Fuji Apple and Baby Kale Kimchi Salad

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I cannot be thankful enough that we live near a beautifully wooded enclave within the city, just steps away from a gorgeous park and lake shore. We make sure to take advantage of this rare natural gift by engaging in long, enjoyable walks along one of its gardens or to a nearby field. And when we do, I fall in love with all the trees, flowers, and weeds that grow wild in the area. Truly, what sweeter way to take pleasure in our gorgeous surrounds?

Autumn here in Toronto can swing up and down – sometimes nice and sunny, sometimes not. It’s a time when daylight slips away a little earlier than usual, and also the final chance for us to watch nature catch her last breath before snow falls. Isn’t it so pretty over here?

One thing good about October, though, is seeing apples of all kinds crop up in our greenmarkets. Aside from pumpkins, people go apple-crazy over here in autumn. It’s a popular season to hitch a wagon for a hay ride and go apple-picking – a fun activity for the kids before the weather turns arctic on us!

We love honey crisps, royal gala, and fuji apples for eating, so we make sure to pluck bushels of those from the farm to our home. And since apples are a darling to keep, especially when stored in the vegetable drawer of your fridge, we can horde plenty of them. Then comes the decision on what to do with them apples. Make pies? Apple butters? Apple jam? Apple muffins? Apple cookies? Apple bread? So many things…

One of the ways I like to use apples – aside from eating them straight up – is to incorporate them into my salad. I found inspiration in David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook, where he has a very unique Fuji Apple Salad.

This Fuji Apple Salad uses kimchi as its dressing. Genius! You can use pre-made or store-bought kimchi, but if you are feeling industrious, you can go via the hard rewarding way and make your own. The kimchi is, then, puréed into a chunky dressing, where the wedge-cut apples will sit marinating for, ideally, 1 hour but up to a max of 6 hours (any longer and they turn soggy).

I paired the apples with baby kale leaves, but you can also use other baby salad greens like arugula, spinach, chard, etc. David Chang’s recipe called for topping the salad with smoked jowl bacon, so I got some nice pieces of Berkshire pork guanciale from my local butcher. What doesn’t taste good with smoked bacon?

I finished the salad with a sprinkling of Danish blue cheese. Now, you may think that this is counterintuitive. Fermented (kimchi) over fermented (blue cheese)? But for fans, this is a dream! For those who think this combination is an antagonistic reverie, skip the blue cheese altogether.

Warning: this recipe is for adults only. PG required for children because of the spice factor. But before I hand you the recipe, it’s nice to know the health benefits of eating kimchi. Kimchi, is a traditional Korean dish of mainly fermented cabbage and spices. It is chock-full of vitamins A and C, and its fermentation process encourages the growth of probiotics, which aid in balancing the flora of our intestinal tract. Follow me to my salad…

5.0 from 8 reviews
Fuji Apple and Baby Kale Kimchi Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Loosely based on a recipe from Momofuku cookbook by David Chang. Published by Clarkson Potter in 2009.
Recipe Type: Salad
Serves: 4
  • 4 Fuji apples, cored
  • ½ cup cabbage kimchi
  • ½ pounds sliced pork jowl bacon
  • 2 cups baby kale leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • blue cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cut the cored apples into ½-inch wedges. Too thin and the apples will be limp and overpowered by the kimchi; too thick and the kimchi flavour will not penetrate enough.
  2. Place the kimchi in a bowl of a food processor and purée.
  3. Set aside a few tablespoons of kimchi purée to toss the baby kale with at the last minute before serving.
  4. Toss the apples in the remaining kimchi purée and let sit for at least one hour, or up to 6 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Arrange the bacon on a rimmed baking sheet, preferable over a rack, and pop into the oven. Bake until browned and crisp, depending on thickness, about 5 to 10 minutes. If you are preparing the bacon in advance, slightly undercook them up to a couple hours ahead and then reheat them in a 200 F or 300 F oven. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
  6. To serve, toss the baby kale leaves with the reserved kimchi dressing, add them to the apples and place on a plate or bowl.
  7. Drizzle with some olive oil, season with some salt and pepper, then sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese, if using.



  • Reply October 8, 2012

    Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    Beautiful salad! I love your fall pictures with the lovely changing colors, a ramble through the woods sounds just lovely!

  • Reply October 8, 2012


    Very nice combination of flavours from earthy and salty blue to sweet apples, great recipe

  • Adore your creative recipes! This sounds delicious, and the photos are beautiful!

  • Reply October 8, 2012

    Jen @ Savory Simple

    I would never in a million years have thought to use kimchi in salad dressing. What a great idea!

  • Reply October 8, 2012


    Wow I never imagine mixing sweet apples with the spicy kimchi! I’ll have to try this when I remember to buy a pack of kimchi at the grocery. :) Apples are also a staple at home since M loves her apples. Lately, she likes me to make her old “baby food” applesauce which I made when she got sick 2 weeks ago and she got reacquainted with her old favorite.
    You’re so lucky to have a park nearby!

  • What an interesting combination–definitely flavor packed. I can see how it would work, though. Love apples in salads and the the area near your home is like paradise. So pretty!

  • Looks like you have some gorgeous nature near your house! And that salad looks absolutely divine. YUM!

  • Reply October 8, 2012


    Jen this is very creative, I think I would love the flavor combo here. Very beautiful photos too!

  • Reply October 8, 2012


    Your salad looks beautiful but I have to admit that I haven’t tried Kimchi so now I’m very curious to try it as a salad dressing! I have the Momofuku cookbook, it was given to me as a gift but I have to admit to not cracking it open yet, boy, am I out of it;-) Love your ramble through the woods photos-thanks for sharing and have a great week;-)

  • Reply October 8, 2012

    Choc Chip Uru

    The salad has such awesome flavours my friend, I bet they go together beautifully 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Reply October 8, 2012


    Thank you for your delightful parcel of Fall photos so enjoyed! Love the salad also and shall try soonest. Am having a wee laugh: I live semi-rurally in Oz, and kimchi is not necessarily available in the corner shop – I might get ‘adventurous’ and try sauerkraut instead: often use it in summer salads :) !

  • Reply October 8, 2012

    Phenomenal Mama

    I’ve never imagined to pair apples and kimchi… but it seems like a combination that should be tried. I doubt, though, if we can finish an entire jar of kimchi. No one really took a liking to it when we went to Korea. :|)

  • Reply October 8, 2012


    lovely fall pictures and presentation

  • Reply October 8, 2012


    What a unique and creative salad! Now that you mention it I can see that apples and kimchi would be complementary, but the blue cheese really threw me for a loop. This is one of those salads that I am going to have to make just to experience the combination of flavors! Thank you for sharing this creation! What lovely pictures!

  • I think my comment didn’t go through.. right? Something went wrong after I hit submit. I cannot eat spicy food because my tummy can’t handle but it’s fun to learn new combination – especially apple and kimchi is unheard of! I enjoy your nature and food photography and you have an eye for beautiful things and I enjoy seeing them through your photography!

  • What a beautiful combination of flavours-unusual and yet I can totally see how it would work! 😀

  • Reply October 9, 2012


    I think I’m kind of in love with anything that’s fermented. (Is it possible to love blue cheese too much?)
    This salad is art. Pork jowl bacon = you’re my hero. :)
    Your nature photos are gorgeous too! I have only been to Toronto once, but I think it must be one of the cleanest, friendliest cities in the world.

  • Reply October 9, 2012

    Sandra's Easy Cooking

    What a fun and interesting recipe..killer combination, loving it!!!! Addition of kimchi is a genius idea! Great photography…loving this post too as well as food an nature pics.

  • Gorgeous salad! I am not sure I have ever tried kimchi before. I am sure they have it at Asian stores, but I have never seen it in my local grocery store.

  • Reply October 10, 2012

    Jennifer @ Delicieux

    What a gorgeous looking salad. I’ve never tried kimchi before but keep hearing about it. How do you think this would go as a vegetarian salad without the bacon?

  • Sigh…what beautiful photographs! Makes me want to get outside for a stroll this very minute. Can’t wait to try the salad.

  • Reply October 10, 2012


    What an interesting recipe – sweet, spicy and savory, everything I love all in one!

    The pictures and styling are beautiful – I love the scenery photos you included in the post too :)

  • Reply October 10, 2012


    I think there is magic in kimchee. GREG

  • Reply October 10, 2012


    I love combining kimchi & cheese (or fermented over fermented as you say!)

  • Your photos always make me smile and are simply beautiful! This salad looks and sounds amazing – love the combination. I have never been to toronto yet it is on the bucket list – need to be able to check it off. Hope your day is going well!

  • your photos are gorgeous Jen. Your area sounds and looks like a wonderful place to live and enjoy family time.
    Beautiful and delicious salad

  • Reply October 11, 2012

    Cass @foodmyfriend

    Your photography is so beautiful. It always makes me envious of the surroundings. I want to be in your photos!

  • Reply October 11, 2012

    wok with ray

    You are really fortunate and I’m quite envious of where you live; it’s really gorgeous. Speaking of gorgeous, that plate of salad a wow! Unless you are shooting outdoor (camera that is :)), you must get a lot of natural lights coming in. Always perfect, Jen. :)

  • Reply October 12, 2012

    Amy (Savory Moments)

    Wow! What a very interesting and unique combination of ingredients you’ve used in this salad!

  • Reply October 13, 2012


    This salad makes me wish I liked kimchi. And that is saying something!

  • The colors are just jumping out of the screen. Beautiful salad and enticing woods you have there. And what a very interesting combination of flavors Jen! It sounds like something I would order at a restaurant and would be excited to try!

  • […] Jen of Tartine and Apron Strings made an apple and kale kimchi salad […]

  • […] Fuji Apple and Baby Kale Kimchi Salad + A Ramble Through the Woods <<I’m a bit of a kimchi fanatic, and turning it into a salad dressing for this beautiful autumn salad sounds divine. (Tartine and Apron Strings) […]

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