Apple-Chickpea Kale Salad with Orange-Mustard-Dill Dressing

A kale salad with a range of tastes, textures, and temperatures.
A kale salad with a range of tastes, textures, and temperatures.

This salad is sure to bowl you over.

Not only does it give you another way to enjoy kale, but it’s loaded with varied textures and even temperatures. And, yes, it’s served in a bowl.

This versatile recipe comes from the clever cookbook, “Smorgasbowl” (Radicle Publishing), of which I received a review copy, that celebrates healthful recipes that can be served in bowls.

It’s by Austin-based Caryn Carruthers, the founder of the blog,, who not only created all the recipes in this book, but also the photos and design.

A few years ago, she went grain-free. As such, the recipes in this book contain little grain, dairy or sugar. But as she notes, those who don’t have to adhere to such restrictions, can easily add some yogurt, rice, pita or other bread to round out the dishes. Moreover, because these are bowl meals, they can easily be individualized to suit every person at the table.

These bowls are ample, too, such as the “Egg Roll Bowl with Chili Garlic Oil,” which features 2 pounds of ground pork for four servings. The “Spiced Cauliflower with Beans, Slaw and Vegan Ranch” gives an all-plant-based spin on everyone’s favorite dressing by blending raw cashews with water, garlic and herbs. “Millet and Roasted Veggie Bowl with Anchovy-Walnut Dressing” has all the heartiness of a grain bowl, but one that’s gluten-free.

This particular kale salad features raw leaves, cut thinly, then massaged with olive oil and sea salt until softened. Raw apples and raw red onion slices get tossed in next, adding crunch and brightness.

Meantime, diced zucchini and onions are softened in a saute pan, then mixed with canned garbanzo beans until everything is warmed through.

This hot mixture is then spooned atop the raw one, providing a contrast in temperatures, as well as textures with both soft and tender, and crisp and snappy.

Tender sauteed zucchini, assertive red onions, nutty garbanzos, and crunchy raw apples mingle with massaged kale.
Tender sauteed zucchini, assertive red onions, nutty garbanzos, and crunchy raw apples mingle with massaged kale.

A simple dressing of orange juice, lemon juice, mustard, dill and olive oil gets spooned over it all. The recipe didn’t include salt and pepper in the dressing, but I added it, because I think it benefited from just a pinch of each. If you end up with leftover dressing as I did, just store in the fridge, and use to dress other salads or even grilled seafood.

This salad is substantial enough to be a satisfying meal in and of itself. But it would also make an ideal side dish to pork chops, roasted pork loin, grilled chicken, roast chicken, or grilled shrimp.

If you have leftovers, just know that even without the variation in temperatures any more, this salad is might fine tasting the next day straight out of the fridge.

Perfect as a meal unto by itself -- or as a side dish.
Perfect as a meal unto by itself — or as a side dish.

Apple-Chickpea Kale Salad with Orange-Mustard-Dill Dressing

(Makes 4 bowls)

For salad:

2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil

2 small zucchini, diced

1/2 small yellow onion, diced

1 (15- to 16-ounce) can of chickpeas, strained and rinsed

1 bunch Tuscan kale, large stems removed and chopped fine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 medium Honeycrisp or similar apple, diced

1/2 small red onion, sliced thin

For dressing:

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons mustard

1 teaspoon dried dill

Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter or cooking oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat until hot, then add the zucchini and onions. Cook zucchini and onions in the pan, stirring with a spatula, until zucchini and onions are softer and lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

Add strained and rinsed chickpeas to the pan with the zucchini and onions and saute over medium-high heat until chickpeas are heated through, about 2 minutes. Once done, remove from heat and set aside.

Massage the kale in a large bowl by first coating the kale in olive oil, sprinkling with sea salt, and then squeezing the kale firmly in your hands until all of the kale has lost some water and wilted considerably. Add the apples and red onion into the bowl with the kale and toss together.

Make the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a small glass jar with a lid and shaking until well combined.

To serve, arrange equal portions of kale salad and warm zucchini, onions and chickpeas in bowls. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!

Adapted from “Smorgasbowl” by Caryn Carruthers

More Bowl-Food Fun: Creamy Corn Bucatini (or Spaghetti) Bowl

And: Nordic Nicoise

And: Broiled Sesame Salmon Bibimbap

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  • Both the salad and the dressing look stellar. We’re entering into the time of year when we have at least 2, usually 3 or more, main course salads for dinner. This would be perfect for us — SO good. Thanks!

  • Hi John: We’re supposed to have a mini heatwave over the next two days, so I am totally down with your idea for salad and more salad for dinner. Enjoy!

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