Everyday Kale Crunch Salad
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The quickest everyday kale crunch salad! It takes 5 minutes to throw this quick kale salad together! It’s the perfect salad to serve with seared salmon, grilled chicken, and pretty much anything else. The dijon apple cider vinaigrette makes it taste just like Chick-fil-A’s version of the kale crunch salad!
Oh how quickly this became an everyday kale crunch salad for us!
When I found myself going through the Chick-fil-A drive-thru three times a week, I knew I had to come up with a homemade alternative I could throw together for quick lunches!
This kale crunch salad has it all. It starts with a base of kale. Then, I toss in any kind of cabbage that I might have on hand! Sometimes it’s shredded cabbage that comes in a bag prepared to make homemade coleslaw. Other times, it’s shredded Brussels sprouts or radicchio. What I’m trying to say is that this salad is easily customizable with whatever kind of greens you’ve got in the refrigerator.
But what is it that I love most about this everyday kale salad? That the dressing is as easy as throwing everything in a jar and giving it a few good shakes.
If you purchase shredded and cleaned kale from the grocery store, you won’t even need to get out the cutting board for this, it’s as easy as combining the dressing in a jar and the greens and toppings in a bowl!
What do you need to make a Kale Crunch Salad?
- Kale: CFA uses curly leaf kale and I have to say, I like it best with this kind of kale also. I did try the recipe with lacinato kale and didn’t love the extra bitterness it added. However, use whatever you like best!
- Cabbage: I’ve used shredded cabbage meant for slaw, and have also used shredded Brussels sprouts and radicchio. You can use a mix of cabbage as well! Pretty much anything that adds a ‘crunch’ will work here.
- Dried cranberries: that are 50% less sweet are my choice for this salad. Using unsweetened cranberries would also work. Raisins are another alternative, however, I do find they make the salad quite a bit sweeter! I like the flavor of cranberries best in this salad.
- Almonds: I usually buy roasted almonds from the bulk section of my grocery store and just give them a quick beating with my mortar and pestle for this. You could also use sliced almonds if you prefer!
What do you need to make the apple cider dijon vinaigrette for kale crunch salad?
- Oil: My preferred choice is olive oil or EVOO for this recipe as the flavors work well with the other ingredients in the dressing. Oil plays a very essential roll in homemade vinaigrette’s so it’s important to use mild-flavored olive oil, one that doesn’t have too much personality as it might combat the other ingredients in the vinaigrette. You could use a filtered coconut (so it doesn’t taste like coconut) or avocado oil as well.
- Apple cider vinegar: I prefer to use this brand. I find that the flavors work really well with neutral olive oil. The CFA dressing specifically calls for apple cider vinegar, so swapping it with a different type will change the flavor of the vinaigrette significantly.
- Maple syrup: A good quality maple syrup adds just the right amount of sweetness to the vinaigrette. Keep in mind that I use just 2 tablespoons in the dressing, however, if you prefer your dressing on the sweeter side, you can always add a bit more. I find it’s perfect for just with the amount I’ve listed.
- Mustard: Dijon mustard is the emulsifier in this recipe. It plays a two-part role. First, it helps flavor the vinaigrette. Secondly, it keeps it from separating! If you don’t like the taste of Dijon, you can swap it for honey mustard, I tested it and it works just fine here!
- Salt and pepper: no explanation needed here!
How to make the best copycat Chick Fil A Kale Crunch Salad:
- Make the dressing: Are you ready for this? All you have to do is add all the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar (or a jam jar with a tight-fitting lid) and give it a few good shakes until the dressing combines.
- Salad: Add the kale and cabbage mix to a large bowl. Drizzle in half of the prepared dressing and toss the salad using a pair of tongs. Taste and adjust with additional dressing as desired. Then, add in the dried cranberries and roasted almonds and toss once more. Let the salad sit for about 5ish minutes. I find that apple cider dijon vinaigrette really works it’s way into the kale if you let it sit for a few!
- Taste and make final adjustments with the dressing!
What can I serve with this kale salad?
This is an everyday salad, so pretty much anything you like! I make pan-seared salmon (just skip the sauce, or don’t) or greek grilled chicken. I might even make these burgers, skip the fries (gasp) and make a batch of this kale crunch salad instead!
Here are a few more ideas:
- Asian Grilled Chicken
- Cheesy Wild Rice Chicken Fritters
- Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket
- Pesto Baked Chicken
- Garlic Butter Baked Chicken Breasts
- Homemade Sloppy Joes
- Easy Lemon Rosemary Chicken
- Roasted Herb Butter Spatchcock Chicken
- Garlic Butter Skillet Steak and Shrimp
- Skillet Chicken in Balsamic Caramelized Onion Cream Sauce
- Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
- 1-Hour Whole Roasted Chicken
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard (or honey mustard)
- ¼ teaspoon EACH: salt AND pepper
- 8 ounces of cleaned kale greens
- 1 ½ cups shredded green cabbage (or shredded sprouts, radicchio)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup roasted almonds, crushed or sliced
- WHISK: combine the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt, and pepper in a mason jar and shake with a lid on or whisk it together in a measuring cup.
- TOSS: Add the kale and the green cabbage to a large mixing bowl. Toss with ½ the dressing, taste and adjust with additional dressing as desired. Top with cranberries and roasted almonds. Taste and adjust with additional dressing if needed. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving so the kale soaks up all that yummy dressing!
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