Apple Kale Crunch Salad With Lemon Dressing

4 servings
10 min

Chick-fil-A inspired apple kale crunch salad is mixed with red cabbage,

dried fruit, and roasted almonds tossed in a delicious lemon dijon dressing.

Dare I say better than the Chick-fil-A version?

Yes, I dare say, this kale crunch salad is better than the Chick-fil-A salad!

Let's eat!

Lemon Dijon Dressing Ingredients

When making the dressing, combine all the ingredients. It really is that easy. (Psst - I like to make it in a mason jar. It is easy to store any leftover dressing for later.)

Salad Ingredients

Kale - This is the base of this salad and you can use any variety.

Red Cabbage - I love shredded cabbage in a salad. It adds a texture and crunch while adding to the overall flavor profile.

Apples - Use crisp apples for a sweet flavor and a nice crunch.

Dried Sweet Fruit - I always recommend using dried and sweetened fruit when making a kale salad. The sweetness helps balance the bitterness of kale to create a well-rounded salad. For this salad, I used pineapple, but just about any dried sweet fruit will work.

Roasted Almonds - Add protein to and additional crunch to this salad.

Pretzel Sticks (optional) - While developing this recipe, I wanted to make it fun and super crunchy. I thought broken, or crushed-up pretzel sticks would be perfect! They add a solid crunch to this salad, along with a pop of salt. I recognize this might not be everyone's cup of tea. However, I have to say this was a big hit in my family. The uniqueness, along with the flavor paring, made it a surprising hit!

Apple Kale Crunch Salad with Pretzels

Preparing The Salad

Star with the Kale

Start by de-ribbing the kale. You can de-rib kale with a knife or tear it off with your hands. Next, cut the kale into small pieces. I find that I like to chop the kale over and over again to achieve small pieces.

Then take the kale and place it in a bowl. Toss with the salad dressing, and using your hands, massage the kale. I know it sounds strange, but I promise this simple step makes all the difference!

Allow the massaged kale to sit for a couple of minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

Preparing the other ingredients

Cabbage - While the kale is softening, slice the cabbage and cut the slices. Then cut the slices into bite-sized pieces.

Apples - Cut the apples into the desired shape. I prefer thin slices for a dramatic look on top. Another option is to cut the apple into bite-sized pieces. Toss the pieces into the salad. It is up to personal preference.

Roasted Almonds - The Chick-fil-A kale crunch salad has chopped almond slices sprinkled on top. However, I like big and small almond pieces. Take about half of the almonds and chop them into small pieces. Then toss the small pieces into the salad, evenly dispersing them. Finally, sprinkle the other half of the almonds on top of the salad.

Putting the salad together

Toss the kale, cabbage, ½ the sweet dried fruit, and the cut-up almonds

  • If using bite-sized apples, toss half of them in the salad and save the other half for the top.

  • If using sliced apples, set them aside for the top of the salad.

Once the ingredients have been tossed together, it is time to top the salad. If using sliced apples, fan them out on the top of the salad. I like to do this in sections, which makes it easier to serve. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients around the top of the salad. If using pretzels, break them into small pieces and scatter them across the top.

Additions and Substitutions

  • Parmesan Cheese - The Chick-fil-A kale crunch salad has parmesan on top. I recommend a simple sprinkle of shaved parmesan on top.

  • Feta, Goat or Blue Cheese - Feta, goat or blue cheese would also taste great in this salad. I recommend limiting the amount to a ¼ cup or less. Any of the cheeses can be tossed in the salad or sprinkled on top.
  • Blue Agave vs. Honey - I developed this recipe using blue agave. The great thing about blue agave is that it is vegan and has a sweet syrup like honey. If you are not vegan, feel free to substitute blue agave for honey.
  • Dried Fruit - Just about any dried and sweetened fruit would taste great in this salad. I was feeling funky so I went with dried pineapple. Other substitutions include golden raisins, dried cranberries or even crystallized ginger.

Apple Kale Crunch Salad With Lemon Dressing
Recipe details
  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 0 Minutes Total time: 10 min
Show Nutrition Info
Hide Nutrition Info
Lemon Dijon Dressing
  • ▢ 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (54g)
  • ▢ 2 teaspoons fresh lemon (10g)
  • ▢ 1 tablespoon dijon mustard (15)
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (30)
  • ▢ 2 tablespoons blue agave syrup (42g)
  • ▢ salt and pepper to taste
Apple Kale Salad
  • ▢ 2 bunches kale, any variety
  • ▢ 1 cup red cabbage (89g)
  • ▢ 1/4 cup almonds (36g)
  • ▢ 1/4 cup dried fruit (10g)
  • ▢ 1 crisp apple
Lemon Dijon Dressing
In a small bowl or a shaker, mix all the ingredients together until fully combined.
Apple Kale Crunch Salad
Kale Prep: De-rib the kale. Cut the kale into small pieces. Toss the desired amount of dressing on the kale and toss with your hands. Work the dressing in the kale by gently rubbing it for 3 minutes. This is known as massaging kale. 2 bunches of kale, any variety
Ingredient Prep: Slice the red cabbage into thin strips. Then cut the strips into bite-sized pieces. Take half the almonds and dried fruit and rough cut them into small pieces. Core and slice the apple into thin slices.
Combine Ingredients: Toss the massaged kale, red cabbage, roughly chopped almonds, and dried fruit together. Move tossed ingredients to serving dish/bowl, arrange on top sliced apples. Sprinkle with the other half of the almonds and dried fruit.
  • For additional tips please visit the blog post at:
Sinful Kitchen
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!
  • Aud31231991 Aud31231991 on Mar 21, 2022

    Sounds Good but the dried fruit and blue agave puts too much carb in for me on a low carb diet

    • Sinful Kitchen Sinful Kitchen on Mar 22, 2022

      Hi, you can always omit the dried fruit and swap the blue agave for another sweetener. I am not super familiar with low carb diets, but would honey be ok?