This showstopper winter kale salad with pomegranates and apples is absolutely beautiful. Full of crunchy textures, tart & sweet flavors, and the sharp bite of arugula, this healthy salad is the perfect choice to add vibrance and color to your celebrations this holiday season.
This is one of my absolute favorite kale salad recipes. Kale is a wonderfully hardy winter green which makes it easy for me to grow in Minnesota. I have even picked fresh kale from my outdoor garden box as late as Thanksgiving! Who would have thought you could still be picking fresh greens this time of year?
Because of its seasonality, kale is the perfect base for this easy winter salad. This recipe is also very fast and simple making it an easy way to serve more greens at your holiday table.
This big salad is a beautiful addition to your holiday spread. I don’t know about you, but I’m always craving more healthy recipes among all of the heavy sides.
To make this Winter Kale Salad with Pomegrantes and Apples, you need:
- Chopped Kale – Kale is a hearty winter green. It is rich in antioxidants and beta-carotene. It also holds texture very well when covered in dressing, making it a great choice to serve at the holidays.
- Baby Arugula – The sharp bite of arugula adds the perfect touch to a winter salad.
- Pomegranate Arils – This seasonal winter fruit gives sweetness, flavor, and extra nutrition.
- Apple – A crisp, juicy apple adds flavor and crunchy texture to our salad.
- Sliced Red Onion – Red onion is the perfect salad onion. It is flavorful and firm in texture.
- Gorgonzola – Gorgonzola adds a beautiful creamy tang to this salad. It is one of my favorite soft cheeses, but bleu cheese, feta, or goat cheese could also be used.
- Lemon Juice – A squeeze of lemon juice over the diced apple pieces will keep them from going brown.
To make the apple cider vinaigrette, you need the following:
- Apple Cider – Apple Cider gives a strong apple flavor with some sweetness to offset the tang in this vinaigrette. Apple juice can also be used.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – This gives our dressing some tang & acidity.
- Dijon Mustard – The sharpness of dijon is perfect in an apple vinaigrette.
- Olive Oil – Choose extra virgin olive oil for more antioxidants.
- Maple Syrup – This adds a touch of light, natural sweetness.
- Spices – The addition of some simple spices, like cinnamon, sea salt, and black pepper, perfect the flavor profile of this vinaigrette.
To make our winter kale salad with pomegranates and apples, we start by whipping up our quick and easy vinaigrette.
1. Combine Ingredients
Add all of your vinaigrette ingredients to a mason jar.
2. Shake Dressing
Shake the jar vigorously to emulsify the dressing.
3. Massage Kale
Next, cut the kale leaves off of the thick stem and chop your kale into bite-size pieces, or simply use a bag of pre-chopped kale. Next, add your chopped kale to a small bowl and pour a bit of the dressing you just made over it. Massage the kale with your hand until it softens. This does not take long.
4. Combine Salad Base
Add your massaged kale salad to a larger serving platter or large bowl, then add the baby arugula and red onion slices. Toss lightly with some salad tongs.
5. Assemble Final Salad
Chop the apple into bite-sized pieces, then squeeze half a lemon over them and stir to coat (or use 1 tbsp bottled lemon juice). Distribute the apple pieces over the top of the salad, followed by the pomegranate seeds and gorgonzola. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad.
This beautiful winter kale salad with pomegranates and apples is ready to serve. Your guests will love the colors!
Tips & Variations
Feel free to play around with salad toppings. Glazed pecans or pistachios would be a fun addition.
If you cannot find pomegranate at your local grocery store, swap it for dried cranberries. They will offer a similar tart punch of flavor.
Try different cheeses, such as blue cheese, feta cheese, or chunks of white cheddar.
If you are not sure how to massage kale, check out my video for this recipe and you can watch how I do it. However, it is very simple! Pour a small amount of dressing on the chopped kale and firmly rub the dressed kale between your fingertips, just as you would for any type of massage.
If you aren’t a fan of the distinct taste of arugula, you can use baby spinach instead.
Pour yourself a glass of my Cranberry Ginger Mocktail and you have yourself a complete meal.
This recipe makes 8 servings. For one serving of this recipe, the nutritional info is as follows:
- Calories: 111
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 8 grams (1.7 grams saturated)
- Carbs: 9 grams
- Fiber: 1.8 grams
Store the leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It is best eaten within 2 days.
The process of softening raw kale for a salad is called massaging. You add some salad dressing or olive oil to the kale and then use your hands to massage it all together.
There are over 150 varieties of kale and all of them are great. However, there are four main types:
Curly kale is the most common type of kale, and it’s the kind I used in this recipe, though other kinds of kale can be substituted if desired.
Lacinato kale, or dinosaur or Tuscan kale, is popular in Mediterranean dishes and a great choice for cooking.
Russian kale is the most cold-tolerant kale variety, and it’s the type I grow in my garden. It can survive in temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit! I grow it because it’s not common in grocery stores, I can grow it into early winter, and it’s a more tender kale than curly or lacinato kale.
Ornamental kale is also a variety that is typically grown for flower arrangements and not for eating.
Any of the kale varieties can also be grown for microgreens.
Kale is a wonderful dark, leafy green with many great nutritive properties. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
Did You Make This Recipe?
I know you will absolutely love this easy kale pomegranate salad recipe as part of your holiday meal, and your guests will appreciate a fresh salad as part of your holiday spread.
Please leave a comment and review! It means the world!
Winter Kale Salad with Pomegranates and Apples
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil extra virgin
- 2 tbsp Apple Cider
- 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 tsp Maple Syrup
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
- 3 cups Chopped Kale
- 3 cups Baby Arugula
- 1/4 small Red Onion thinly sliced
- 1 Apple
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice fresh or bottled
- 1/2 cup Pomegranate Seeds
- 1/4 cup Gorgonzola Cheese more to taste
- Prepare the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a mason jar.
- Put a cap on the jar and shake vigorously to combine.
- If your kale is not pre-chopped, wash, dry, and destem your kale and chop the leaves into smaller pieces for the salad. Add the kale to a small bowl and pour a couple of tablespoons of your prepared dressing over it. Massage the dressing into the kale with your hands to soften it.
- Add your massaged kale to your serving dish along with the baby arugula and sliced red onion. Gently toss to mix.
- Chop your apple into bite-sized pieces. Squeeze about 1 tbsp of lemon juice over the apple pieces and toss to evenly coat. This prevents browning. Add your apples across the top of your salad.
- Sprinkle your pomegranate seeds evenly over the top of your salad, followed by the gorgonzola cheese.
- Drizzle your dressing evenly over the top of the salad. Depending on how much greens you use in the salad base, you may or may not use all of it. Use tongs to lightly fluff the salad after you drizzle the dressing to help distribute it, but be careful not to destroy the presentation of all the beautiful fruit on top!