Close up overhead view of Autumn Kale and Apple Salad, with balsamic vinaigrette and a fork on the side.
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5 from 10 votes

Autumn Kale and Apple Salad

All the flavors of fall come together in this Autumn Kale and Apple Salad, with candied walnuts and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time25 mins
Total Cost: $5.09 recipe /. $1.27 serving
Servings: 4 side salads
Calories: 408.63kcal
Author: Beth - Budget Bytes


Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup olive oil $0.55
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar $0.41
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise $0.17
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard $0.09
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.01
  • freshly cracked pepper $0.02

Candied Walnuts

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped $0.60
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter $0.07
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.08
  • 1 pinch salt $0.01


  • 8 oz. torn kale leaves (about 12 cups) $2.13
  • 1 apple $0.52
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese $0.30


  • Make the balsamic vinaigrette first, so the flavors have time to blend. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise, Dijon, minced garlic, dried basil, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to a jar, bowl, or blender. Close the jar and shake, whisk in the bowl, or blend until the dressing is smooth. Set the dressing aside.
  • Next make the candied walnuts. Add the butter, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt to a small non-stick skillet. Heat over medium while stirring, just until the brown sugar begins to melt and sizzle around the edges (one minute).
  • Add the chopped walnuts to the skillet and stir to combine with the partially melted brown sugar. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring every 10-15 seconds, until the brown sugar fully melts (looks glossy instead of grainy) and completely coats the walnuts.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat immediately and pour the hot candied walnuts out onto a piece of parchment. Spread the walnut pieces out in a single layer and let cool (about 10 minutes).
  • Add the torn kale leaves to a large bowl. Add about 2 Tbsp of the balsamic vinaigrette and massage the dressing into the torn kale leaves for about 2 minutes. The kale will wilt to about half the volume.
  • Cut the apple into four quarters, then cut the core off of each piece. Slice each quarter of the apple into thin pieces.
  • Divide the massaged kale between four plates. Add apple slices, a tablespoon or two of candied walnuts, and about 1/2 Tbsp blue cheese to each salad. Drizzle a little more balsamic vinaigrette over each, then serve!


Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 408.63kcal | Carbohydrates: 17.2g | Protein: 5.95g | Fat: 38.6g | Sodium: 826.9mg | Fiber: 2.43g