Kale Waldorf Salad

The Waldorf salad is an American favourite created in the late 1800s in the Waldorf Hotel in New York City. It typically features apples, walnuts and celery on a bed of lettuce, dressed in mayonnaise, but variations are common around this central theme.

I have experimented with various ingredients over the past couple of years, using kale as the base and vegenaise as the dressing, and while good, I’ve never quite been satisfied. You see, while I try to eat clean as much as possible, I’m not really a huge fan of kale and often find it tough to chew. But after dabbling again over the Christmas holidays, I think I have finally found the sweet spot.

My version, as described below, is a kale salad that will satisfy even those who don’t think they like kale. Trust me: I wanted seconds, and that rarely happens when I’m eating kale! You could use regular curly kale, but the lacinato (often called tuscan) kale is quite readily available these days and worth the effort to find. As an added bonus, my dressing is a healthier non-dairy version that also adds in some protein from the cashews with extra health benefits of avocado.

I hope you enjoy!


1 bunch organic lacinato/tuscan kale 
1 cup organic apples
2 stalks organic celery
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
dash salt

1/2 avocado
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
splash extra virgin olive oil

Note: I recommend organic where possible for all ingredients, especially the apples and celery which are part of the Dirty Dozen. but of course, if this is not possible, feel free to substitute non-organic fruits and veggies.

After giving the kale leaves a good wash, prepare the kale by removing the thick stem. Then chop or tear the kale into very small pieces in a large bowl. I prefer to roll up a few leaves tightly into a small roll, then cut these into small pieces (a chiffonade of sorts). Add the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice. Mix well and let marinade for about 15 minutes, which in conjunction with the small little pieces, will make it tender.

While waiting for the kale to tenderize, wash and chop the celery and apples into small pieces and add to a separate bowl. If using organic apples, there’s no need to peel the apples. Add the walnuts, apples, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds to the chopped apples and celery.

Now you can make the dressing. Instead of mayonnaise, we’re going to make a healthy avocado based dressing. First, add the cashews and water into a chopper (I use the chopper that came with my immersion blender, but any sort of blender should do) and mix until smooth. Then add in 1/2 an avocado, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and a splash of olive oil. Blend again until smooth. Add a little extra water if needed at any point along the way to get the consistency you desire. When I make this, the dressing is relatively thick rather than runny.

By now, the kale should be almost ready. Once it has set for 15 minutes, you can now mix the dressing into the kale, using as much or little as you like to lightly coat the kale leaves. Top with the fruit, celery, nuts and seeds.


2 thoughts on “Kale Waldorf Salad

  1. Pingback: Lighten Up: 15 MORE Salad Recipes to Lighten Up January | Food Bloggers of Canada

  2. I love how you gave me the rundown of the original Waldorf because I’m totally fascinated by that type of stuff. I recently found lacinato kale in my town and was so excited! …but then they replaced it with a curly purple variety lol. Great recipe. And the avocado/cashew dressing––so creamy!

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