Recipe Box

Massaged Kale, Apple and Cranberry Salad

It’s a dish that’s loaded with antioxidants to keep your immune system healthy and fiber to assist with regularity.

Whitney Reist, RD, LMNT
Culinary Dietitian

Tender, clean massaged kale leaves are featured in this salad and enhanced with chopped tart apples, sweet dried cranberries, crunchy pepitas, and nutty Manchego cheese. The salad is brought together with a sweet and seasonal apple cider vinaigrette. It’s a dish that’s loaded with antioxidants to keep your immune system healthy and fiber to assist with regularity. Make it ahead and enjoy for up to 3 days. It’s easy to pack for lunch and can be paired with chicken, sirloin steak or pork tenderloin for a lean source of protein.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Serving size: 1 cup


For the vinaigrette:
  • 3/4 cup fresh apple cider
  • 1 whole clove garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinaigrette
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
For the salad:
  • 2 bunches kale, washed, stemmed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 small apples, chopped into 1" pieces (recommend Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Pink Lady)**
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup roasted pepitas (buy  pre-roasted in the bulk section of grocery store)
  • 1/2 cup shredded manchego cheese


For the vinaigrette:
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cider, garlic, thyme, and cider vinegar.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup.
  3. Transfer cider mixture to a bowl and whisk in the Dijon mustard.
  4. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream while whisking until it is all incorporated.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
For the salad:
  1. Combine the kale, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Massage the liquid into the kale leaves with your fingers for about 2-3 minutes until the leaves start to look dark and shiny. The volume of the bowl will be reduced by about 1/3. This can be done up to 1 day ahead, store kale covered in the refrigerator.
  3. To assemble the salad, add the apples, cranberries, pepitas, and manchego to kale in a serving bowl. Add the apple cider vinaigrette and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
**If you pre-chop your apples, be sure to toss them in lemon juice to prevent browning.
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Last modified: March 9, 2018

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