This Chick-fil-a copycat kale crunch salad is made with fresh kale, green apple, red cabbage, dried cranberries, roasted almonds, and dressed in a simple apple cider vinaigrette. It’s the perfect 10-minute lunch, dinner, or side dish.
Best copycat Chick-fil-a kale crunch salad
You are going to love this copycat Chick-fil-a kale crunch salad. It’s light, fresh, and delicious.
I took the base ingredients of the Chick-fil-a version and elevated them to make a tastier, more flavorful, and healthier version of their classic kale crunch salad.
We use both green and red cabbage, thinly sliced green apple for freshness, toasted almonds for a crunch, and dried cranberries for a little sweetness. Plus, the homemade apple cider, honey, and Dijon mustard vinaigrette perfectly blends all the salad elements together.
You can add chicken, salmon, shrimp, or tofu to this salad to make it higher in protein and a full meal. It’s super customizable, and everyone will love it!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Healthy and vegan.
- Simple homemade apple cider and Dijon vinaigrette.
- No gluten or grains, and it’s paleo.
- Lightened-up copycat Chick-fil-a recipe.
- 10 minutes to make.
- No baking or oven required.
- Fresh, simple, and refreshing.
You only need a few ingredients to make this kale crunch salad recipe. It is so easy to make in under 10 minutes, and everyone will love it! Here is a list, so you have everything prepared, but scroll down to the recipe card for more details:
- Kale: We use classic curly kale as the base of this salad. Make sure to remove the stems and chop it up. You can also use lacinato and Tuscan kale.
- Purple Cabbage: Next, add in 1 cup of shredded (or thinly sliced) purple cabbage for some color and extra crunch. This is a fun addition to the classic Chick-fil-a version.
- Green Cabbage: Plus some shredded green cabbage.
- Granny Smith Apple: Then add in match-stick-sized slices of green apple for a sour but sweet addition.
- Dried Cranberries: I love dried cranberries. They are sweet and have the best texture. Add in 1/3 cup or swap them out for dried raisins or dried golden raisins.
- Almonds: Finally, for the main “crunch” component in this salad, add in some roasted chopped or slivered almonds. You can substitute them with walnuts, pecans, pistachios, or cashews if needed.
- Olive Oil: First up, you will need some extra-virgin olive oil as the base of this delicious kale crunch salad.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Add in apple cider vinegar for some acidity and a great flavor.
- Lemon Juice: In addition to some freshly squeezed lemon juice. You’ll need one small lemon or half a large one.
- Dijon Mustard: I promise you cannot taste it, but adding Dijon mustard to this salad dressing makes it extra rich and flavorful.
- Honey: Then add 2 or 3 teaspoons of honey-based on your desired level of sweetness. You can also use maple syrup if you are vegan.
- Garlic: 1 clove of garlic adds the best flavor.
- Salt & Pepper: Adjust to your taste preference for some extra seasoning.
I only recommend substituting 1 or 2 ingredients since the original recipe is so delicious! Here are my recommendations:
- Curly Green Kale: Use lacinato and Tuscan kale. If you do not like kale, you a crisp lettuce like the hearts of romaine. There is no need to “message” romaine if you use it.
- Almonds: You any type of nut. I like walnuts, pecans, pistachios, sunflower seeds, or cashews. If you are nut-free, just leave them off.
- Granny Smith Apple: You another type of crisp apple like a Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, or Fuji one.
- Garlic Clove: Use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Dried Cranberries: You can use dried raisins or dried golden raisins.
- Honey: Use maple syrup. This also ensures that the salad is 100% vegan.
Kitchen tools needed
You only need a few kitchen utensils to make this fresh kale crunch salad. Clean-up will be easy! Here is a list:
- Cutting board
- Kitchen knife
- Small bowl or mason jar
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring Tools: 1/4 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, 1 Tablespoon, and 1/3 cup.
How to make kale crunch salad
This kale crunch salad is so easy to make in four simple steps. Here are step-by-step instructions:
First, whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together until the olive oil is emulsified in a small bowl or mason jar. Then, taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference.
After that, place the chopped kale into a large mixing bowl and pour half of the dressing on top. Then, massage the kale with your hands for 2-3 minutes until the kale is no longer rigid.
Next, add in the purple and green cabbage, apple pieces, dried cranberries, and roasted almonds.
Finally, toss the salad and top with the remaining dressing. Enjoy!
Tips for this chopped kale crunch salad
Remove big stems from the kale leaves. Nobody wants a hard-to-chew piece of kale in their salad!
Message the kale. Kale can be hard to digest, so massage it with your hands in 1/2 of the vinaigrette to ensure it is soft, and the fibers break down.
Taste the dressing and adjust seasonings to your liking. Everyone has different flavor preferences, so taste the dressing and adjust it to how you like it before using it.
Let the salad “marinate” for 10 minutes before serving. This ensures that the salad has maximum flavor.
You can add protein to make this salad a more substantial meal. Feel free to pick one of the protein sources I listed below!
- Grilled or roasted chicken breast
- Shredded rotisserie chicken
- Grilled or sauteed shrimp
- Grilled or sauteed salmon
- Crispy tofu
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this salad vegan?
This kale crunch salad is vegan. Just ensure to use maple syrup in the homemade vinaigrette, not honey.
Is it gluten free?
Yes, it is 100% gluten free.
Can I make it nut free?
To make this salad nut-free, just leave off the almonds. I recommend adding roasted chickpeas or croutons to get the sam crunch factor.
What to serve with this kale crunch salad
The options are endless! I love serving this kale crunch salad with air fryer chicken thighs, zucchini turkey meatballs, and even these soy chicken skewers. If you are in the mood for something heartier, I love these Mexican stuffed bell peppers or this chicken broccoli pasta bake.
How to store leftovers:
For best results, store dressed leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 day. If the salad is undressed, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Kale Crunch Salad (Chick-Fil-A Copycat)
- 4 cups kale, (stems removed, chopped) I used curly kale, but Lacinato and Tuscan Kale work too
- 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 1 cup shredded green cabbage
- 1 medium granny smith (green) apple , cut into thin sticks
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup roasted almonds, chopped or slivered
- In a small bowl whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together until the olive oil is emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference.
- Place the chopped kale into a large mixing bowl and pour ½ of the dressing on top. Massage the kale with your hands for 2-3 minutes, until the kale is no longer rigid.
- Add in the purple and green cabbage, apple pieces, dried cranberries, and roasted almonds.
- Toss the salad and top with the remaining dressing. Enjoy!
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