Massaged Kale Salad with Pepitas, Cranberries, and Goat Cheese

Massaged Kale Salad with Pepitas, Cranberries, and Goat Cheese~ Kristine's Kitchen

I am almost ashamed to admit that this is the first kale recipe I have ever posted. That’s right, before today, if you had typed “kale” into my blog’s search box, you would have gotten a nice little not found message. Not anymore, though! It’s not that I’ve never cooked with kale, but I certainly haven’t done it enough if I haven’t had the opportunity to blog about it. Kale is one of the healthiest foods you can eat and it’s extremely versatile. It can be used in smoothies, pasta, pizza, and salads. Years and years ago I even made kale turnovers as a side dish to a meal.

If you haven’t done much cooking with kale, this recipe is a great place to start. Fresh kale leaves are firm, with thick stalks down their centers. When you massage the leaves, though, they soften and tenderize, and their bitterness goes away. I lightly dress this kale salad with a maple vinaigrette and toss in some pepitas, cranberries, and goat cheese. If you don’t have pepitas on hand, walnuts would be a great substitute, and if you don’t stock maple syrup in your refrigerator, you can use honey instead. The next time you plan to serve a salad with your meal, why not try something new and make this massaged kale salad? I think you’ll find that you want to make it again and again.

Massaged Kale Salad with Pepitas, Cranberries, and Goat Cheese~ Kristine's Kitchen

Massaged Kale Salad

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword kale salad, kale salad recipes, massaged kale salad
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 234kcal


For the Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice divided
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • black pepper

For the Salad

  • 1 large bunch kale 8 to 10 cups, loosely packed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • cup dried cranberries
  • 2 ounces goat cheese crumbled


Make the Salad Dressing

  • Combine salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl, using black pepper to taste, and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Make the Salad

  • Cut the kale leaves off of the tough stalks and discard the stalks. Chop the kale into thin slices and wash thoroughly in cold water. Drain, dry, and place kale in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon olive oil over the kale. Using your hands, massage the kale until it wilts, softens, and turns darker in color, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour the salad dressing over the kale and toss to distribute evenly. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Add the pepitas, cranberries and goat cheese to the salad and mix briefly to combine.
  • Salad is best served the day it is made, but is still good on the second day.


Serving: 1/4 recipe | Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 237mg | Potassium: 548mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 10186IU | Vitamin C: 124mg | Calcium: 176mg | Iron: 2mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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