Kale, Brussels Sprout, and Apple Salad

November 12, 2021 | | | | |
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5 from 19 votes

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Overhead view of Kale, Apple, and Brussels Sprouts Salad in a large bowl with some serving utensils peeking into the upper right corner.

Kale salad lovers and kale salad haters, THIS ONE’S FOR YOU!!!

Lovers, you have clearly accepted the massaged kale gospel, and I’m thrilled we’re on the kale appreciation bandwagon together. (I feel a special kind of joy when consuming something that has so many glorious health benefits and tastes delicious.) You’re going to love this salad. Honestly, it’s maybe my best ever. And God knows I make a LOT of salads…

Haters, have you tried a really well massaged kale salad? If no, I beg you to try giving your leaves a rub down and see if you change your tune. Raw kale is, in a word, terrible. It’s tough and dry and kinda grassy. But when you remove its center ribs, finely chop it, and rub the leaves with some oil or acid (like lemon juice) and salt, something magical happens. The kale softens and mellows in flavor and becomes the perfect hearty base for all your favorite salad mix-ins.

In this case, we’re adding tossing earthy shaved Brussels sprouts, apple matchsticks, plump golden raisins, toasted pepitas and the most perfect lemon-Dijon dressing with our massaged kale. The flavors are perfectly balanced, and the pops of crunch and sweetness will keep you coming back to this recipe again and again.

Overhead closeup of Kale, Brussels Sprout, and Apple Salad in a bowl with serving utensils in the bowl and side plates in the bottom right corner.

The true selling point of this salad (and massaged kale salads in general) is that it keeps fabulously in the fridge for a good 4 to 5 days, so it’s the perfect make-ahead option for holidays, potlucks, and #sassydesklunch. If you prepare this salad in advance, take it out of the fridge 20 minutes before serving to allow it to cool to room temperature. Freshen it up with a squeeze of lemon and/or an extra drizzle of olive oil if needed.

As always, let your personal tastes and pantry guide you when whipping up this salad. You must always do you, and there are endless ways to riff on this recipe roadmap. Sliced or slivered almonds, chopped walnuts or pecans are fantastic in place of pepitas. If you’re feeling extra fancy, candied walnuts or pecans are delightful.

Any dried fruit (Currants! Cranberries! Apricots! Dates) will play very well in the raisins’ place.

Cheese lovers, I see you. Go ahead and get some Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, Ricotta Salata, or goat cheese involved. (If you go with goat cheese, sprinkle it on top so that it doesn’t create a creamy film on the salad.)

And if you want to bulk things up with a grain, 1-2 cups of cooked farro, quinoa, or barley is always a lovely addition.

Now go forth and massage your kale! Haters, please report back.

Kale, Brussels Sprout, and Apple Salad

Author – Serena Wolf
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 8 side servings


  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • 1 large bunch curly kale, center ribs removed and very finely chopped (lacinato kale is also great!)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 4 cups shaved Brussels sprouts (about 3/4 pound whole sprouts)
  • 1 large apple, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins

For the dressing:

  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated or finely minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. (Do not add any fat to the pan!) When hot, add the pepitas and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a plate or bowl to cool.
  • Add the kale to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with a good pinch of salt. Massage the kale in handfuls—literally rub the leaves between your fingers—for a minute or two, until the leaves soften and darken in color. (Yes, I know giving your salad a rubdown is a little weird, but it’s worth it. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.)
  • In a medium bowl, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing. Add the apple to the dressing and toss to coat. (The lemon juice in the dressing will help prevent the apples from browning in the salad.)
  • Add the apple, dressing, Brussels sprouts, raisins, and cooled pepitas to the bowl with the kale and toss to combine. Taste and season with a little extra salt, pepper, or lemon if needed. Serve at room temperature.

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  1. Leah Jones on February 17, 2023 at 5:34 pm

    5 stars
    This salad is delicious! Depth of flavor, but also light and refreshing taste. Kept well in the fridge too! A repeat for sure!

  2. Katie on September 4, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    5 stars
    Have been making this all summer and had to come back to give it five stars. Truly love that you can make ahead and it almost makes it better. Has been great to eat at home but most importantly to bring to other peoples houses and make them think I know what I’m doing in the kitchen. No sad soggy salads over here.

  3. Allison Irwin on March 23, 2022 at 5:14 am

    5 stars
    This salad is excellent and we enjoy whenever we entertain our family.

  4. Holly on March 23, 2022 at 12:38 am

    5 stars
    The best! Make this at least once a week and keeps so well in the fridge. Great for meal prep!

  5. Emily on March 22, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    5 stars
    Seriously so good. I’ve made it over and over

  6. Colleen on March 22, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    5 stars
    Great make ahead salad…perfect weekday lunch option

  7. Beth C on January 8, 2022 at 10:30 pm

    5 stars
    Made this tonight… it’s delicious! I love the dressing and will save it for just a general salad dressing for everyday use. So good! I replaced the golden raisins with dried cranberries since I had those in the pantry.. they worked great.

  8. Victoria on November 21, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    Thinking of making forThanksgiving. How many does this recipe serve? Looks great!

    • Serena Wolf on November 21, 2021 at 6:55 pm

      It will serve 8 as a side!

  9. Katherine Sheeleigh on November 14, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! So delicious & healthful!
    I love both of your cookbooks so much, they have pushed my Ina Garten collection to the 2nd shelf!
    Thanks, keep the great food suggestions coming.

  10. Bernadette M Morrissey on November 14, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    perfect …Thank you!

    • Elizabeth on November 17, 2021 at 2:41 pm

      Did you make this? Wondering how it was.

  11. Bernadette M Morrissey on November 14, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    Recipe ingredients are incomplete … no brussel sprouts … no apples .. or raisins

    • Serena Wolf on November 14, 2021 at 3:38 pm

      Sorry about that! Not sure what happened there, but recipe is now complete!

      • Caren on November 26, 2021 at 12:22 am

        5 stars
        Enjoyed with our Thanksgiving feast. Salad was enjoyed by all!

5 from 19 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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