Kale apple slaw is a simple side dish recipe that's light and flavorful. Chopped kale is tossed with sliced apple and red onion, then coated in a tangy poppy seed dressing.
This kale apple slaw is light, refreshing, and filled with nutrient dense ingredients. Thinly sliced kale, apple, and red onion are the stars of this homemade slaw, which are tossed in a sweet and tangy poppy seed vinaigrette.
Kale apple slaw is a great way to eat more veggies - it's easy to prepare and delicious! Plus, it happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan, making it perfect for a wide variety of guests.
Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or need a quick side for dinner, kale apple slaw is a great addition to any meal. It's perfect for pairing with your favorite main dish like maple glazed chicken or ravioli casserole.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Kale - You'll need one large bunch of kale which is about 8 ounces.
- Apple - Any apple will work in this recipe. I recommend using a fuji apple for a little extra sweetness to contrast with the earthy flavor of the kale. Granny smith apple adds a tart flavor, which pairs well with the homemade vinaigrette.
- Red onion - Adds flavor and crunch to the slaw. I don't recommend omitting the onion.
- Olive oil - Needed for the base of the vinaigrette dressing.
- Apple cider vinegar - Adds tangy flavor to the vinaigrette dressing. Can be substituted with white vinegar if needed.
- Maple syrup - Can be substituted with honey. Keep in mind that this slaw will no longer be considered vegan if you use honey!
- Dijon mustard - Adds tangy flavor to the dressing and also acts as an emulsifier. Can be substituted with yellow mustard if needed.
- Seasoning - Salt, pepper, and poppy seeds add flavor to the dressing. Poppy seeds also add a nice crunchy texture and nutty flavor.
Tips and tricks
Make ahead - Kale apple slaw can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Since kale is so hearty, it doesn't wilt quickly after being dressed. This makes it an excellent salad green to prepare ahead of time. I find that it is best served within 12 hours (try to make it the morning of an event), but it can be made up to a day in advance.
Leftovers - Kale slaw will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator, but the apple will slowly begin to brown and break down over time.
Preparing kale - First, remove any large, tough ribs by slicing down either side of the rib with a knife. Then, gather kale into a bundle and slice thinly with a sharp knife, creating ¼ inch ribbons. It won't have the exact appearance of a traditional cabbage slaw, but the goal is to chop it as thinly as possible.
Slice all salad ingredients thinly - To give your salad a 'slaw' texture, make sure to thinly slice your kale, apple, and red onion.
What to serve with slaw
Kale apple slaw makes a great side dish for your next party, picnic, or meal at home. Here are a few main dish ideas to pair with slaw:
- Grilled chicken tenders
- Grilled lemon pepper chicken sandwich
- Garlic & herb slow cooker pork roast
- Oven roasted brats
- Panko crusted salmon
Kale Apple Slaw
- 8 ounces kale
- 1 large fuji apple, julienned
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Remove ribs from kale by slicing down each side of the rib with a knife. Gather kale into a bunch and thinly slice into ¼" ribbons. Add kale, apple, and onion to a large bowl and toss to combine.
- In a separate bowl, add olive oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, poppy seeds, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine, then pour over salad ingredients. Toss until evenly coated.
- Kale slaw is best served within 12 hours, but can be made up to 24 hours in advance if needed.
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Apples will slowly brown over time.