Learn the secret behind making the Chick-Fil-A Kale Salad at home! This copycat recipe for the restaurant's Kale Crunch Salad is packed with nutritious kale and cabbage and topped with crunchy roasted almonds and a tangy apple cider dijon mustard vinaigrette. It's easy to make and the perfect combination of nutritious and delicious!
If you've been reading here for some time, you likely know that I have a love affair with kale. And if you just happened to land here because you're looking for a copycat recipe for Chick-Fil-A's kale salad, hi! I love kale and I love this salad and I'm so thrilled you're here.
It makes me so happy when mainstream restaurants add kale items to their menus. And believe it or not, Chick-Fil-A actually has two. The one I'm sharing here is the Kale Crunch side salad because I think it's the easiest and most versatile salad.
❓ What's in the other Chick-Fil-A kale salad?
In addition to the Kale Crunch, Chick-Fil-A also makes a Superfood Side salad that consists of a kale and broccolini blend, dried sour cherries, roasted nuts, and a maple vinaigrette dressing. It is also quite delicious, though I'm partial to the Kale Crunch.
Let me know if you want me to share a recipe for the Superfood Salad, too!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
If you've had and loved Chick Fil-A's kale salad, you're going to love this make-at-home copycat recipe because it tastes just like it.
If you've never tried the restaurant's salad, but you love kale, you'll be obsessed with the flavors and textures in this salad. And you'll love that it can go with so many entrees and takes just minutes to make.
And if you don't like kale, mayyybe give this salad a try anyway? Oftentimes, I find that if someone doesn't like kale, it's because they haven't had it prepared well. And I promise it's prepared really well here!
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you only need a few simple ingredients to make it. But somehow the ingredients work together so well that they create an absolutely outstanding salad!
Here's everything you need (be sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions):
- Curly kale: roughly chopped into bite-sized pieces with ribs removed
- Shredded green cabbage
- Roasted and salted almonds: I like using whole almonds that are chopped, but you can also use slivered almonds if you prefer
- Apple cider and dijon mustard vinaigrette: I highly recommend making your own dressing with the recipe I share in this post
Apple Cider and Dijon Mustard Dressing ingredients:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Lemon juice
- Maple syrup
- White wine vinegar
- Salt & pepper
How to make Apple cider and dijon mustard vinaigrette
I recommend making the homemade dressing before you do anything else. You can even make it a day or two in advance. You'll need it right away when you start assembling the salad.
Making the dressing couldn't be any easier... Just add all the ingredients to a mason jar and give them a good shake to combine.
If you don't have a jar, you can put all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Be sure to store in the fridge in an airtight container until you're ready to use it.
🥗 How to make a Chick-Fil-A kale salad
This kale salad is so easy to make and it starts with a big bowl of kale!
A lot of people may not enjoy kale because it can be a little tough and chewy. And that's exactly why we massage the kale in this Chick-Fil-A salad.
Start by putting the chopped kale in a large bowl.
Drizzle 2 Tbsp of the dressing over it. And then using your hands, gently massage the dressing into the fresh kale for a couple minutes.
You may feel a little odd doing this, but it's also strangely therapeutic. And you'll immediately begin to see what a difference it makes to the kale. Massaging it tenderizes it and makes it much more pleasant to chew.
Now, add the shredded green cabbage to the bowl with the massaged kale.
And toss everything together to combine.
Of course, you can use more green cabbage if you want. I tried to keep the ratios similar to the Chick-Fil-A salad, but the beauty of making this at home is that you can suit it to your own tastes!
Now, divide the kale and cabbage mixture between two small bowls and top them with chopped almonds.
Drizzle additional dressing over each salad.
I can't get over the fact that this Chick-Fil-A kale salad is such a simple recipe, but so full of flavor. The slightly bitter kale pairs perfectly with the sweet and peppery green cabbage, the tangy vinaigrette, and salty crunch of the almonds.
Chick-Fil-A serves this salad as a side and while it does go well with so many different entrees, it can also be enjoyed as an entree, especially if you add some protein.
Of course, you can also add more vegetables and any other ingredients you want. More on this below...
🎉 Variations to recipe
I kept this recipe simple in order to stick as close to Chick-Fil-A's version as I could. But now that you know the basic recipe, you can easily customize it to your own tastes. Here are some ideas of some delicious alterations and add-ins for this recipe:
- If you don't like kale, you can make this salad with baby kale (generally more tender than curly kale), spinach, or mixed greens. You won't need to massage them and can save the dressing for drizzling over the salad. But I also recommend trying the kale!
- If you can't find or don't like green cabbage, you can sub red cabbage, Napa cabbage, or savoy cabbage. If you're just now a cabbage fan, you can try broccoli slaw or shredded brussels sprouts. Or you can leave it out completely.
- In addition to almonds, you can use whatever nuts you have on hand or that you enjoy. I especially like pistachios, walnuts, or pecans. I do recommend getting roasted and salted nuts. You can also try adding seeds, like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
- You can feel free to use the dressing of your choice for the salad, though I do think a vinaigrette works best.
- Add protein to make this salad more of a meal. Roasted chicken breast, salmon, steak, and shrimp all make great toppings. Chickpeas would also be perfect for some added protein.
- Add grains like quinoa, farro, or wild rice to make the salad a more complete vegetarian meal.
- You can add any additional vegetables to the salad. Bell peppers, shredded carrots, baby broccoli, and sliced radish would all work well. You can also try fresh fruits, like sliced granny smith apple or orange wedges. Dried cherries and cranberries would also be tasty. If you like extra zing, add lemon zest, too.
- Add cheese if you love it. I put cheese on everything, but I actually don't think this kale salad even needs it. However, if you've gotta have some cheese, I think feta or goat cheese make the best addition. Parmesan cheese and gorgonzola would also be good options.
Comment on this post and let me to know you like to customize the Chick-Fil-A kale salad when you make it at home!
⏲️ How to store
This salad can be kept fresh in an airtight container in your fridge for 2-3 days.
I do recommend adding the nuts and additional dressing right before serving if possible. The nuts just may not be as crunchy if stored with the massaged kale.
🧆 What to serve with
It would almost be easier to list all the things this Chick-Fil-A kale salad doesn't go with. But in addition to deliciously breaded chicken, here are some of my favorite entrees to serve this with:
🥬 More kale salad recipes
And if you're as obsessed with all things kale as I am, you might want to try some of my other kale salad recipes after you're done with this one:
This Overnight Kale Salad also looks absolutely delicious.
If you love the Chick-Fil-A kale salad, I hope you'll try making this copycat version at home! It tastes just like the real thing and is equal parts nutritious and delicious.
Are you a fan of kale? Are there any other copycat Chick-Fil-A recipes you'd like to have?
Chick-Fil-A Kale Salad
- Apple Cider and Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)
- 4 cups curly kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup shredded green cabbage
- ¼ cup roughly chopped roasted and salted almonds
Apple Cider and Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle 2 Tbsp dressing over it. Using your hands, gently massage dressing into the kale for a couple minutes to tenderize kale.
- Add green cabbage to kale and toss to combine.
- Divide kale and cabbage mixture between two bowls and top with chopped almonds. Drizzle additional dressing over each salad.
Apple Cider and Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
- Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake well to combine. If you don't have a mason jar, you can put everything in a medium bowl and whisk together to combine.
- Keep dressing in fridge until ready to use.