A healthy salad can be a welcome respite from the holiday meals, cookies, booze, and general indulgences of the holidays. By now, we all know that kale is one of America’s favorite “superfoods.” It’s hard to go to any restaurant, food blog, or modern cookbook without seeing the leafy green brassica. The hype is well deserved. Kale is a great option as your green of choice, as it’s locally seasonal this time of year, it is packed with nutrients and fiber, and with the right accompaniments it can make a delicious salad.
Massaged kale salads are great for packed lunches, as they can hold up to the dressing and just get better with time, rather than getting soggy. Feel free to get creative with this dish. Add your favorite toppings, fruits, veggies, and proteins and enjoy.
A word to the wise—the acid from fresh-squeezed lemon really makes a difference here. It breaks down the kale in a beautiful way, making it quite tender and a pleasure to eat.
Massaged Kale Salad
1 bunch kale (3-4 packed handfuls)—any type will do
2 cups of baby arugula
1 small acorn squash
Toasted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon local honey
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Heat oven to 400 F.
Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Cube the squash into bite-size pieces (without the skin) and toss in olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 25 minutes, turning once during cooking. The squash is done when fork tender. Let cool.
Wash and dry kale. Remove stems, and roughly cut into bite-size pieces.
Mix the dressing ingredients. One easy way is to shake ingredients to a mason jar with a lid, or in a salad dressing carafe. Shake until well incorporated.
Pour dressing over kale in a fairly large bowl, and massage with your hands. Make sure each leaf is coated. Once kale turns to a bright green color, your kale is ready.
Once the kale is dressed, gently toss in the arugula. If you are making this salad ahead of time, add the baby arugula just before serving.
Plate the kale and top with cooled squash, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate arils, and crumbled goat cheese.