This kale pomegranate salad is a vibrant and nutrition-packed side dish. Naturally sweet, super crunchy, and full of gorgeous color, this salad is ready in just about 30 minutes and has a long shelf-life (AKA, a meal prep winner!). This is one of our go-to seasonal salad recipes, and I have a felling it’ll be one of yours too.
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A few weeks ago, Cam casually suggested that it might be a super fabulous idea to do another Whole 30. With a newborn. It must be the lack of sleep, or the baby brain, but I agreed, and here we are.
We’ve done the Whole30 before, but with a tiny human at home our situation is a little different this time around, so we decided that it would be in everyone’s best interests to do a modified version. We’re keeping a limited amount of dairy (cream for our coffee) and some alcohol (a little wine, a little bourbon, maybe some gin). It’s the Dirty Whole30!
While we desperately need a dietary reboot, we’re not stupid – newborns and survival necessitate palatable coffee and the occasional alcoholic indulgence (on the practical side, we learned from our reintroduction phase during our previous Whole30 that our bodies tolerate high-fat dairy and alcohol really well, so we feel okay about keeping them).
The first few days have been a bit bumpy because I fell down hard when it came to planning, but I dusted myself off and got cracking in the kitchen and whipped up this gorgeous (and insanely tasty) kale pomegranate salad, served alongside chicken with 40 cloves of garlic.
There are approximately 1.2 billion recipes for chicken with 40 cloves, but my absolute favorite is Saveur’s version with fresh tarragon. The only mod I make is to substitute white wine for the vermouth. Otherwise, it’s perfect. It’s also quick and easy, and let’s face it – that’s what really matters here.
My mom was in town for a visit when I made this recipe, and when I mentioned we were having kale pomegranate salad, she was decidedly unimpressed. But even the staunchest kale-haters in your life will love this sweet salad, as evidenced by mom’s empty plate at the end of dinner.
Kale Pomegranate Salad Recipe Notes
This recipe is everything that a fall salad should be – bright, colorful, hearty, and packed with vitamins and nutrients. It’s a quick and easy recipe that’s perfect for dinner or meal prep, and a total crowd pleaser at every party I host.
Technically you don’t need any fancy kitchen equipment to prepare this recipe, but a hand held julienne peeler or vegetable mandoline will make your life a lot easier. Both are relatively inexpensive investments that are easy to store and maintain. The handheld julienne peeler in particular is one of those little indulgences that I swore I’d never purchase (hello, that’s what knives are for!) but that I now use all the time.
To make this salad, toss the thinly sliced flat leaf (lacinato) kale with shaved brussels sprouts, shredded red cabbage, and thinly sliced fennel, then toss it all with poppyseed dressing. When you’re ready to serve, add the pomegranate seeds, julienned apples and pepitas for a satisfying crunch in every bite. It can be served immediately, but the flavor is markedly improved by a few hours (or overnight) of fridge marinating.
This salad is super customizable to your palette, and you can give and take a little of this and that based on your preferences (although I strongly recommend keeping the pomegranate seeds because they add that little extra bit of dazzle that makes this salad really special). The apples can be swapped for pears, spinach for the brussels, or even romaine for the kale if you just cannot. Just be sure to substitute crunchy for crunchy and soft for soft to maintain the balance in texture.
Dietary Accommodations, Variations, and Storage
- Naturally paleo and vegetarian
- Whole30 and vegan friendly with minor modifications (see recipe card notes)
- Dairy free, nut free, and soy free
- Substitutions: swap pears for the apples; green cabbage for red; sunflower seeds for pepitas
- Variations: add shredded chicken for a complete meal prep recipe; add 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese.
- This salad is hearty and keeps well in the fridge; I like it best the second day. Store the dressed salad in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
More Seasonal Salad Recipes
Need more fall and winter seasonal salad inspiration? I got ya’ covered:
- Orange Chicken Salad Meal Prep Bowls
- Roasted Fennel Salad with Apple and Radicchio
- Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette
- Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Creamy Maple Dressing
- Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw
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Kale Pomegranate Salad with Apple, Fennel and PepitasPrint Recipe Rate This Recipe Pin Recipe
- Vegetable Peeler
- 1 large bunch lacinato kale (tuscan kale), thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound brussels sprouts or about a bag of shaved brussels sprouts from Trader Joe's
- 1/4 head red cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb julienned
- 1/4 cup paleo poppy seed dressing see Notes for recipe
- 1 crispy apple such as honeycrisp, julienned
- 1/4 cup pepitas roasted and salted
- 1 pomegranate seeded
- sea salt to taste
- cracked black pepper to taste
- Thinly slice the kale and red cabbage and toss into a salad bowl. With a very sharp knife, cut each brussels sprout in half, then thinly slice crosswise to shred, and add to the kale and cabbage. Trim the stalks from the fennel, peel off the tough outer layer with a vegetable peeler and then cut off the root end. Halve the bulb, core it, and then thinly slice and add to the remaining vegetables.
- Toss the kale, cabbage, fennel and brussels with the poppy seed dressing. At this point, you can either move onto the next step, or let the veggies marinate in the dressing for several hours or overnight. The acid from the dressing will break down the tough vegetables a bit, although they'll still remain crunchy.
- When you're ready to serve, cut and core the apple, then julienne using either a knife or hand held julienne peeler. Halve the pomegranate and remove the seeds.
- Top the slaw with the apples, pepitas, and pomegranate seeds. Lightly toss, and then dust with salt and pepper to taste.
- I again turn to Saveur, this time for their Poppy Seed Dressing because it's perfection. This recipe is divine and cannot be improved.
- To make it paleo, sub 1/4 cup raw honey for the 1/2 cup white sugar.
- To make it vegan, sub 1/4 cup maple syrup.
- To make it Whole30, substitute 4 soaked dates or 2 tbsp date syrup at the same time you add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan. It won't be as sweet, but it will be compliant and totally tasty.
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