This Kale Harvest Salad is a salad to celebrate the flavors of fall! It's packed with protein, vegetables, and tasty fall flavors - apples, cranberries, and walnuts. It's fall in a bowl!
I eat salads quite often, so wanted to switch things up in this fall kale salad.
For me that means two things: unique toppings and a flavorful dressing.
Unique toppings. I know that apples, walnuts, and cranberries are pretty common ingredients. But you don't always find them on the average salad. I especially love the combo because they have such fall flavors it really gets me excited for cool weather and all the delicious autumn activities.
Flavorful dressing. This dressing. Oh my. It is incredible. It's just a simple combination of mustard, maple syrup, and lemon juice but the result is sweet dressing that tastes like a dream. So good!
Why I love this Kale Harvest Salad
Dietary needs — this salad is dairy-free, plant-based, oil-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free. It’s also very high in fiber.
High Protein — this fall kale salad is packed with protein for a satisfying meal
Harvest Theme — imagine a fall harvest - apples, cranberries, walnuts. What a delicious combination
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
Kale: We all know that kale is a super food. But besides the nutritional benefits it's got a great flavor that really brightens up this salad
Tofu: The key to eating tofu, especially when it's not mixed into anything, is to get it crispy. Use extra firm tofu for best results. I suggest cooking the tofu in an air fryer if you have one. Or you can use a really hot oven. In this recipe the tofu doesn't have a marinade. The delicious dressing provides such a great flavor you won't even miss the marinade for the tofu.
Apples: I used a mix of red delicious and gala apples, but you can choose any sweet variety. Or, if you like sour apples, go for it!
Dried Cranberries: Most dried cranberries have added sugar. It can be pretty hard to find some that aren't covered in some sort of sugar-oil mixture. Many health food stores will have cranberries sweetened with apple juice which is a great option if you can find them.
Walnuts: Walnuts are great brain food! You can toast them for a little extra depth of flavor in this salad. You can also use another nut like pecans
Maple Dijon Dressing
Water: You don't need oil to make a delicious dressing. Water makes a great base for this dressing. And you can alter the amount of water you add to achieve your desired consistency.
Dijon Mustard: Mustard creates a nice tangy flavor to balance out the sweetness of this dressing. If you don't have Dijon mustard, yellow mustard is a good substitute.
Maple Syrup: For sweetness. You can also use date syrup if you want a completely fruit-sweetened recipe.
Lemon Juice: the acid from the lemon juice cuts the sweet flavors of the maple syrup and almond butter, creating a perfectly balanced dressing.
Salt & Pepper
How to make this Kale Harvest Salad
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 450°F or the air fryer to 400°F.
Step 2. Slice tofu into 16 rectangles. Bake or air fry until crispy, about 30 minutes.
Step 3. Thinly the apples. If your apples are larger, cut each slice in half.
Step 4. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
Step 5. When the tofu is cooked, assemble the salad. Divide the kale, tofu, apples, cranberries, and walnuts into two bowls. Drizzle with the dressing. Enjoy!
FAQs & Expert Tips
What can I use instead of kale?
If you don't like kale, this salad would also be great with spinach or mixed greens.
What can I sub for tofu?
You can use cubed tempeh instead of tofu in this salad. Or shelled edamame.
For a soy-free option, use chickpeas.
Perfectly crisp tofu
A few tricks to getting crisp tofu:
Slice thinly. More surface area = more crisp parts. If you want to cut the tofu into cubes instead of larger rectangles, make the cubes small so the pieces cook quickly.
High heat. The higher the heat, the more crispy your tofu will be - crank up your oven or air fryer as high as it can go.
Avoid moisture. There's no marinade in this recipe for a reason. When you add more liquid you increase the cooking time. Instead, cook the tofu plain, then use the salad dressing to really add that flavor.
Why is there no oil in this recipe?
I usually don't cook with oil - you don't need any! Plant-based foods have natural liquids that are released in the cooking process and will aid in preventing sticking.
Thank you God for this salad. Thank you for allowing it to nourish our bodies. Help us to honor you with our bodies.
Love flavorful salads? Try my these vegan salads next: