This vibrant Fall Kale Salad is a delightful mix of flavors and textures. Fresh, crisp kale leaves are paired with sweet Honeycrisp apples and roasted grapes, creating a harmonious balance of sweetness. Tossed in a tangy balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkled with crunchy pancetta. This salad brings together the season's most delicious flavors.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Dietary Restrictions: This fall-inspired salad is gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30 friendly so you can feel confident serving it to many people with dietary restrictions. If you leave off the pancetta it is also plant based.
Easy to make: While this fall harvest kale salad might seem elevated, it is very easy to make and requires minimal ingredients.
Healthy: Fall is the season for colds and flu, this salad is packed with nutrient-dense foods that will help boost your immune system all season long.
Ingredients You Will Need
Kale: is particularly notable for its exceptionally high vitamin K content, which is essential for blood clotting and bone health. It is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and various other vitamins and minerals. Additionally, kale is a good source of dietary fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health and helps with weight management.
Honeycrisp Apples: are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and dietary fiber, supporting a healthy immune system, aiding digestion, and potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Grapes: are packed with antioxidants like resveratrol, which may promote heart health, protect against certain cancers, and support cognitive function. Additionally, their high water content and fiber can aid digestion and contribute to overall hydration and gut health.
Red Onion: Onions are full of antioxidants that help fight inflammation. They also have folate, manganese, and some vitamin C. They are antibacterial, help digestion (for some), and can help reduce your risk of cancer.
Pancetta: is a type of cured pork belly that has a very flavorful and salty profile
Balsamic Vinegar: has a complex, sweet-tangy flavor with hints of fruits and is used for its versatile use in dressings, marinades, and reductions.
Olive Oil: It's important to get a high-quality olive oil and one that is 100% olive oil and single origin, the food industry likes to cut corners when it comes to oils so be sure you check your labels.
Dijon Mustard: is known for its bold, tangy flavor. It gives a nice punch in this recipe! I like Noble Made's Dijon mustard because it has no sugar or additives in it.
Garlic: is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It helps fight many diseases like the common cold, heart disease, and others.
Salt and pepper
Cook the Pancetta: Heat a pan to medium-low heat and add the pancetta. Cook for about 8 minutes or until crispy.
Wash and Chop Veggies: Roughly chop the kale, remove the stems, halve the grapes, dice the onions, and slice the apples.
Saute the grapes: When pancetta is crispy, remove from the pan and add the grapes. Cook for about 5 minutes in the drippings from the pancetta.
Massage the Kale: This is key to any fall kale salad. To do this add the kale to a large bowl or a stand mixer. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl. If you are using the stand mixer, mix on low for about 2 minutes. If you are doing it by hand, gently massage the kale for about 2 minutes.
Make the Dressing: add all the dressing ingredients (balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to a mason jar or bowl and mix.
Build the Salad: add onions, apples, pancetta, and grapes to the bowl of kale. Then drizzle the dressing over the top.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
Massaging Kale: You can massage kale with your hands, however, my favorite tip for this is to put chopped kale and olive oil into a stand mixer and mix for 2 minutes to massage it.
Make it a meal: To make this a full meal, add grilled chicken for some protein.
Lettuce: Kale is the preferred lettuce in this salad, but you can use spinach too.
Pancetta: This can be hard to find in the store sometimes and is not something everyone has on hand. Bacon is a great alternative for pancetta in this harvest-inspired salad.
Whole30 and Paleo: In this recipe I used Board's Head pancetta, however, if you want to keep it Whole30 and Paleo-friendly friendly I recommend using Maestri pancetta.
Other toppings: Pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and goat cheese (if not on a Whole30) are all great additional toppings to add to this salad.
Salad: This easy fall kale salad will store best if left with the dressing on the side. It will last up to 2 days in the refrigerator if the kale is massaged. If it is not massaged, then it will last up to 5 days in the fridge.
Dressing: This will last up to 7 days in the refrigerator by itself.
FAQs About Fall Kale Salad
What kind of Pancetta is Whole30?
My favorite brand of Whole30 compatible pancetta is Maestri.
How do you make kale less bitter for a salad?
Kale can be really tough and bitter, the way I like to make it less bitter is to put olive oil or lemon juice on the chopped kale and massage it. The easiest way to massage it is to put it in your stand mixer and mix for 2 minutes.
How long does kale last in the fridge?
Raw kale will last about a week in the fridge. Put a paper towel in the bag of kale to help soak up the moisture to make it last longer. Massaged kale will only last 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
Fall Kale Salad
- 4 cups Dinosaur Kale roughly chopped
- ½ Honeycrisp Apple thinly sliced
- 1 cup Grapes red or green, halved
- ¼ cup Red onion diced
- 8 oz Pancetta Maestri is Whole30 compatible
- ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- ½ cup Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 teaspoon Garlic minced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat a pan to medium-low heat and add the pancetta. Cook for about 8 minutes or until crispy.
- Wash and rinse the dinosaur kale. Then roughly chop it, removing the stems.
- Dice the red onion, thinly slice the honeycrisp apple, and wash then halve the grapes.
- When pancetta is crispy, remove from the pan and add the grapes. Cook for about 5 minutes in the drippings from the pancetta. Then remove from the pan.
- Next, massage the kale. To do this add the kale to a large bowl or a stand mixer. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl. If you are using the stand mixer, mix on low for about 2 minutes. If you are doing it by hand, gently massage the kale for about 2 minutes.
- Make the dressing by adding all the dressing ingredients (balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt and pepper to a mason jar or bowl and mixing.
- Build your salad by adding onions, apples, pancetta, and grapes to the bowl of kale. Then drizzle the dressing over the top.
- Toss and enjoy!