Cranberry Kale Salad with Candied Pecans and Feta

This Cranberry Kale Salad with Candied Pecans and Feta is crazy delicious!

Tender massaged kale is topped with broccoli, cranberries, feta, candied pecans, and quinoa are tossed in a super simple vinaigrette for a healthy vegetarian salad that will totally rock your plate.

Cranberry Kale Salad with Candied Pecans and Feta

Sometimes you just need a big green superfood salad in your face.

Especially when the holiday season is about to hit and you have a cute party dress that needs to fit less like a sausage casing and more like a glove. Yes I’m 110% talking from experience here. It’s only October already have several shindigs scheduled this year PLUS our annual USMC Birthday Ball and ohmygosh guys, I need to get my act together!

We’ll still be partaking in our regularly scheduled cheesiness all season long but mama needs some salad in her face too! #balance

Anyways! Back to the salad! It’s super duper healthy but thanks to a kiss of sweetness from the cranberries and pecans, it’s still totally fun and beyond flavorful! My goal is to make salads that people actually want to eat. Love to eat. Need to eat.

I absolutely positively want/love/need this salad.

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Quinoa

Cranberry Kale Salad

We’re all about this cranberry kale salad right now!

Yes you can sub spinach for kale. Or spring mix. Or arugula. Or a combination of all three (YUM!) But it won’t KALE ya to try something new!

The tender massaged kale in this recipe is enough to totally change your mind about this leafy green veggie.

Cranberry Kale Salad with Candied Pecans and Feta
5 from 2 votes

Cranberry Kale Salad with Candied Pecans and Feta

This Cranberry Kale Salad with Candied Pecans and Feta is the perfect Fall salad! Tender kale, tart cranberries, creamy feta, and nutty quinoa are tossed in a super simple vinaigrette and topped with buttery homemade candied pecans.

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Cranbery Kale Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 467 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin – Peas and Crayons


  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 bunch of kale
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli optional but awesome
  • 1/3-1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese


  • 3-4 TBSP light or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice or try lime juice!
  • 1-2 tsp white wine vinegar to taste
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp pepper


  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • the teeniest pinch of salt


  1. First rinse and drain your quinoa using a mesh strainer or sieve .
  2. Bring a medium saucepan to medium heat and lightly toast the quinoa to remove any excess water. Stir as it toasts for just a few minutes. This step is optional but really adds to the nuttiness and fluff factor of the quinoa!
  3. Next add your water, set burner to high, and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, for 12-13 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy and the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. While the quinoa cooks, chop and prep the remaining ingredients and whisk together your dressing ingredients.
  6. Remove kale leaves from the stem.
  7. Wash and dry the leaves, then chop into bite sized pieces
  8. Next gently massage the kale with a drizzle of olive oil. This makes the leaves extra tender and silky, and also makes key nutrients even easier to absorb. Woot!
  9. For the super simple vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Feel free to sweeten if desired with honey or maple syrup. Let your tastebuds be your guide! I went the vinaigrette route and only needed a kiss of dressing on my salad.
  10. Snag your now-fluffy quinoa from the pot and give it a little fluff with a fork.
  11. For a chilled salad, you can pop the quinoa in the fridge for a few minutes prior to adding your veggies or simply let it cool on the countertop for a few minutes for a room temperature quinoa bowl. Totally up to you!
  12. In a large bowl, toss together, kale, quinoa, and broccoli, then top with crumbled feta.
  13. Toss lightly with a drizzle of dressing just before serving, leaving the rest to be added as needed.


  1. Heat a skillet or saucepan to medium heat and butter to melt.
  2. Next add in your pecans, brown sugar, and the teeniest bit of salt.
  3. Saute for 5-6 minutes and pour over parchment paper, using a spatula to separate the nuts. Otherwise you’ll have yummy pecan brittle that you’ll want to break apart over your salad, which is no big deal either! Yum! Allow to cool for several minutes until the coating hardens and your pecans have officially been candied! Woot!
  4. Try not to eat them all before they hit the salad. I’m oh so guilty of this! They can also be made in advance if you have a bit more self control than I do.

Recipe Notes

Kale keeps REALLY well in the fridge, so feel free to prep, wash, and dry the entire bunch. Then just save whatever you’re not using for later. See post below for a few kale-tastic recipes!

Recipe yields 4 servings or 2 meal-sized portions.

Nutrition Facts below are estimated using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Cranberry Kale Salad with Candied Pecans and Feta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 467 Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Fat 35g54%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 19mg6%
Sodium 229mg10%
Potassium 328mg9%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 14g16%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 1008IU20%
Vitamin C 32mg39%
Calcium 115mg12%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This is the kind of salad you can load up with all your seasonal favorites! Since I’m serving this up as cold weather fare, I highly suggest beelining for anything from beets to apples to orange segments as tasty additions to this healthy salad.

Cranberry Kale Quinoa Salad with Candied Pecans and Feta

kale yeah! awesome kale recipes to try next:

For this cranberry kale salad recipe, I decided to use a half bunch of kale. To feed a crowd, feel free to use the whole bunch and double the recipe. (You can even triple it if needed for holiday hosting)

If you’e using just half the kale like I did, here are some ideas for what to make for your remaining kale:

I’m pretty sure my remaining kale is destined for a crispy plate of kale chips. Homemade kale chips are amazing! Especially when you use my trick to get them super duper light and crispy (no dehydrator needed!)

hungry for more?

If you get a chance to try this Cranberry Kale Salad, let me know!

You can leave me a comment here (LOVE checking those daily!) or tag @PEASandCRAYONS on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creations. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

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Recipe Rating


  • Hanna

    5 stars
    Delicious and healthy Salad !!
    Great salad recipe, i’d been doing this kale salad for more than a year and every time i prepared it, my guests liked it a lot.
    Thank you !
    I’ll check your other recipes

    • I’m so glad it’s been a hit for you Hanna – thank you so much!

  • Shelley

    5 stars
    Trying this tonight!!! It sounds yummy…

  • s

    when do i use the unsalted butter?? and what are my dressing ingredients???

    • You’ll add the butter in step 1 under “CANDIED PECANS” and for the dressing, I’ll edit the recipe to make the ingredients more prominent, good cal!

      For the dressing:

      1/4 cup light or extra virgin olive oil
      2 TBSP fresh lemon juice (or try lime juice!)
      1-2 tsp white wine vinegar, to taste
      1/8-1/4 tsp salt
      1/8-1/4 tsp pepper

  • Yum-oh! Looks so delicious and healthy. I love putting cranberries on my salads, adds so much flavor.

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