Treat yourself to this delicious Kale Salad with Cranberries! This tasty salad is loaded with sweet-tart cranberries, crunchy nuts, and the most amazing maple dressing ... best of all, it's so easy to make!
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
It's hard to believe, but we have officially entered the holiday season, and I'm pretty sure I have plans every week straight from now through the end of the year!
On busy days like these, quick recipes like this delicious Kale Salad with Cranberries have become my go-to! This yummy salad couldn't be easier to make, yet it's packed with so much flavor.
You are going to love this simple recipe. It features a generous helping of tender kale, sweet dried cranberries, and crunchy nuts. An amazing Maple Vinaigrette ties all the flavors together.
This scrumptious salad is special enough for holiday meals, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, but it's easy enough to throw together any night of the week. You can even make it ahead of time for meal prep!
Ready to dig in? You'll find all the details below, so keep reading!
This delicious recipe uses simple, easy to find ingredients. Here's what you'll need:
- Kale - Either dinosaur / lacinato or curly kale will work great for this recipe. I've made it with both!
- Cranberries - Dried cranberries (craisins) add a touch of sweetness and a great texture.
- Nuts - I included walnuts here, but pecans or other nuts / seeds can also be used.
- Olive Oil - You'll massage the kale with a little olive oil and salt to tenderize the leaves.
- Dressing - An easy-to-make, homemade Maple Vinaigrette pulls all the flavors together.
This Kale Cranberry Salad is naturally vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, and gluten free, which means everyone at your table can enjoy it!
You'll Also Need
How to Make Kale Salad with Cranberries
This salad couldn't be easier to make! You'll find a detailed recipe card below, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Make dressing. You'll start by preparing the homemade salad dressing. Combine a finely diced shallot with some apple cider vinegar in a jar (or small bowl), then set it aside to lightly pickle the shallot. Just before mixing the salad, add the olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper, then shake (or whisk) everything together to combine.
- Toast nuts. Once you've started the dressing, toast the nuts in a dry skillet until lightly browned. Make sure to watch them closely so they don't burn. When the nuts are toasted, remove them from the skillet, then give them a rough chop.
- Prepare kale. Next, you'll de-stem the kale. While you can remove the stems with a knife, it's easier (and faster) to grasp the stem below the leaf, then quickly pull your hand up along the stem. Once you've done this, discard the stems and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
- Massage kale. Transfer the kale to a large bowl, then drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with a little salt. Stick your hands into the bowl, then massage the oil into the leaves for a few minutes. As you do, the kale should become tender and turn a dark green color. Don't skip this step ... it's the key to the recipe's success!
- Add cranberries, nuts, and dressing. Do not add all the dressing at once. I'd recommend starting with half.
- Mix salad. Use a pair of tongs, or a couple wood spoons, to toss everything together, adding just enough dressing to coat the salad (you may not need it all). Make sure to taste the salad before serving and add additional salt to taste, if needed.
Time to eat your gorgeous Cranberry Kale Salad! Doesn't it look delicious? And trust me, it tastes even better than it looks!
Although it's delicious as-is, this Kale and Cranberry Salad is easily customizable! Here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Cheese - Add some crumbled feta or goat cheese.
- Nuts + Seeds - Substitute different nuts (such as pecans, almonds, pistachios, etc.) or seeds (pepitas would be delish) for the walnuts.
- Fruits - Stir in a chopped apple or pear, or some halved grapes.
- Veggies - Mix in fresh or roasted vegetables. Shredded brussels sprouts or roasted sweet potatoes would both be tasty.
- Grains - Turn this salad into a heartier meal by adding cooked quinoa or farro.
- Beans - Give the salad a boost of protein by stirring in a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas.
Serve this Kale Salad with Cranberries for a light lunch or dinner (pair it with crusty bread, Beer Bread, or Garlic Bread) or serve it as a side dish for almost any meal. I especially love it for fall dinners, whether casual weeknights or special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Store leftover salad in an airtight container in your refrigerator. It will stay fresh for about three days, making it perfect for meal prep and lazy dinners alike!
Looking for more Kale Salad ideas? Try one of these yummy recipes next:
- Massaged Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing ... my favorite basic recipe that's packed with so much flavor!
- Warm Farro Kale Salad
- Superfood Salad
- Mexican Kale Salad
- Kale Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Winter Kale Salad
- Kale Pasta Salad
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
- Creamy Kale Salad
If you're a cranberry lover, make sure to check out all of my Cranberry Recipes, too!
Kale Salad with Cranberries
- 1 small shallot, finely diced (about ¼ cup)
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup walnuts halves
- 2 large bunches kale, de-stemmed and chopped (about 8 packed cups)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Combine shallots and vinegar in a small jar (or bowl). Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Just before serving, add olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to shallot mixture. Cover jar, then shake until dressing is well mixed (or whisk together, if using a bowl).
- Taste, then season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
- Place walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook until nuts are fragrant and golden brown, stirring often and watching closely (about 5 minutes).
- Transfer nuts to a cutting board, then chop. Set aide.
- Place kale in a large bowl, then top with olive oil and salt. Use your hands to massage oil and salt into kale for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until kale is tender and has reduced in size.
- Add cranberries, nuts, and about half the dressing to kale. Toss together, adding more dressing, if needed, to coat the salad.
- Taste, then season salad with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
- Serve salad immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy!