Eat Well Oct. 24. 2013

Fuji Apple Kale Salad with Maple Spiced Hazelnuts

Oct. 24. 2013
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

A great fall salad using apple, and pairing it with delicious, fiber-rich, antioxidant powerhouse, and nutrient-dense kale.

Kale is a great hearty and nutrient dense dark leafy green to incorporate into your diet. It’s the best choice for greens to use in this Fuji Apple Kale Salad with Maple Spiced Hazelnuts with the beautiful balance of sweetness and zest.

Try to challenge yourself to increase the amounts of raw plant-based foods you have in your diet — like good ole’ salad! This kale salad recipe is a perfect way to do this because it tastes delicious and embraces the seasonal foods of fall. Fuji Apple Kale Salad with Maple Spiced Hazelnuts is great for making a large batch on your batch cooking days as it keeps well throughout the week.

It’s perfect for a quick lunch by simply taking several handfuls and putting in your Tupperware (BPA free) to-go, it’s also great for a quick dinner side dish or turn this into an entree by adding your favorite vegetarian proteins to it such as chickpeas, tempeh, organic tofu, lentils, nuts, seed, or animal proteins if that’s yo thing (just make sure they meet the Nutrition Stripped philosophy!). This salad can also be served chilled, room temperature, or even slightly warm which I’ll share below.

Fuji apples are my all time favorite type of apple, although I do enjoy other varieties, Fuji apples taste like fall in my opinion! They’re the epitome of a seasonally fresh apple with it’s deep, crisp, bold, and sweet flavor.

Of course, if you don’t have access to Fuji apples a couple others, use your favorite apple — I would suggest Honeycrisp or Cortland. Walnuts are another delicious and nutrient-packed component to this recipe. Hazelnuts are a beautiful crunchy addition to this sweet salad. Since hazelnuts have an earthy, mild, nutty, and slightly sweet taste, they pair beautifully when toasted to perfect with added spices.


Make it an Entree

  • Proteins: tempeh, lentils, organic tofu, almonds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, organic eggs, etc.
  • Carbohydrates: quinoa, roasted sweet potato, millet, buckwheat, wild rice, brown rice, larger portions of apple, etc.
  • Good fats: avocado, additional nuts/seeds, a drizzle of olive oil

The Recipe

Serves 4



5 cups organic kale, chopped

1 1/2 cups (1 large) organic Fuji apples, chopped

For the Hazelnuts:

1 cup hazelnuts

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

For the Dressing:

2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1 clove garlic, minced

juice of 1 lemon

juice of 1 Meyer lemon (or you may use an orange)



For the Kale

De-stem the kale leaves from the stem by simply placing your index finger and middle finger (in the shape of a claw), and “claw” down the center of the leaf to de-stem while simultaneously pulling the leaf away from you with your other hand.

In a large bowl, combine the de-stemmed kale leaves with the juice of 1 lemon, sea salt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Using a massaging action (similar to kneading bread dough), start to tear the leaves apart and massage. Continue massaging for about 2-5 minutes or until the leaves are softened, the leaves will also turn a more vibrant green. Set aside.

For the Hazelnuts

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 tablespoon maple syrup, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of sea salt. Stir hazelnuts into this mixture until well coated. Lay evenly on a greased or lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown- be careful to not allow these to burn. Set aside.

For the Dressing

Combine 1 tablespoon maple syrup + 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar + 1 juice of lemon + 1 tablespoon olive oil + minced garlic + black pepper + sea salt to taste


In a large bowl, add olive oil, garlic, and seasonings and combine with a fork until you create a paste where no garlic chunks are remaining.

Add in the massaged kale greens. Add Fuji apples and Spiced Nuts with remaining ingredients.

Store in the refrigerator if not eating immediately and consume chilled.

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