This kale apple slaw combines traditional slaw ingredients with sweet apples and greens for a healthy salad perfect as a side dish for BBQs, picnics and summer main meals. Easy to make, this flavourful slaw with a honey ginger dressing is vegetarian, gluten free and low histamine.
With the weather finally brightening up, my thoughts are turning to summer sunshine and that means family BBQs and picnics. And with our main dishes, a good salad is a must! If you fancy some other slaw recipes, then you may like to see my broccolini slaw and tropical mango slaw - both healthy and delicious!
This kale slaw with apples is bright and fresh, with the traditional red and white cabbage and carrot, but with the fun additions of leafy greens and sweet apple. It's a crowd-pleaser that's very easy to make and works well with so many main dishes.
Why this recipe is so good
Fresh and flavourful. The combination of the sweet apple with the honey ginger dressing is so good!
Kale slaw without mayo. For those who aren't keen on mayo or just like to change things up, this recipe uses an olive oil-based dressing making it a little healthier but still very flavourful.
Versatile. Works perfectly with your BBQ mains, whether meat, fish or plant-based dishes.
Alongside traditional slaw ingredients, there are a few additions to this recipe:
- Kale - there are many types of kale, but I would suggest that curly kale works well - just don't forget to give it a massage as described below!
- Apple - you can either go for a red apple or a variety such as Braeburn apples for a sweeter taste, or for green apples if you prefer a sharper flavour.
- Ginger - this is the 'big' flavour of the dressing, so use fresh ginger root and adjust the amount to preference. Don't forget to remove the tough skin first!
Variations on the recipe
Adjust the amount of garlic and ginger. These are the 'big' flavours of the dressing, and are quite punchy! But if you like even more spice and heat, then add a little more!
Adjust the kale to cabbage ratio. I like my slaw with lots of greens, but if you prefer a little less then simply swap out for more white and red cabbage.
Swap apple for pear. If you're out of apple, then ripe juicy pear would work so well too.
Step by step instructions
Just a few steps to make this apple slaw recipe, with a little prep for the kale and then all you do is combine everything together.
Add all the ingredients for the dressing to a bowl, and stir or whisk to combine (image 1). Give it a taste and adjust to preference. Add more ginger for extra spice!
Remove any of the tough fibrous stalks from the kale. You can either slice off or just tear off - whichever is easier! (image 2)
Add the shredded kale to a bowl with oil and vinegar. Then give it a good massage so that it softens and wilts down (image 3). See below for how to prepare the kale.
Steps 4 & 5
Add all the ingredients to a bowl, including the dressing. Toss well to combine (images 4 & 5).
How to prepare kale for slaws and salads
Kale is a flavourful and very healthy way to get your greens, but requires a little bit of preparation. Don't worry it's not tricky and doesn't take too long either! Just two steps:
- Trim the kale. The first step is to remove any tough stems from the kale. You can either use scissors or just tear them off (I do the latter). Go through your bag of kale, or bunch, and separate the more tender leafy green from the stems. The stems are too tough to eat and don't taste good!
- Massage the kale. My mum still laughs when I talk about massaging kale but it is a vital step and makes it taste so much better. Add the kale leaves to a bowl and use oil and either vinegar or lemon juice to massage. Simply rub the kale between your fingers for a few minutes. It will soften and becomes much more tender. Definitely nicer in your slaws and salads than tough leaves!
Frequently asked questions
Varieties such as curly kale and lacinato kale work well in slaws and salads. Lacinato is more tender than curly kale if that's your preference.
Massaging kale helps it become more tender, and so easier to digest. If kale isn't massaged it can also taste more bitter. It only takes a few minutes to massage it with oil and vinegar (or lemon juice) to wilt and soften.
Red apples or varieties such as Braeburn have a sweeter flavour, while green apples have a sharper and slightly sour taste. So choose the variety you prefer!
Large bowl - to massage the kale in and combine the ingredients.
Box grater - to grate the carrot.
Sharp knife - to dice the cabbage and apple.
More slaw and salad recipes
Find lots of fresh and flavourful ideas on my salads page. Some reader favourite recipes to try out:
Kale apple slaw
- Sharp knife
For the honey ginger dressing
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon honey runny, liquid honey
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 garlic clove minced or finely diced
- 2 cm ginger root grated or finely diced
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper
- Make the honey ginger dressing by combining all the ingredients and stirring well. Taste test and adjust with more vinegar or ginger to preference.
- Remove all the hard stalks from the kale, and shred. Add to a bowl and drizzle on the oil and vinegar. Massage the kale for a few minutes until it has wilted down.
- Add all the ingredients to a bowl and drizzle on the dressing. Toss to combine so the vegetables and apple are coated in the dressing.
- Adjust the amount of ginger in the dressing to taste preference.
- Shred the cabbage and kale fairly finely.
- Don't skip the steps of trimming and massaging the kale! It makes a huge difference and transforms your greens from bitter and tough to soft and flavourful.
- kale isn't rated on the SIGHI list.
- ginger scores 1. There is a note stating that 'small amounts are well tolerated'.
- red cabbage has a ? as a liberator. Use all white cabbage if you prefer.
- apple cider vinegar scores 1.
- garlic scores 1.
- black pepper scores 2.