This copycat Chick-fil-a kale salad is a recreation of the recipe for the kale crunch side salad. It consists of curly kale, cabbage, and roasted almonds all tossed with a maple dijon vinaigrette dressing. It's a tasty and nutritious salad that's simple and easy to make at home!
Why this recipe works
The Chick fil a kale crunch salad was introduced in January of 2020 to replace the superfood side salad which was similar, but also included broccolini, dried cherries, and a blend of nuts.
I'm not sure how often they make the salads in their restaurants, but the kale can be a little limp if they've sat for too long and they don't always taste super fresh. With this copycat Chick-fil-a kale salad recipe you'll be able to enjoy it fresh and from the comfort of your own home!
For another simple kale salad recipe, check out my roasted butternut squash kale and farro salad.
Ingredients for kale crunch salad
This salad is pretty basic, just kale, cabbage, almonds and dressing. But it's great to have a healthy option when eating fast food. And it is a pretty tasty combination. It also makes a good base for add-ins when you make it at home. I've listed a few of my favorites further down in this post.
How to make maple dijon vinaigrette
This maple dijon vinaigrette dressing is one of my favorite salad dressings. It's got sweetness from the pure maple syrup and a little savory from the dijon mustard and it's balanced out by the acidity of the apple cider vinegar. See my full maple vinaigrette dressing post for all the details.
The process to make this maple vinaigrette dressing is simple. Just add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. That's it!
How to make kale salad
- Add the kale, cabbage, and almonds to a mixing bowl.
- Pour on the vinaigrette dressing. Toss to combine.
I recommend preparing the salad around 30 minutes to an hour before you want to eat it, and letting it rest in the refrigerator. This resting time allows the dressing to soften the kale. If you make it more than an hour ahead, leave the almonds off until you're ready to eat. This way they will maintain their crunch.
Chick-fil-a keeps it simple with this salad, presumably to keep costs and calories down. But this basic kale salad recipe makes a good base for add-ins. I've listed some great options below to try.
- Dried fruits - The original Chick-fil-a superfood side salad included dried sour cherries. They are also great in this copycat kale crunch salad. Dried cranberries and blueberries are also yummy options.
- Diced apples - Another tasty fruit option is diced apples. I like to use honey crisp apples in this salad.
- Grains - adding cooked grains like quinoa, barley, or farro is a great way to make this salad hearty enough for a main course salad.
- Meat - For a meat option, try adding rotisserie chicken or other leftover chicken to this salad. Baked salmon is another great option.
- Nuts and Seeds - Walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are all tasty additions to this kale salad.
- Cheese - Shaved parmesan goes great on top of this salad to add a little saltiness. Goat cheese is a good choice for a creamy texture.
Recipe Tips and FAQs
The great thing about kale salads if they can usually be made ahead, in fact this salad is best if you make it 30 minutes to an hour before eating. This gives the dressing time to work it's magic and soften the kale. If you plan to make it more than one hour in advance, leave the almonds off until ready to serve so they keep their crunch.
This crunchy kale salad can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
If you're not using pre-roasted almonds, toast them in a 350 degree oven for around 8-10 minutes. Or you can toast them in a dry pan over medium heat for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will enhance the flavor and crunchiness.
At the Chick-fil-a the kale crunch salad is listed at 120 calories, so it's a good substitution for the 420 calorie waffle fries in your combo meal if you’re watching your calorie intake. This homemade kale crunch salad is a much larger portion than you get at the restaurant and comes in at 300 calories.
The short answer is, it depends. Traditionally dijon mustard contains white wine, which sometimes use animal based fining agents to filter the wine. This has evolved over the years and many popular brands such as Grey Poupon and Maille have vegan friendly ingredients.
More salad recipes
- Fall Apple Walnut Salad with Cider Vinaigrette
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
- Kale and Farro Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
- Quinoa Greek Salad
- Farmer's Market Salad with Avocado Herb Dressing
- Grilled Balsamic Steak Salad
Maple Vinaigrette Dressing
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 3 cups kale, chopped
- 1½ cups green cabbage, chopped
- ½ cup roasted almonds, chopped
- Add all of the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine,
- Combine the kale, cabbage, and almonds in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the vinaigrette dressing and toss to combine. Then serve immediately or refrigerate for one hour to allow the kale and cabbage to soften.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.