Kale and Fall Fruit Salad with Cider Poppy Seed Dressing

Drizzling cider poppy seed dressing on a kale and fall fruit salad

Kale and Fall Fruit Salad with Cider Poppy Seed Dressing ~ this is the queen of fall salads, with pear, cranberries, figs, pomegranate, and grapes, all tossed in a creamy cider vinaigrette. It’s healthy, hearty, and festive enough for the holidays.

Kale and Fall Fruit Salad in a white bowl on a wooden surface

This salad pays homage to all the beautiful fruits that come into peak season in fall ~ it’s an unabashedly sweet salad, from the natural sugars in the ripe fruit to the honey and cider dressing. Definitely sweeter than I usually go with salads, but nonetheless delicious. I tried to balance all that sweet with the baby kale, cheese, and roasted nuts, but I won’t lie, this is one honey-licious salad.

For this fall fruit salad I used:

  • Black Mission figs
  • Gum Drops® grapes (so sweet they actually taste like candy)
  • dried cranberries
  • pomegranate seeds
  • red currants (past their summer season, but my supermarket had them and I couldn’t resist)

Not sure I love the Gum Drop grapes, they’re literally like eating gummi-bears. I might go with a standard grape next time, there’s a limit to how sweet I like my fruit! You might want to add plums or apples to this lineup as well.

Kale and Fall Fruit Salad drizzled with poppy seed dressing

I chose baby kale for the base of my salad because it’s tender but sturdy ~ you can use baby spinach as well, but avoid delicate lettuces like spring mixes that won’t stand up to the weight of the fruit.

TIP: If you buy triple washed greens in bags or tubs you’ll be ahead of the game, and this salad will come together quickly.

Kale and Fall Fruit Salad with Cider Poppy Seed Dressing and fresh currants

The secret to a creamy dressing like my cider poppy seed dressing is to emulsify the ingredients. Emulsifying is simply blending at a high speed, either by hand or with a blender, so the liquids, which are normally separate, come together into a creamy consistency that doesn’t separate. I use my immersion blender for this and it works great.

What’s the difference between cider and apple juice?

It’s a little fuzzy since there is no legal standard across the board, but generally, apple cider is fresh, raw, unprocessed, and unfiltered apple juice. Apple juice has been filtered and pasteurized for longer shelf life. So true apple cider is cloudy, and apple juice is clear.

TIP: A little bit of mustard helps the emulsion come together, so don’t leave it out.

Cider Poppy Seed Dressing for a Kale and Fall Fruit Salad

The cheese and toasted hazelnuts are an important part of this equation, even though they didn’t make it into the title. The cheese adds a satisfying gravitas to the salad, and the toasted nuts provide the key flavor that lingers on the palate. I used a leftover soft blue and Camembert from my cheese drawer, but you can use pretty much what you like, I recommend something soft and creamy. A creamy goat cheese would also work.

Kale and Fall Fruit Salad with Cider Poppy Seed Dressing on a wooden table

To toast the nuts, put them on a dry baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes in a 350F oven, giving the pan a shake once or twice during cooking. let them cool on the pan, then give them a rough chop. You could substitute walnuts or pecans if you prefer, but I think hazelnuts are the most ‘fallish’ of all the nuts.

Kale and Fall Fruit Salad in a white bowl

Every year I look forward to coming up with new fall salads. Some of my favorites have been this VEGAN ANCIENT GRAIN SALAD and my HARVEST SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE ALLSPICE DRESSING. Both would be great holiday sides. If you love fall figs, my FIG AND FRIED GOAT CHEESE SALAD is a winner.

4.58 from 7 votes

Kale and Fall Fruit Salad with Cider Poppy Seed Dressing

Kale and Fall Fruit Salad with Cider Poppy Seed Dressing ~ this is the queen of fall salads, with pear, cranberries, figs, pomegranate, and grapes, all tossed in a creamy cider vinaigrette.  It's healthy, hearty, and festive enough for the holidays.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Calories 365kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 4 handfuls of baby kale about 4 cups
  • 4 figs quartered
  • 1 ripe pear cored and cut in thin slices (squeeze the cut pear with lemon juice to prevent browning)
  • 1 cup grapes halved
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup red currants optional
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup Camembert or Brie in small wedges or chunks
  • 1/4 cup rough chopped toasted hazelnuts

cider poppy seed dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cider
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • pinch salt
  • black pepper to taste


  • Place the kale in a wide shallow salad bowl.
  • Arrange the fruit, cheese, and nuts over the top.
  • Put all the dressing ingredients in a mason jar or similar sized wide mouth jar and use an immersion blender to blend to a creamy consistency.
  • Drizzle the dressing on the salad just before serving.


Calories: 365kcal
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.



Make it your own ~

  • Cut fat and calories by using shavings of Parmesan, crumbled feta, or fresh mozzarella in place of the fattier cheeses.
  • Conversely, you could go all out and add some crumbled bacon.
  • You can turn this into a Waldorf type fruit salad, just leave out the kale and cheese. Cut the fruit in bite sized chunks, add diced apples, some celery, and toss with a good amount of the dressing.
  • This packs well for lunch, just bring the dressing in a separate container.


Don’t forget to pin this Kale and Fall Fruit Salad!

Kale and Fall Fruit Salad with Cider Poppy Seed Dressing pin.



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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
    September 25, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Love all the flavors going on in this gorgeous salad!

  • Reply
    Denise P
    September 25, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    This salad feeds the eyes before it nourishes the body. The calendar says “Fall” but the temps here in Phoenix are still hot, so I’m on the lookout for fall salads. This one surely fits the bill!

    • Reply
      September 25, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      I love the way you put that, Denise, and believe me, I know where you’re coming from temperature-wise, Los Angeles won’t have a ‘nip’ in the air for months yet :/

  • Reply
    September 25, 2017 at 10:15 am

    That is just about the most beautiful salad ever! All those gorgeous textures and flavours, yum!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2017 at 9:18 am

    This would be perfect for Thanksgiving! Gorgeous!

    • Reply
      September 25, 2017 at 9:24 am

      I agree!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2017 at 8:51 am

    This is a gorgeous salad…I really wish red currants were easier to find. Our market had them one week, then they were gone.

    • Reply
      September 25, 2017 at 8:53 am

      I really cheated by throwing those into the mix, Sandi, they’re hard to find for most people…but I have seen tiny champagne grapes around that would be a nice substitute, you could keep them in tiny clusters just like the currants.

  • Reply
    Suzy | The Mediterranean Dish
    September 25, 2017 at 8:41 am

    You’re right! This is the queen of fall salads! Love it, Sue!

  • Reply
    karen tedesco
    September 25, 2017 at 8:36 am

    wow, this salad is over-the-top beautiful! The combination of fruit, nuts and cheese sound so tasty.

    • Reply
      September 25, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Thanks Karen, I don’t think this salad would be nearly so satisfying without the cheese and nuts, they’re the heroes!

  • Reply
    Kate | Veggie Desserts
    September 25, 2017 at 8:31 am

    What a showstopping salad! It’s a glorious way to transition to autumn.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    September 25, 2017 at 4:17 am

    This is one gorgeous salad Sue! The nuts, fruit, and that cheese – wow! A work of art for sure 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    September 25, 2017 at 3:32 am

    What a fabulous salad! The kale you used is very different from what we have over here…I love the colour and texture of this lovely salad.

    • Reply
      September 25, 2017 at 7:51 am

      Thanks Angie ~ kale is so strange, it looks different every time I buy it!

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