Kale Apple Slaw with Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing

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Easy Kale Apple Slaw with creamy honey mustard dressing will become your new obsession. It takes minutes to make this copycat of Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s tasty salad.

Kale apple slaw in bowl with apples in the background

We loved the tangy, fresh taste of Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s Kale and Apple Salad so much that we created a copycat version. Now, we too can serve it alongside our favorite sandwich…or even inside a sandwich…anytime we want!

The flavor is amazing and addictive and uses just a few simple ingredients that I almost always have on hand.

To round out the meal, we whip up a Simple Strawberry Smoothie with Yogurt (another copycat from the same place) and sit back enjoy a fake-out, take-out dinner without driving anywhere!

How to Prep Kale for Kale Apple Slaw

Kale takes center stage in this recipe! Young and tender leaves are best, such as baby kale. We used curly kale because it presents so well in this recipe and doesn’t require tenderizing first either. See Massaged Kale Salad – The Secret to Tender Leaves if you happen to use a heartier variety of kale or want to take the extra step to marinate the leaves.

To prepare the kale, remove and discard woody stems and then chop or tear the leaves as small as you possibly can to achieve a slaw-like appearance.

Tip: Use kitchen shears to quickly “snip” torn kale leaves into even smaller pieces. Simply place the torn kale into a bowl and then snip away.

Kale being chopped with scissors

Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing for Kale and Apple Salad

The dressing for Kale Apple Slaw starts with the Honey Mustard Sauce used in our Alice Springs Chicken Recipe. The ingredients in the dressing are:

  • Mayonnaise – any type that you have in the refrigerator or see notes on substituting below.
  • Honey – use agave nectar for a vegan version
  • Dijon mustard – not yellow mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar – to thin the dressing plus it helps soften the kale leaves.
  • Celery seed – gives the dressing a coleslaw twist.

Whisk all the ingredients together or add them to a small jar with a lid and shake to combine.

Note: A salad oil, like Canola oil or a mild tasting olive oil, may be substituted for the mayonnaise for a less creamy, but still very tasty, dressing.

Easy Kale Apple Slaw mounded in bowl with apples next to it

Putting Kale Apple Slaw Together

In addition to kale and salad dressing, you’ll need to prep apples and carrots for this salad.

Note: Any type of apple will work, including green. We used a sweet Ambrosia apple. (We are big fans of this apple which really has staying power and doesn’t quickly brown in dishes like this.)

For a consistent appearance, dice the apples and carrots into small pieces too! Or, julienne them for a different look altogether.

To assemble the salad, just toss all of the ingredients in a large bowl and it’s ready to serve.

Variations: Top with slivered almonds, use dried cranberries or raisins instead of apples.

Kale Apple Slaw in bowl with apples fanned on top

To make this recipe ahead of time, prepare kale, carrots, and dressing and store separately until ready to enjoy.

Some types of apples can be prepped and stored overnight as well. If you’re not sure that the apples will keep, lightly toss them in a lemon juice. It will not detract from the final dish.

Kale and Apple Salad in small bowl with large bowl behind it

Since kale is naturally hearty, it will hold up well if you have leftovers! Add it to fish tacos or top Carolina Style Burgers like these by Sugar Dish Me the next day!

Video: Kale Apple Slaw Recipe

We’ve recapped the entire recipe in this video:

Please rate this recipe and tag @DinnerMom or #DinnerMom on social media. We love to see what you are cooking up!

Kale Apple Slaw in bowl with apples fanned on top
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5 from 3 votes

Kale Apple Slaw with Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing

Easy Kale Apple Slaw like you find at Tropical Smoothie Cafe takes minutes to make and you never have to leave the house! 
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 141kcal


Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed


  • 6 cups curly kale about 2 bunches; stems removed; leaves chopped or torn into small pieces
  • 2 apples diced
  • 2 cups carrots sliced


Honey Mustard Dressing

  • Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid. Shake to thoroughly combine.


  • Toss kale, apples, carrots and honey mustard dressing in a large serving bowl. 
  • Sprinkle almonds over the top of the salad.


Calories: 141kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 114mg | Potassium: 530mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 13855IU | Vitamin C: 85.7mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 1.2mg
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  1. I love this dressing recipe!

  2. Renee Goerger says

    This is a perfect winter salad! The dressing is the perfect compliment for the hearty kale!

  3. Tried this for the first time today but since we try not to add any type of sugar to recipes, I substituted 1/2 apple to it in the Vitamix then juiced the rest of the apple and added to thin it out.

  4. Marlene Gunderson says

    Haven’t made this yet. Excited to make it. Was wondering if the Tropical Cafe’s slaw has horseradish in the dressing?

  5. Absolutely delicious! I substituted white wine vinegar for the apple cider vinegar (because I’m a big dummy and forgot to buy some last time I shopped) and even with the substitution, it was amazing! Thank you so much for posting the recipe. I’m sure it’ll be a part of our regular rotation.

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