This Kale Apple Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes is a filling dinner-sized salad that’s anything but rabbit food. It’s crispy, crunchy, sweet, and smoky with a zippy dijon dressing that you’re going to want to drizzle on everything!
Easy to throw together for a weekday meal, impressive enough for a holiday dinner, this kale apple salad is a favorite in our house and we can’t wait to share it with you.
It’s packed with a variety of flavors and textures and endlessly adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand. But enough with the sales pitch, let’s make this tasty recipe!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Sweet Potatoes: You could substitute butternut squash but I find sweet potatoes tastier, more affordable, and a million times easier to chop.
Apple: Any crisp and crunchy variety will do – gala, granny smith, Honeycrisp. Diced pear or Fuyu persimmon would also taste great.
Kale: For salads, the Lacinato (or dinosaur) variety is my favorite. It’s still hearty but feels less like you’re eating a shrub. To mix things up throw in some thinly sliced brussels sprouts or cabbage. And if kale’s not your thing, swap it for spinach or arugula.
Canned Beans: Creamy navy beans, chickpeas, or kidney beans are all good options.
Cheese: Grab some salty feta, goat cheese, gorgonzola, or grated White cheddar.
Nuts and Dried Fruit: For extra crunch and sweetness. Try sliced almonds, pecans, pistachios, dried cranberries, raisins, or a couple of pitted and sliced dates.
Start with the sweet potatoes so they can get roasting. Preheat your oven to 425°F. I like to use our toaster oven since it heats up so fast. I can usually have the potatoes chopped and ready just as it finishes preheating.
Use a sharp knife to cut the sweet potatoes into ½-inch thick pieces. Quick Tip: If you’re having trouble slicing the hard sweet potatoes, try popping them in the microwave for a minute to soften slightly.
Add the chopped sweet potatoes to a rimmed sheet pan and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of oil, ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and a few shakes of salt and pepper.
Using clean hands, toss until all of the pieces are well coated with the oil and spices. Then arrange in a single layer.
Roast the sweet potatoes for 20 minutes, then stir or flip the pieces and continue roasting (about 5 minutes more) until they are fork-tender and browned on the edges.
Now that you’ve got the sweet potatoes roasting, let’s prep the other salad ingredients. Strip the kale leaves from their woody stems. Then chop the leaves into thin strips or tear them into small pieces. Rinse the kale well and dry in a salad spinner.
Apple slices are very pretty but I find that chopping the apple half into small pieces makes it easier to eat with the other salad ingredients.
And if you’re not sure what to do with the leftover apple, you could:
- use it in an apple and Havarti grilled cheese
- make a small batch of apple hand pies
- drizzle the flesh with lemon juice and pop it in the fridge for a snack later.
To make the dressing, combine extra-virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, and a pinch of salt and black pepper in a small mason jar. Screw on the lid and shake well. Give it a taste and adjust as desired with more salt or pepper.
Ready for a fun kitchen hack? You can use your already warm oven to toast the nuts!
Once the sweet potatoes are ready reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Use a spatula to scooch the sweet potatoes to one side of the pan and add the almonds to the other side.
Return the pan to the oven and cook until the nuts are lightly toasted about 4 to 5 minutes. *The nuts will toast up pretty quickly so make sure to set a timer and don’t wander off.
As soon as the nuts are toasted, remove the pan from the oven and let everything cool for about 5 minutes.
While the sweet potatoes cool, add the chopped kale to a large bowl. Massage the kale by squeezing and scrunching it with your hands for 1 to 2 minutes. You can add a little lemon juice or oil if you want but I find the dry massage works well to soften the kale.
Top with the sweet potatoes, almond slices, chopped apple, beans, feta, and dried cranberries. Shake the vinaigrette again, drizzle it on and dig in!
More Vegetarian Dinners For Two
- Lemon Veggie Pasta For Two
- Shortcut Dinner: Tempeh Salad
- BBQ Tempeh Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Vegetarian Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner
- One Pan Roasted Gnocchi and Vegetables
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 2 Small Sweet Potatoes, about 10 to 12 ounces
- 2 teaspoons Avocado Oil or Olive Oil
- ¼ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
For The Salad
- 3 Tablespoons (21 grams) Sliced Almonds
- 3 to 4 cups Chopped Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale, about 1 small bunch
- Half a Medium Apple, cored and diced
- 3/4 cup Cooked Navy Beans, rinsed and drained if using canned
- 3 Tablespoons (35 grams) Crumbled Feta Cheese
- 1 Tablespoon Dried Cranberries
- 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Maple Syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- Pinch Salt and Black Pepper, add more to taste
Roast Sweet Potatoes:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. If using a toaster oven, adjust the rack to the bottom position and select the BAKE setting.
- Chop the sweet potatoes into ½-inch thick pieces. Pile on a rimmed quarter sheet pan and drizzle with the oil. Sprinkle over the paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and arrange in a single layer.
- Roast for 20 minutes, flip sweet potatoes, and continue cooking until fork-tender, about 5 minutes more.
- Once the sweet potatoes are ready, lower the oven temp to 350°F. Scooch the roasted potatoes to one side and add the sliced almonds to the pan. Cook until toasted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them, the nuts toast up quickly.
- Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small mason jar. Screw on the lid and shake well to combine.
- Place the kale in a large bowl. Massage and scrunch the kale with your hands for 1 to 2 minutes to soften.
- Top with sweet potatoes, almond slices, apple, beans, feta, and dried cranberries. Shake the vinaigrette again, drizzle over everything and toss. Divide the salad between two bowls and dig in!
Make-Ahead Option: Leave the cheese and toasted nuts off and add just before serving. Otherwise, the cheese will become mushy and the nuts will be chewy.
Got a big appetite today? Add some leftover cooked grains like brown rice, quinoa, or farro. Crispy tofu or tempeh also make great high-protein additions and diced avocado is never a bad thing.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 salad with half of the dressing
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 520Total Fat: 20.9gSaturated Fat: 4.6gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 416mgCarbohydrates: 72.3gFiber: 11.6gSugar: 11.5gProtein: 15.7g