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 492 kcal
Author Lil' Luna


  • 6 cups kale chopped
  • 1 apple cut into 1/4-inch chunks
  • 2/3 cups candied pecans whole or coarsely chopped
  • 6 strips bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cups dried cranberries

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp shallot coarsley chopped
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp. coarse kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cups olive oil or mild tasting oil


  • In a medium serving bowl combine kale, apple, pecans, bacon, and cranberries
  • In a small food processor combine the ingredients for the dressing. Pulse until creamy and emulsified. 
  • Toss salad in dressing and serve immediately.


  • You can easily add feta or gorgonzola cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or grilled chicken to make this a more substantial salad.
  • Don't like kale? Swap it out for shave brussels sprouts or a mixed greens!

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About the Author

Natalie Dicks

I'm the food photographer and blogger behind Life Made Simple. I'm passionate about creating from scratch family-friendly recipes ranging from healthy to decadent.

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  1. I always love new ways to eat kale – one of my favourites and we grow so much of it in the garden! Healthy too so great for the kids (if I can get them to eat it)!

  2. Looks as delicious as it is healthy. So neatly prepared to, couldn’t wait to try it out. The ingredients in this recipe should make anyone concerned about healthy eating excited to give it a try. Even kale haters should find the meal a delight, it tastes nothing like kale, despite its being the title ingredient