Massaged Kale Salad with Pepitas, Cranberries, and Goat Cheese

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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 with Pepitas, Cranberries, and Goat Cheese

Printable Recipe

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 large bunch kale
  • 3 tsp. lemon juice, divided
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled


  1. Cut the kale leaves off of the stalks and discard the stalks. Cut the kale into thin slices and wash thoroughly in cold water. Drain, dry, and place kale in a large bowl.
  2. Drizzle 2 tsp. lemon juice and a little olive oil over the kale. Using your fingers, massage the kale until it wilts, softens, and turns darker in color, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. lemon juice, maple syrup, ¼ tsp. salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss to distribute evenly. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  4. Add the pepitas, cranberries, and goat cheese to the salad and mix briefly to combine. Serve immediately.

Source: Kristine’s Kitchen.

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