This vibrant and refreshing Kale Apple Slaw is a crisp and delightful salad that's a perfect blend of sweet and savory. Served with a creamy cashew dressing you can make this recipe in under 15 minutes, including the salad dressing!
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I love a kale salad, but this side dish recipe is a whole other level. Perfect for Fall, I have added my favorite spicy cashew butter dressing but you could also try this poppy seed dressing as an alternative if spicy isn't your thing.
📖Why This Recipe Works
Bold Flavor- The dressing for this recipe is lightly sweetened with maple syrup but overall packs quite a punch.
Versatile- This kale slaw recipe could easily be a starter for your Thanksgiving dinner or as a side dish at your next tailgate.
No Mayo- I know many people are not a fan of traditional coleslaw because of the mayonnaise so I made this kale slaw without mayo.
This recipe is naturally gluten-free and vegan.
I am not going into all the details on the cashew salad dressing recipe because I have a full post on it. Just know you can make it as spicy or as sweet as you like.
Carrots- slaw classic. use any color.
Cabbage- I use red cabbage because I like the vibrant color but green cabbage has the same crunch.
Cashews- Try toasting them in a dry pan for a couple of minutes before serving.
What is the best kale for slaw?
I typically use curly kale in this recipe but you can use lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur kale) or baby kale.
What is the best apple for slaw?
Honeycrisp is my go-to apple variety for this recipe. Fuji or Granny Smith would be my second choice. You definitely want something with a bit of a snap to it so pass on the red delicious.
How do I keep the apples from browning?
I prefer to soak my apples in water if I am not serving the slaw right away. But this article says that a salt water soak worked best. If I am serving right away I just let the lime juice in the dressing take care of the browning issue.
⏲️How to Make Kale Apple Slaw
What makes this recipe a slaw vs a salad is the creamy dressing and how we prep the ingredients.
Step 1- Prep the Vegetables
The carrots should be shredded on a box grater. The cabbage should be shredded or cut into thin ribbons.
To prep the kale. Pull the leaves from the stem and finely chop.
The apples can be thinly sliced or cut into match sticks. You should core the apples to remove the seeds but do not peel the apples.
Step 2- Make the Dressing
Place all the dressing ingredients (except for the water) into a blender. Process until smooth.
Slowly add hot water to thin the dressing is perfectly creamy.
Step 3- Assemble the Salad
Add the shredded kale to a bowl. Pour a small amount of dressing over and massage it in.
Add the remaining ingredients and toss to serve. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the slaw and toss to coat the vegetables.
🥗What to Serve with Apple Kale Slaw
I think this slaw is the perfect side for everything from roasted chicken to a burger on the grill.
When it comes to pairing this recipe I like to serve it with boursin mashed potatoes and roasted rainbow carrots for dinner. But when it comes to a potluck or a buffet try it with blue cheese potato salad and scalloped potatoes.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
If your kale is on the bitter side, massage the kale leaves with a bit of the dressing to help tenderize them.
Store any leftover Apple and Kale Slaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Note that the apples will brown and the kale may wilt slightly over time, but the flavors will still be delicious.
More Slaw and Salad Recipes
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Sweet and Spicy Kale Apple Slaw
- 6 cups curly kale about 1 bunch, chopped
- 2 apples cored and thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups carrots shredded
- 1 ½ cup red cabbage shredded
- ½ cup unsalted cashews roughly chopped
Spicy Cashew Dressing
- ½ cup Cashew Butter
- 1 lime juice and zest
- ½ cup fresh cilantro loosely packed
- 2 Tablespoons tamari gluten free soy sauce or regular soy sauce if not GF
- 2 Tablespoon fresh ginger minced
- 2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 Fresno chili stem removed
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ crushed red pepper flakes
- hot water about 2 to 4 tablespoons
- Place the kale in a large serving bowl and drizzle with the dressing. Use clean hands to massage int he dressing.6 cups curly kale
- Add the remaining vegetables and toss to coat. Sprinkle on the cashews and serve.1 ½ cups carrots, 2 apples, ½ cup unsalted cashews, 1 ½ cup red cabbage
Spicy Cashew Dressing
- Add all ingredients , except the water, to a high powdered blend and blend on high for 1 minute.½ cup Cashew Butter, 1 lime, ½ cup fresh cilantro, 2 Tablespoons tamari gluten free soy sauce, 2 Tablespoon fresh ginger, 2 Tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 Fresno chili, 1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ crushed red pepper flakes
- Gradually add hot water until the dressing reaches a pourable consistency that isn't too thin.hot water
- To prevent the apples from browning you can toss them in lemon juice or soak them in cold water.
- Remove the seeds from the chili is optional.
- You can substitute a small Thai chili, serrano pepper or jalapeño for the Fresno chili.
- Place ¾ cup raw cashews on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 F degrees.
- Cool for 10 minutes. Then blend for 5 to 10 minutes until a paste forms.