This kale slaw with apple is a fresh and zingy side dish recipe! It’s tossed with a maple apple cider vinegar dressing and toasted almonds…

Kale Slaw

If you’re in the market for a simple side dish that makes eating vegetables delicious, here’s one for your back pocket: kale slaw with apples! This colorful mix of fresh veggies is simple to put together and tastes refreshingly sweet tart. It stars hearty kale, crisp apples, sweet carrot, and a zingy maple apple cider vinegar dressing. Toss the entire mixture with sliced toasted almonds to make it sing! This side dish is perfect for any meal in any season, from Thanksgiving to summer cookouts.

What you need for kale slaw

This kale slaw recipe has a short ingredient list and comes together quickly. The most time-consuming part is prepping the vegetables! Otherwise you’ll mix together a quick vinaigrette and toss it together with the veggies. Here’s what you’ll need (or jump to the recipe):

  1. Fresh ingredients: Curly kale, red cabbage, carrot, crisp tart apple
  2. Pantry ingredients: Olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard
  3. Extra ingredients: Sliced almonds (optional)

You can also dress up this kale slaw any way you like. Use different nuts like pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts, or add dried cranberries or pomegranate arils.

Use curly kale, but Tuscan works

There are two main types of kale: curly kale and Tuscan kale (aka Lacinato or dinosaur). For most of our kale recipes, like a kale salad or even sauteed kale, we prefer Tuscan kale. This dark green Italian variety of kale has a milder flavor than curly kale, which can be very spicy. However, in this kale slaw recipe we’ve used the curly variety. Its bright green color and fluffy texture work well in a slaw, and it’s balanced by the tangy dressing. You can use either here, but we like curly! Here’s the difference:

  • Curly kale is brighter green and very curly. The flavor is bitter and spicy, and in its raw form it should be balanced with strong flavors.
  • Tuscan kale, aka Lacinato or dinosaur kale, has dark green, flat leaves and a mildly bitter flavor. It’s common in Italian dishes like this Tuscan White Bean Soup or Kale Soup.

Avoid using baby kale for a slaw. Baby kale is kale that’s harvested before it’s mature and sold in boxes in grocery stores and farmer’s markets. It’s much more tender, with a texture more like spinach, and doesn’t work in a slaw.

A few tips on cutting matchsticks

This kale slaw calls for an apple cut into matchsticks, which can be tricky at first if you’ve never done it before! The graphic below shows how to quickly slice an apple, then you’ll need to stack the slices and thinly slice sticks. Here’s what to do:

  • Set the apple upright and cut off each of the four sides around the core.
  • Place each slide on its flat edge and slice into thin slices.
  • Place several slices together on their side and slice into thin sticks.

Kale Slaw-2

Ways to serve kale slaw

This kale slaw recipe works with many different types of main dishes and in different seasons, making it ultra versatile. Here are a few ways to serve it:

  1. Side for chicken like Baked Chicken Thighs, Grilled Chicken Thighs, Chicken Enchiladas, Grilled Chicken, Pesto Chicken or Rotisserie Chicken
  2. Side for seafood like Baked Halibut, Pan Seared Salmon, Honey Glazed Salmon, Garlic Butter Salmon, or Easy Salmon Recipes
  3. Side for vegan or vegetarian dishes like Stuffed Butternut Squash, Sun Dried Tomato Pasta, Vegetarian Chili, Eggplant Lasagna, Crispy Tofu or Lentil Soup
  4. Thanksgiving side dish
  5. Summer picnic, pitch-in or barbecue side dish

Storage and make ahead info

This kale apple slaw recipe stores up to 4 days refrigerated. The robust texture of the curly kale holds up well over time. The only thing you’ll want to be wary of is the almonds, if you’re using them. The almonds grow soggy over time if refrigerated.

To keep crunchy almonds, store them in a separate container at room temperature. Add the almonds directly before serving.

This kale slaw recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free…


Kale Slaw Recipe

This kale slaw with apple is a fresh and zingy side dish recipe! It’s tossed with a maple apple cider vinegar dressing and toasted almonds...
Servings 1 Yield: 1x
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes



  • 6 cups chopped curly kale
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 large carrot shredded
  • 1 crisp tart apple thinly sliced and chopped into matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup honey or sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds optional


  • 12 cup chopped curly kale
  • 4 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 2 large carrot shredded
  • 2 crisp tart apple thinly sliced and chopped into matchsticks
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon maple syrup honey or sugar
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup sliced almonds optional


  • 18 cup chopped curly kale
  • 6 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 3 large carrot shredded
  • 3 crisp tart apple thinly sliced and chopped into matchsticks
  • 6 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 ½ tablespoon maple syrup honey or sugar
  • 3 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds optional


  • Chop the kale, red cabbage, carrot, and apple as noted above. Place them in a large bowl.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and kosher salt. Pour the dressing onto the vegetables and toss to combine.
  • If desired, toast the almonds and toss them into the slaw just before serving. Stores up to 4 days refrigerated. (For crunchy almonds, store them in a separate container at room temperature and add directly before serving).
Author: Kit Food
Course: Recipes, Side Dishes & Salad Recipes

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