Make this simple kale and apple Manchego salad with a honey vinaigrette in less than 5 minutes. Made with fresh flavors like apples, kale, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries, this salad is perfect for weekday lunches, a holiday appetizer or a dinner side dish.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
Perfect for every season. While many kale salads are best suited for the fall, like my Fall Harvest Salad, this salad can be enjoyed no matter what the season is. The apple and kale mixture makes it the perfect fall or winter salad, while the bright honey vinaigrette makes it light enough for spring and summer.
Fresh Flavor. This delicious salad is bursting with fresh flavors due to the fresh ingredients. It is sweet, savory, creamy and tart all in one bite. If you love a fresh flavor salad, try my burrata caprese salad too!
Hearty. This apple Manchego salad will keep you full due to the fiber and healthy fat in it. It is the perfect side dish for dinner or can be eaten as a main dish. You can also add your choice of protein to it.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSITUTIONS
Apples. I have used a mix of different apples for this salad. Whether they are tart apples, like a granny smith apple, or on the sweet side, like a honey crisp apples, I find any work and pair well with the Manchego cheese. I recommend using your favorite apples!
Curly Kale. Kale provided the hearty texture to this salad. Kale harmonizes the apple and cheese flavors and provides more structure for the heavier toppings. You may also substitute kale for any of your favorite salad greens, such as baby spinach, baby arugula or romaine.
Manchego Cheese. Manchego cheese is a Spanish cheese that you can find in the local grocery store. It is a semi-hard cheese with a sweet flavor. If you are vegan, I do not believe there is a vegan manchego cheese option in stores yet. Therefore, I recommend using a vegan sharp white cheddar.
Sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds add a nice crunch to this salad. If you prefer a different nut, you can definitely use it. I like to use crushed pecan or crunchy almonds.
Dried cranberries. Dried cranberries add a nice tart flavor to this apple Manchego salad. When buying dried cranberries, I recommend buying unsweetened cranberries. You may also use tart, unsweetened dried cherries in its place.
The honey vinaigrette dressing had high quality, local honey, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, vinegar and sea salt and black pepper for taste.
If you are vegan or you do not consume honey, use my apple cider vinaigrette dressing instead.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1. Using a sharp knife, cut the apples into thin slices. You can use a mandoline slicer as well. Then, destem and chop the kale into bite size pieces and cut the Manchego cheese into thick cubes, approximately ½ inch big.
Step 2. Add the ingredients for the salad dressing into a medium salad bowl and mix or whisk until combined.
Step 3. To the same bowl, add the kale and mix it until coated. Then, add all the other ingredients on top and mix again.
It is best to store this salad without the dressing on it. If you do need to store any left overs, store them in an airtight container for up to 12 hours or consumed the next day. Kale is on the heartier side, so it should not get soggy, but if you are using any other type of lettuce, check to make sure the texture is okay before consuming.
TIME SAVING HACKS
Make the dressing ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Because of the olive oil and honey, it may solidify. When ready to use, allow it to sit on the counter for 10-15 to liquify then give it a good shake and pour it onto the salad.
Cut and destem the kale ahead of time and store it in the fridge until ready to use. You can also cut the apples ahead of time, but I recommend coating them with fresh lemon juice so they do not turn brown.
Yes, you can. Raw kale is absolutely delicious and full of fiber and vitamins. I recommend cutting off stems and chopping it into small bite-sized pieces.
It is best to store this salad without the dressing on it. If you do need to store any left overs, store them in an airtight container for up to 12 hours or consumed the next day. Kale is on the heartier side, so it should not get soggy.
- Destem the kale. Destemming the kale will make it easier to chew due to the stems being a little woody in texture.
- Make the dressing ahead of time. This salad dressing will stay well for up to 5 days. Cut down on time by making it ahead of time.
MORE SALADS + DRESSINGS
Kale and Apple Manchego Salad with Honey Vinaigrette
- 1 medium sized salad bowl
- 1 whisk or fork
- 1 knife
- 1 cutting board
Honey Vinaigrette Dressing
- 2 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vinegar
- Salt and Pepper for taste
- 1 medium apple sliced
- 2 cups kale destemmed and chopped
- 2-3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2-3 tbsp dried cranberries
- ¼ cup manchego cheese cubed
- Using a medium salad bowl, add all of the ingredients for the salad dressing and mix.
- To the same bowl, add the chopped kale and toss in the dressing.
- Add the apple slices, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and Manchego cheese.
- If you are vegan and do not consume honey or cheese, I recommend using vegan white cheddar in place of the manchego cheese and apple cider vinaigrette dressing