Copycat Chick Fil A Superfood Salad

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Can we just get something out of the way straight out of the gate? I am a notorious kale hater. I’m pretty sure I’ve written multiple times about how I feel like eating kale is like eating weeds out of my flowerbeds. Not that I’ve actually ever eaten weeds, but I imagine that’s what eating weeds is like. Remember back in the 1980s when salads weren’t a whole lot more complicated than some iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing? And kale (and an orange slice) was a garnish at Sizzler that you weren’t supposed to eat but you did anyway and then you cried? Now it’s food? No. I’ve tried. It still makes me cry (on the inside.)

Well, awhile back, Chick-Fil-A added a Superfood Salad to their menu and although it involved kale, I was intrigued. So while I felt kind of dumb ordering the “superfood salad” as a side, I did it and guess who doesn’t always hate kale? Me. In fact, in some cases, I’ve discovered that I rather enjoy it (especially when those cases involve this to-die-for maple-cider vinaigrette.) I made a few tweaks–I can rarely find broccolini (and let’s face it, the Chick-Fil-A salad is a little skimpy on the broccolini, probably because they can rarely find it as well) and when I can, I would have to consider selling a child to finance Operation Broccolini 2016. So I just decided to opt for regular broccoli and will just substitute broccolini if I can ever find it for a price below that which a small European country sells for. I also am not a fan of walnuts, so I used sunflower seeds, and when I had this for dinner the other night, I added a sprinkling of feta to my serving to add a little protein. Also, if you’re not digging (or can’t find) tart dried cherries, dried cranberries will always work. 

Copycat Chick Fil A Superfood Salad from Our Best Bites

To make the dressing, you’re going to need real maple syrup, apple cider vinegar (look for the murky stuff with “the mother,” like Bragg), kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, Creole or mild coarse grain mustard (Walmart’s Great Value brand has a really amazing mustard–it’s just in a squeeze bottle and says “Coarse Mustard.” Go figure…), and extra virgin olive oil (I used our garlic olive oil, and bacon oil would be amazing, too, kind of like Sara’s dressing here; I just had a hard time coming to terms with using 1/2 cup of the precious bacon olive oil all at once.)

chick fil a superfood salad

In the jar of your blender, combine the vinegar, onion, mustard, salt, pepper, and maple syrup. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Set aside.

Now. One of the keys I discovered to not hating kale was to massage it. Just…put the clean kale in a big bowl and grab it with your hands and just scrunch it up until it’s a little less…weedy. It’s kinda weird, I’m not gonna lie, and your husband might walk in and say, “Hey, Kate, what are you doing?” and you’ll just say, “Oh, I’m just massaging this kale,” and he’ll kind of back out of the room like he just walked in on you watching Teen Mom again. But really, it helps break down the toughness and helps it hold onto the dressing a little better.

After you’ve massaged your kale…

chick fil a superfood salad-3

toss it into a large serving bowl. Make sure your broccoli is broken into very small bite-sized pieces…

Copycat Chick Fil A Superfood Salad from Our Best Bites

Then add that to the kale. Add 6 ounces of cherries (or dried cranberries…it’ll be 1 heaping cup of cherries)…

chick fil a superfood salad-4

and 1/3 cup of shelled sunflower seeds. You’re gonna have to use your imagination for that part because I just got so excited that I used up all my sunflower seeds and forgot to take a picture. Drizzle about 3/4 of the dressing onto the salad

Copycat Chick Fil A Superfood Salad from Our Best Bites

and toss to coat evenly. Add more dressing if desired. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Copycat Chick Fil A Superfood Salad from Our Best Bites

Copycat Chick Fil A Superfood Salad

Prep Time 15 min Total Time 15 mins

Fresh broccoli and kale is tossed with tart dried cherries and sunflower seeds and then drizzled in a maple cider vinaigrette to make a quick superfood salad that everyone will love (even if they hate kale!)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar (if you can, use something murky like Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar)
  • 1 green onion, trimmed about 1" on top and the "hairy" root end on the bottom
  • 1 teaspoon Creole or mild coarse grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • A few cracks of fresh black pepper
  • 2/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use our garlic olive oil)
  • 4 cups broccoli broken into small pieces
  • 8-10 cups (about 8 ounces) kale, massaged
  • 6 ounces tart dry cherries or Craisins
  • 1/3 cup salted, shelled sunflower seeds

Instructions

  1. In the jar of your blender, combine the vinegar, onion, mustard, salt, pepper, and maple syrup. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Set aside.
  2. In a very large bowl, combine the broccoli, kale, cherries, and sunflower seeds. Drizzle about 3/4 of the dressing onto the salad and toss to coat evenly. Add more dressing if desired. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

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37 comments

  1. This post was hilarious! I hadn’t been a fan of kale either until I tried the chick-fil-a salad myself. Looking forward to massaging some kale for myself at home-thanks! πŸ˜‰

  2. Thank you! I am really liking the Chick Fil A Super Salad too…and no I don’t like kale either…haha. Thank you for this recipe…I will be making this often and soon.

  3. that salad is so darn good…. I am getting some today! thank you for posting your version!!!!!

  4. Yay! I have been waiting for this. I love their salad but I think it’s a little pricey. The large isn’t very big.

  5. The way you feel about kale is how I feel about quinoa. I KNOW it’s some amazing food that is SO good for me…but I just hate it! I hate the texture. I’ve tried to like it but I just can’t.

  6. I have the same thoughts on Kale… I have tried it cooked completely, cooked crisp, raw, with garlic, with other spices, in smoothies, etc. and I just cannot bring myself to like it… I almost always replace it with spinach. I really want to try the salad, but I cannot get past the kale!!!

  7. Hi there! I am a long time follower, but I don’t think I have ever commented before..until now. This salad is UNBELIEVABLE!!! I am eating it as we speak and I think I could eat the entire bowl! I have never had the original, and don’t think it could be any better than this! Delicious!!! Thank you soo much!!

  8. So….I really don’t like dried fruit like craisins, etc. What are your thoughts about maybe strawberries in this? Or mandarin oranges or something? What fruit would be yummy?!

  9. I’m so excited to try this! I LOVE chik fil A’s kale salad, but I’m not loving the price or the fact that you get like 3 bites per portion.

  10. This salad looks yummyI’m on a mission to get more people to eat kale because I actually love it, so, another salad to try (I do this as single-serve): about 2 cups kale, 1/4 – 1/2 of an avocado, squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper – massage the kale together with the other stuff(yes, it’s messy due to the avo, but good), then add toppings as desired. My favorites are fresh blueberries, garbonzo beans, toasted coconut and pepitas. Black beans work well too. Leftovers don’t, which is the only drawback. = )

  11. You are very funny today. I do ok with baby kale, but the big stuff is a little . . . something. Tough? Chewy? Curly? Creepy? I don’t know, but I just stick with the baby stuff and then we’re all happy. I saw this salad at Chick Fil A, but I haven’t tried it yet. I’ll have to get some baby kale and then try it out. Thanks for a hearty laugh and a recipe that sounds delicious.

  12. I made a similar salad from the Pioneer Woman only she used Dijon mustard and pecans with maple syrup and olive oil. , Apple slices rather than broccoli. I used baby kale with mixed greens and chopped it. Used blue cheese crumbles. Neither of us like kale, but baby kale with a few mixed greens from Trader Joe’s is a different story. My husband grilled the steaks to perfection. When we finished eating, he said for the first time in his life, he thought the Salad was better than the steak! I nearly fainted from shock!

  13. This was totally delicious! I served it when we had four missionaries over for dinner and they had second helpings. My kids weren’t super crazy about it, but vinaigrettes can be a little overpowering for young tastebuds. I had it for lunch today and it was still tasty. Definitely right on that 3/4 of the dressing, though. I poured all of it b/c it only sat in the fridge for an hour before it was served, but the next day the dressing was pretty strong. Thanks for a tasty recipe that made me feel like I was eating healthy!

  14. I quite like the chic-filet salad. After trying it a month ago, as I ate it, I sat and tried to figure out if the kale and broccolinni had been blanched/parboiled and quick cooled. I have decided that it had to have been. I am going to try your salad with first blanching and quick cooling the greens. Hopefully that will lend to a slight bit of tenderness.

  15. I made this 2 hours before a potluck. I tasted it before I went and it tasted amazing. I went ahead and put all of the dressing on it, b/c we had 1/3 more kale than the recipe calls for. By the time we got to the potluck, the kale had totally wilted and looked really unappetizing! I was so sad, only my husband and I ate it; It still tasted good, but in the future, I will put the dressing on right before I serve. I can’t imagine how it would look after 24 hours, as it looked almost like warmed up spinach, it was so wilted.

    1. I think it must depend on the kale–I think very…robust kale holds up better (but is harder to eat), but baby kale can’t handle the dressing the same way. Such a bummer about the potluck!

  16. Great post. The only problem is that you use broccoli and not broccolini which is just a little bit different than broccoli. It has smaller florets and longer thin stalks. It is a little bit sweeter and more tender raw. It has a great flavor. Kroger usually has it available in their raw vegetable section.

  17. I’m addicted to this salad. I buy two large and add an 8 count grilled nugget to it to make a meal. After spending way too much monty for these at the restaurant, I decided to search copycat recipes. We tried one that was basically a dressing mix of ACV/EVOO/maple syrup/salt/pepper and it wasn’t that great. The next one we tried was your version. HELLO, YUM!! You nailed it!! Now I can make a huge bowl to feed the family and not break the bank. THANK YOU!!

  18. This is the closest I’ve tasted to the CFA Superfood dressing! (I didn’t use the mustard, omitted the salt and subbed soy sauce.) Definitely a keeper. Thank you! Well done!

  19. Holy crap this is TASTY!!! I subbed in brown sugar for the maple syrup. I was snarffing down greedy bites as I prepared the rest of dinner. I was not expecting this from a kale salad!!

  20. Massaging Kale w a little salt will help breakdown the toughness of the Kale. Also the longer it marinates the better it gets. If you haven’t tried it you will be surprised of how good it is. Even makes me feel the goodness after i eat it.

  21. I adore CFA ksle salad, but it is $$$! I can’t wait to try this at home! Thanjs so much for sharing!

  22. I haven’t had the salad from CFA, but we had this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I subbed pepitas (little pumpkin seeds) for the sunflower seeds. Yum!

  23. This is an amazing salad! I’d had it at Chick-fil-A and wanted to make it myself. My family LOVES it. My teenage sons devour it! Loved your tip to “massage” the kale. It’s absolutely necessary and many people don’t know about it. Thanks for a great recipe that I make over and over again!

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