You’re going to want to make this craveable kale salad again and again. Goat cheese, apples, cranberries, pine nuts, and the easiest honey lemon dressing… it’s an incredible side dish or light entree!

Confession time: I used to be a kale hater. Then a few years ago a friend brought a really yummy kale salad to a Friendsgiving dinner and my curiosity was piqued. I tiptoed into trying kale in a few dishes and now I’m a full blown kale lover. I’m a changed woman, I tell ya!

Today’s Easy Kale Salad is my absolute favorite way to enjoy kale. I’ve served it as a side with so many meals and also whipped it up for entertaining.

The flavors are simple but the combination is unbeatable.

To make this recipe you’ll need (full list of ingredients and instructions are in the recipe card below):

  • Curly kale
  • Green apple
  • Goat cheese
  • Dried cranberries
  • Pine nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

What is curly kale?

There are a variety of different types of kale but curly kale is the kind you’ll see most often in grocery stores. It’s usually a dark green and the edges of the leaves are very wavy (or curly). It’s typically sold as a bundle of large leaves that are tied together at the stem.

Do you need to massage the kale in this salad?

Often times people will recommend massaging the kale with a little olive oil or lemon juice. This is an optional step that can soften the leaves and tone down the bitterness. Because we’re using a sweet dressing and chopping the leaves into bite-sized pieces I’ve found that massaging the kale is an unnecessary step in this particular recipe.

Having said that, you can definitely massage the kale in the recipe if you’d like! Simply add one teaspoon of the olive oil to the chopped kale before adding the other ingredients. Use your hands to gently scrunch the leaves until they’re a little softer. Then add in all other ingredients including the remaining olive oil.

Ways to customize this salad

  • Raisins are a great alternative to dried cranberries.
  • Almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds would be fantastic for crunch if you don’t have pine nuts.
  • Feta is an excellent swap for the goat cheese.
  • You’ll love diced pear in this salad instead of apple.
  • Looking to make this salad an entree? Add chicken or steak!

How to serve this

This gorgeous salad goes with anything! I love it with a protein like chicken or steak, roasted veggies, and rice or potatoes. That’s a pretty perfect meal! I also enjoy whipping this up when we’re grilling for a delicious green side.

5 from 3 votes

Easy Kale Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing

You're going to want to make this craveable kale salad again and again. Goat cheese, apples, cranberries, pine nuts, and the easiest honey lemon dressing… it's an incredible side dish or light entree!


  • 6 cups curly kale, packed and chopped
  • 1 medium or large green apple, diced
  • 3 oz goat cheese
  • cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • salt and pepper to taste

Lemon dressing

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  • Rinse the kale leaves and dry with a paper towel. Cut the kale leaves from the tough stems. Discard the stems. Use a knife to chop the kale into bite-sized pieces. Measure the kale to ensure you have enough. You'll want 6 cups of packed chopped kale. Place the chopped kale in a large salad bowl.
  • Add the diced apple, crumbled goat cheese, dried cranberies, and pine nuts.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, honey, and lemon juice. Pour the dressing over the other salad ingredients and stir to mix. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
  • Serve immediately, or for better flavor, refrigerate the salad for 20 to 30 minutes before eating. The dressing will absorb more into the kale during that time. Give the salad a good stir before serving so your dressing isn't settled at the bottom.


Serving: 1cup, Calories: 164kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 67mg, Potassium: 234mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 5143IU, Vitamin C: 49mg, Calcium: 145mg, Iron: 1mg
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