this Sweet Kale Salad with Cranberries It’s filled with crunchy candied pecans, sweet cranberries, and tart tangerines. With slightly bitter purple radicchio and crisp kale, this is the perfect salad to have on your table from summer to fall.
Healthy Cranberry Kale Salad
Served with homemade honey mustard dressing, this kale salad with cranberries is packed with crunch and tangy goodness. With juicy citrus adding sweetness and radicchio balancing the flavor, this 10-minute side dish will become your new favorite.
Made with fresh kale and plenty of dried cranberries, every bite will let your taste buds know the holidays are here. A sprinkle of little caramel crunch bits (candied pecans) also adds a warm and toasty flavor. Additional fruit like peaches or berries are always welcome too! What really works for me, though, is that it turns into a main dish in seconds with a little chicken or turkey.
This kale and cranberry salad masterpiece comes together beautifully with a simple, delicious dressing and is waiting to be served. Eating greens has never been so full of bright colors, exciting textures and fall flavors. Dig it!
Why you’ll love this kale and cranberry salad
Even if you’re not normally a fan of salads, this kale salad with cranberries will make everyone fall in love with it from the first bite.
- simple. How difficult is it to make a 10-minute side dish? Only 4 steps are required.
- healthy. Homemade seasoning means no weird ingredients in your food. No added sugar or excess sodium.
- Be prepared to be friendly. Make the dressing and candied pecans ahead of time for almost instant access to a side salad throughout the week.
- convenient. This recipe allows you to swap out the kale for other vegetables, use store-bought dressing and canned fruit (if you have those on hand).
Homemade honey mustard dressing is the secret to the flavor of this salad. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact quantities.
- Kale – it needs to be fresh, not frozen.
- Chicory – It adds bitterness, but you can leave it out.
- Orange slices – use fresh or canned.
- Dried Cranberries – Dried blueberries are a great swap.
- green onions
Making Candied Pecans
- Pecans – Do not use salted pecans.
- Brown sugar – either light or dark brown sugar will work.
- Maple Syrup – Raw honey and agave syrup are great alternatives.
- Cream – Feel free to use salted or unsalted cream.
- Apple cider vinegar – please do not use white vinegar.
- Olive oil – Melted coconut or avocado oil is great for this.
- Stone ground mustard – don’t use the yellow processed stuff.
- Raw Honey – Feel free to use maple syrup.
- Dried basil – don’t use fresh basil here.
- Red pepper flakes – you can skip it.
- salt and pepper
How to Make Kale Salad with Cranberries
In 10 minutes you’ll have fresh salad, homemade candied pecans, and healthy dressing. That’s my definition of a perfect recipe! Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.
- Preparing the Kale. Place the kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with some salt. Massage the leaves with your hands for 2-3 minutes, or until the leaves turn forest green and become fragrant. Don’t skip this or the kale will be tough and chewy.If you’ve never done this before, read How to Prepare Kale here. Set it aside.
- make Candied Pecans. Place cream and pecans in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add sugar and maple syrup. Cook 2 minutes more or until sugar melts and mixture coats pecans. Remove them from the heat and place on a plate.
- Make the dressing. Stir all seasoning ingredients in a medium bowl. Olive oil and vinegar should no longer be separated.
- Assemble it. Add radicchio, oranges, cranberries, and scallions to bowl with kale. Serve it on the side with the dressing or drizzle it over. Top with candied pecans and serve.
Tips for success
These tips will help you master any kale salad, especially one with homemade candied pecans.
- Use store bought. When you don’t have time to make your own condiments, use your favorite organic store-bought condiments.
- Crisp again. If your kale has been sitting in the refrigerator for a few days, crisp it up again for a delicious salad. Fill a bowl with water and add plenty of ice cubes. Soak the kale for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the bowl. Strain and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- Add fat or acid. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon olive oil or lemon juice over the kale before massaging to help the leaves soften faster.
- prepare in advance. Make the dressing and candied pecans ahead of time, so all you have to do is mix everything up before dinner.
- Hold the pecan. Especially if you’re making the salad ahead of time, save the pecans until just before serving. Adding them ahead of time means they will absorb moisture and lose their crunch.
- Avoid using parchment paper. Never place freshly made candied pecans on parchment paper as the sticky mixture will stick to the paper and create a huge mess. Always use a heat-resistant bowl or plate.
A few extra ingredients and swaps can add dressing to ensure this kale cranberry salad never gets boring.
- Add fruit. Berries, pomegranate seeds, peach slices and more add more fruity flavor to every bite.
- Add nuts. Almonds, walnuts, and macadamia nuts are great substitutes or additions to give your salad a little extra crunch.
- Exchange greens. If you don’t like kale, use spinach or your favorite salad mix.
- Add protein. Chicken fillets, leftover shredded turkey, and quinoa are all great protein options that can turn a salad into a main dish.
- Change the dressing. Poppy seed paste or balsamic vinegar pairs perfectly with the flavors in this recipe.
What to Serve with Kale Salad
This kale salad with cranberries is the perfect side dish to accompany a turkey dinner.mine Epic Maple Smoked Turkey and Garlic Herb Turkey A great choice for the holidays.If you’re going to change things this year, my Instant Pot Whole Chicken This is a simpler, smaller dish that you can make too.For other vegetarian sides, pair this with mine Honey carrots and Air Fryer Green Beans.
Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days. If possible, store salad and dressing separately to prevent kale from wilting. Candied pecans should be stored at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. When ready to eat, simply mix them together for a “freshly made” salad.
More kale recipes worth trying
This quick kale salad with cranberries and honey mustard dressing is full of fall flavors everyone will love.
- Prepare kale: Place kale slices in a large bowl. Add a pinch of sea salt. Massage the kale with your hands to break it down and soften. About 2-3 minutes. You’ll know you’re done when the kale turns forest green and smells delicious. Set aside.
- To make candied pecans: Heat a medium skillet to medium-high heat. Add cream and pecans to pan. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring throughout. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and cook for 2 minutes more, until the cream and sugar are melted and coated with the pecans. Remove from the pan and place on a plate or foil to cool.
- Make the seasoning: Combine apple cider vinegar, olive oil, stone ground mustard, raw honey, dried basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Use a whisk to mix the dressing together until the oil and vinegar no longer separate.
- Assemble the salad: Add radicchio, oranges, cranberries, and scallions to bowl with kale. Before serving, sprinkle candied pecans over salad, then drizzle with dressing and toss lightly. Serve.
Keywords: Kale Cranberry Salad, Kale Cranberry Salad