kale salad with apples and walnuts

4 to 6    |   
Prep Time:
20 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
10 minutes

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This incredibly healthy salad came from Il Cane Rosso in San Francisco (update: now closed). I asked the chef for the recipe, then fiddled around with it by swapping celery for the celery root. They fiddle around with it too; one time it had chopped shallots, one time sliced red onion. One time there was radicchio to offset the kale, another time there wasn’t. It just depends on what’s in the market and that’s how you should approach it. If you want, you can use my mustard vinaigrette if you’re in a huge hurry, but try their dressing at least once. It’s phenomenal.



½ pound lacinato kale
2 tablespoons mustard seeds, optional2 pink lady apples (or other sweet-tart apples)
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
kosher salt
about 6 tablespoons pure olive oil (or half extra-virgin, half canola oil)
1 celery root, peeled and julienned, or 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
½ cup toasted walnuts (see note), crushed
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
freshly ground pepper


Pull the kale leaves off the stems and chop leaves coarsely (discard stems). Rinse greens, spin dry, and set aside. If using mustard seeds, heat them in a small frying pan over medium heat, swirling pan, until they start to pop. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl.

Peel and roughly chop one of the apples and place in a small saucepan with just enough water to cook it, about 1/3 cup. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until apple is completely soft, about 5 minutes. Check pan once or twice to be sure the water has not evaporated (if it has, add a few more tablespoons). Puree cooked apple in a blender or small food processor until smooth. Set aside and let cool.

To make the dressing, add the shallot and the vinegar with a pinch of salt to the bowl with the mustard seeds. Let sit for 10 minutes to slightly “pickle” the shallot, then stir in the pureed apple. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking with a fork until thickened, and tasting as you go for the right balance, adjusting the oil and salt accordingly.

To make the salad, peel and slice the remaining apple. In a serving bowl, combine the kale, celery root or celery, sliced apple, and a pinch of salt, then toss to incorporate the salt. Add the vinaigrette and toss until completely dressed. Garnish with walnuts, crumbled feta, and pepper to taste, and serve.

note: to toast walnuts, spread in a pie pan and bake in a 350° oven until fragrant, about 8 minutes.