Kale Waldorf Salad

Best kale salad ever! A kale waldorf salad with apples, celery, walnuts, dried cranberries, and tangy mayo dressing

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4



  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 large sweet red apples, cored, and chopped
  • 1 cup of sliced celery
  • 1 cup lightly toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 2 cups (packed) sliced kale leaves (tough ribs removed before slicing)


1 Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl.

2 Place the apples, celery, walnuts, dried sweetened cranberries, and kale in a serving bowl.

3 Add the dressing to the salad and gently toss to combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste.


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  • Shannon

    This is great! We love sprinkling a tiny bit of cinnamon in it as a comforting reminder that Fall will be here soon.


  • Saskia Mills

    This is so delicious! The whole family loves it, including the picky teens. Still great as lunch the next day, which is hard to accomplish with a salad. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Kate

    Excellent recipe! Definitely will be making this again soon. I did make my dressing with plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo and couldn’t tell the difference. I don’t think it was too acidic.

  • Monica S.

    Tried this recipe for the first time for a potluck at work…. Delish! Many really liked the combined flavors and dressing was light and the perfect amount! Many times the dressing in recipes is too much and sits at the bottom of the serving bowl. This dressing clung nicely to every piece! I used kale and celery that came in my CSA this week. Will be a keeper recipe for sure! Thanks for sharing, Elise~

  • Lisa

    Your cranberry sauce and this Waldorf Kale salad will be on our Christmas table tomorrow. Thanks for the recipes and Happy Holidays!

  • Leisa

    Update: I made this recipe last evening as a test run for TG side. As I suspected, this dish will be a nice foil to brighten some of the dinner’s tones while honoring fall’s vegetable and fruit residents. I bought a bag of mixed baby kale arugula chard and spinach as that was what was at the store. I used the chiffonade technique to break them down further. (I had also seen another recipe for such greens as a base for a coleslaw with apples with a poppy seed dressing).

    Outside of the leaf prep, I would not change a thing about the recipe. I really enjoyed it. Thanks Elise!

  • Leisa

    I think that this would make a lovely side dish for Thanksgiving, and plan to incorporate it into the mix of things.

  • Mary

    Hi, has anyone tried this with baby kale? I have some picky eaters in my book club and the baby kale may be a little less bitter.

  • Amanda Benn

    Thanks for your reply Elise but if kale is bitter raw I believe it’s natures way of saying don’t eat me raw!

  • Amanda Benn

    Hi Elise I have been reading up and believe kale needs to be lightly cooked say in coconut oil before eating.
    But could still make a yummy salad just by lightly cooking kale first and coconut oil will go beautifully with other ingredients.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Amanda, all vegetables are easier to digest if they are cooked, kale included. But this is a salad using raw ingredients, so that’s what we are doing. If you try cooking the kale first and using it in this recipe, please let us know how it turns out for you!

  • Tracy

    I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! The dressing really did tenderize the kale (I only let mine sit for about 30 minutes, but even in that small amount of time it helped). The sweetness of the apple & cranberries went perfectly with the walnuts, kale, and dressing. Love it! This will be on my regular salad rotation now.

  • Christine

    I made this for lunch using toasted pecans and a handful of grapes instead of walnuts and one of the apples, because that’s what I had. It was delicious! Kids and adults loved it. This is a keeper. Thanks so much for this recipe.


  • Julia

    This looks terrific. I was wondering, though, whether you thought plain yogurt could be subbed for the mayo?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Julia, not a straight substitution. The dressing has added vinegar and mustard, both which make the dressing slightly acidic. If you do a straight substitution with the yogurt, the dressing will likely be too acidic. If you want to use yogurt, I would search around online for a yogurt-based dressing to use with this salad.

  • Sandy S

    Waldorf salad with kale! Now that’s inspired! When I first started reading your blog I happened to need a Waldorf Salad recipe and looked up your recipe. I spent a good bit of time reading everyone’s ‘family takes’ on the classic recipe and have been enjoying Simple Recipes every since! Absolutely my ‘go to’ source when I need any recipe!
    BTW – I might try something I learned at a SubWay shop on the kale before adding the other ingredients. This may be an old idea, but it was the first time I had ever seen it. They put the chopped greens in a metal bowl and the use a metal bladed pastry blender on them for about 30 seconds to a a minute before adding the other ingredients. It is surprising what this does for the flavor, as well as the texture!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sandy, great idea to chop the kale with a metal pastry blender. Inspired!

      • Sandy S

        Thumbs up on this recipe Elise! The hint of mustard in the dressing plays well with the kale and other ingredients to make this a great salad in it’s own right. Not just a play on a Waldorf. Will definitely be eating more of this salad thru the winter! I can see adding things like shredded carrots, blue berries or roasted/seasoned pumpkin seeds when the spirit moves me! :-) Many thanks!

  • Mary @ LOVE the secret ingredient

    Interesting note with the dressing tenderizing the kale. This looks exactly like my kind of salad, so delicious!

  • Laura @ Raise Your Garden

    I appreciate how you balanced the bitter kale with the sweet apple & cranberry dynamic duo. That’s my biggest beef with kale…it’s just too bitter for me and then I don’t get it down at all. Which is a shame. Hail King Kale!

  • Becki

    I always think that Kale does so well with sweet flavors so I love this recipe. Plus, like you mention it holds up well so you can make it one day and have it in the fridge another day or two. Definitely pinning and making this one!