Apple Kale Salad & Hemp Parmesan

apple kale salad & hemp parmesan

Kale Salad has become popular beyond everyone’s wildest dreams in the last decade. If you are still skeptical about the trend, you might want to try my favorite take on the dish. This version with toasted seeds and crisp apples has a surprise topping.

I love the fact that this nutritious salad can be thrown together in no time. Well, actually, I should say massaged together. Making a kale salad with the right technique is half the fun and all the success. In Hawaii, we call this culinary method Lomi Lomi. It turns out it’s not just sore muscles that benefit from being kneaded and rubbed.

I like to slice Lacinto kale into 1/2 inch ribbons and cut once crosswise. Then when the dressing is squeezed into the salad, the marinade softens the leaves almost instantly. Because the leaves drink up all the delicious flavors when massaged this way, you can use less oil.

So what makes this salad stand out from other kale salads? It’s the crunchy, toasted sunflower seeds, crisp apple slices, and an addictive vegan parmesan made with hemp hearts.

Hemp is an incredible, nutritious food. Plus there are compelling environmental reasons to grow more worldwide. Really, there isn’t enough space here to do the plant justice. But, I do want to share that hemp hearts, ground with cashews, pumpkin seeds, lemon zest, and savory seasonings makes the most fantastic sprinkle. It’s a condiment you’ll want to dust over all sorts of dishes.

Ready to take a bite of this juicy Kale Salad with sweet apple slices and hemp parmesan? Each delicious forkful gets better and better. The recipe below will even show you how to keep your freshly cut apple slices from turning brown.

apple kale salad & hemp parmesan

Apple Kale Salad & Hemp Parmesan

Superfood kale salad with crisp, sweet apple slices, toasted sunflower seeds and hemp heart parmesan.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Course Salad, Under 30 Minutes
Cuisine Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based, Whole Food
Cooking Skill Beginner
Servings 4
Author poppyswildkitchen


Kale Salad

  • 6 oz. washed kale leaves
  • 1 small green apple
  • 1 small red apple
  • 4 TB sunflower seeds


  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1 TB minced shallot
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Hemp Seed Parmesan

  • 2 TB raw cashews
  • 4 TB pumpkin seeds
  • 2 TB nutritional yeast
  • 4 TB hemp hearts
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt


Kale Salad and Dressing

  • Remove stems and center ribs from kale leaves. Lay in a stack and slice into half inch ribbons. Slice once crosswise. Place in a large bowl.
  • Squeeze half a lemon into a small bowl and add 1/4 cup of water. Slice apples and toss in lemon water. Place apples in a colander to drain and toss out lemon water.
  • Toast sunflower seeds over medium heat while stirring until light brown and fragrant. Set aside.
  • Whisk dressing in bowl that was used to toss apple slices. Pour dressing over sliced kale in large bowl. Using hands, squeeze and massage dressing into kale until leaves soften and are glistening. Add apple slices and toss together. Place in refrigerator while preparing hemp parmesan.

Hemp Parmesan

  • Place cashews, pumpkin seeds and nutritional yeast in a spice mill or small grinder. Pulse until you have a uniform meal. (Don't add hemp seeds yet).
  • Add half the hemp hearts, garlic powder and salt. Grind briefly until mixture has the texture of Parmesan cheese.
  • Stir in remaining hemp seeds and lemon zest.

Assemble Salads

  • Divide kale salad onto four plates and top each with a tablespoon of toasted sunflower seeds and hemp parmesan. Or, keep kale salad in refriderator up to 3 days and season with toasted seeds and parmesan just before serving.


You’ll have extra hemp parmesan with this recipe. You can use it for any dishes that are typically garnished with parmesan cheese.
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