Recipe: Warm Kale and Apple Salad

Despite it being mid-October, it doesn’t really feel like autumn yet in Cambridge. My commute to work has been filled with falling leaves, people sipping pumpkin spice lattes, and 80 degree weather. My soul has been longing for fall flavors for weeks, but my body and the atmosphere seem to still be feeling summer.

In an attempt to strike a compromise, I made a warm kale and apple salad this evening to go with dinner. The little hits of citrus scream summer, while the warm temperature, apples, and toasted pepitas definitely gave it a fall feel.

The real star of the show though? Coarse ground dijon mustard.

It pulled the whole thing together and actually made eating kale an enjoyable experience for my boyfriend. 😉

So, if you need to trick anyone in your life into eating kale or are as seasonally confused like I am, I highly suggest this salad.

Warm Kale and Apple Salad

(Serves 2)

Warm Kale and Apple Salad


  • 1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 crisp sweet apple (I suggest a fuji or gala)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of garlic minced, depending on flavor preference
  • 1 tsp and 1 tbsp of olive oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  • 3 tbsp pepitas
  • 2 tbsp coarse ground dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste



  1. Chop up ya’ stuff. Chop and de-stem kale. Coarsely dice apple. Cut your lemon in half (because you probably bought a whole one). Mince that garlic (probably 3ish cloves depending on the head of garlic).
  2. Over medium high heat, toast pepitas in very lightly oiled (1 tsp of olive oil)  large skillet. You should toast the pepitas for just a couple minutes, until they start to get golden brown on the outside. They’re pretty easy to burn, so keep watch! Once golden brown, remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Next, melt 1 tbsp of butter in your skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add diced apples to the skillet and squeeze 1/2 of the juice in your half lemon (or more plainly, 1/4 of the juice in a whole lemon) over the apples.
  5. Add a small pinch of salt to the apples. Salt seems strange here, but it actually brings out the delicate sweetness of the apples. (Thanks, culinary class!)
  6. Sauté apples in butter and lemon juice until they are warmed through and begin to soften. However, the apples should have a little “bite” in them when they’re done. Think al dente pasta, but for apples.
  7. Once apples are “al dente,” remove from the heat and set aside in a small bowl.
  8. Return the skillet to the stove and heat the second tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil to medium heat.
  9. Add kale, garlic, and remaining lemon juice in your 1/2 lemon to the skillet and sauté until it begins to wilt and until your garlic starts to lightly brown.
  10. Once the kale has wilted, remove skillet from heat and add the dijon and apples. Toss and salt lightly.
  11. Serve up your salad in small bowls and top with toasted pepitas (and/or Bacon Wrapped Garlic Chicken Thighs – it’s a choose your own adventure kind of deal.)


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