This kale crunch salad with toasted almonds, feta and apples will convert any kale hater. It's the best homemade version of the Chick-fil-a kale salad!
There's a few key components to a GOOD side salad and surprisingly, Chick-fil-a has nailed it. Something salty (check!), something crunch (check!) and a yummy dressing (check!). I always order the Chick-fil-a kale salad with my nuggets and knew I had to recreate it at home for cheaper.
My kale crunch salad recipe lives up to its name with nutty toasted almonds and lots of cruciferous veggies, massaged with a delicious Dijon apple cider vinaigrette. It's perfect for sharing, pairing with mains, or even adding to a chicken kale wrap. Full of flavor and texture, this is the kale salad you'll want to eat.
Why This Recipe is Dietitian Approved
- Minimal ingredients. Loaded kale salads are great, but you don't need a ton of ingredients to pack a flavorful bite. This kale salad recipe has only 3 base ingredients and the extra flavour boosters are optional.
- Nutrient-dense leafy greens. Both kale and cabbage are jam-packed with important nutrients like vitamin K, folate, calcium and vitamin C. I always try to get a handful of leafy greens on my plate everyday and this kale crunch salad is a go-to.
- Shareable. Bring this salad to parties, potlucks or holiday gatherings. As a dietitian I always preach additive nutrition (instead of restricting foods), and bringing a nutritious side you ENJOY is my top wellness tip during the holiday months.
- Curly kale
- Olive oil
- Green cabbage
- Feta cheese
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Maple syrup
- Dijon mustard
- Black pepper
In a large mixing bowl, add kale and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Use your hands to massage the oil into the kale. Continue until kale is soft and tender (about 3-4 minutes). Add cabbage to the bowl and set aside.
In a small pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add almonds and salt. Allow the almonds to toast, stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes. Once almonds are cool, use a sharp knife to chop them up into small pieces.
Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar or container with a lid. Close the lid and shake to combine.
Top kale and cabbage with almonds, feta cheese and diced apples (if using).
Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to combine.
Substitutions and Variations
To make gluten-free: This recipe is naturally gluten-free.
To make vegan: Omit the feta cheese or add a dairy-free alternative.
To make nut-free: Swap the almonds for pumpkin seeds for a crunch.
Make this salad a full meal! Here are my favourite additions:
- Protein: Buffalo chicken tenders, lentils, buffalo tofu, salmon bites or chickpeas
- Carbohydrates: Quinoa
- Veggies: Cucumber, bell peppers
- For a touch of sweetness, add some dried cranberries!
This kale crunch salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days in an airtight containers.
Both kale and cabbage can be bitter, but my secret is slicing them as thinly as possible. You could also simplify the process with bagged coleslaw mix.
I also want to emphasize the importance of massaging the kale. Kale can be quite tough and bitter, and massaging it with olive oil helps tenderize it. Trust me, it's essential for an enjoyable salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you've never had it, this salad is a side from Chick-fil-a that combines curly kale, cabbage and roasted almonds with a Dijon mustard and apple cider vinaigrette dressing. It's insanely addictive and the perfect pairing to chicken tenders.
Toasted almonds a really nice crunch and nuttiness to the salad, but you can replace them with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or another nut/seed of choice.
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Salads don't have to be boring. Let's make a salad you'll love!
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make this kale crunch salad from Chick-fil-a, don't forget to snap a photo and tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it!
Homemade Kale Crunch Salad (Chick-Fil-A)
- 6 cups curly kale thinly sliced (about 1 large bunch)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 2 cups green cabbage thinly sliced (about ½ of a medium head of cabbage)
- 1 cup almonds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbled
- 2 apples diced
Dijon apple cider vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- In a large mixing bowl, add kale and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Use your hands to massage the oil into the kale. Continue until kale is soft and tender (about 3-4 minutes). Add cabbage to the bowl and set aside.
- In a small pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add almonds and salt. Allow the almonds to toast, stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes. Once almonds are cool, use a sharp knife to chop them up into small pieces.
- Top kale and cabbage with almonds, feta cheese and diced apples (if using).
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar or container with a lid. Close the lid and shake to combine.
- Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to combine.