Home > Recipes > Meal > Sides > Autumn Massaged Kale Salad

Autumn Massaged Kale Salad

5 from 1 vote

What’s Inside: This hearty salad is so simple yet flavorful and is a really popular potluck or cookout side dish that’s plant-based, gluten-free, Paleo, and AIP-friendly. It goes with everything and anyone can enjoy it.

What is massaged kale?

Firstly, let’s talk about the kale. Do you massage your kale? I’ve talked about my love for it on the blog before… and really it’s the only way I’ll eat kale raw. It makes it so much easier to eat and digest! Plus it’s much tastier. All you need to do is take the olive oil you’d use in the dressing and pour that over cleaned finely chopped kale, work it in with your bare hands for a few minutes like you’re literally giving a massage. Talk about putting love into your food! You will taste the love, believe me.

Key Ingredients

Then the toppings… roasted acorn squash is MY JAM. I just love the sweet and salty taste, the texture with the skin is great too – gives it a little more substance.

The addition of pomegranates and roasted pepitas add more fun for the taste buds and voila!! I only add a little lemon juice for the acidity and you have yourself a beautiful, bright autumn-winter salad.

I will eat this for DAYS… though it doesn’t normally last that long 🙂 Oh and if pepitas aren’t your thing, I’ve done roasted hazelnuts and those are always amazing too.

To make it nut-free and AIP-friendly, try crushed plantain or sweet potato chips for a little crunch or simply omit!

More Healthy Side Dishes

Massaged Kale Salad with Squash and Pomegranates

5 from 1 vote
This hearty salad is so simple yet flavorful and is a really popular potluck or cookout side dish that's plant-based, gluten-free, Paleo, and AIP-friendly. It goes with everything and anyone can enjoy it.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6


  • 1 bunch lacinto kale
  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 2-3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp virgin coconut oil melted
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas or nuts of choice omit for AIP or try crushed plantain or sweet potato chips
  • sea salt to taste


  • First, prep the acorn squash. Pre-heat the oven to 350f degrees while you chop the squash into semi circles, all in the same thickness (I make them on the thinner side so they’ll cook quicker).
  • Toss the squash pieces with coconut oil and top with a pinch of sea salt on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for approx. 30 minutes (flipping once half-way through) until cooked.
  • While that’s roasting, strip the kale leaves off their stems and toss the stems out.Roll the leaves into a long roll and with a chef’s knife, slice the kale into ribbons (the smaller the better).
  • Add all kale ribbons to a salad spinner or mesh strainer and rinse well – dry in the spinner or with a towel and let rest in a large bowl.Now wash your hands and get ready to massage! Add the olive oil to your kale and start massaging, you'll see before long about half the volume of your kale reduces. Do this for 3-5 minutes until all leaves are well coated and are much softer. Now wash your green hands again ;)When squash is done, remove from the oven and let rest/dry.
  • To a pan or cast iron, add pepitas (no oil needed) over medium heat and toast them on the stove top for just a few minutes. As soon as they start getting a little gold and you can smell them, shut the heat off – you’re all set!
  • Now add the lemon juice to your kale and toss a bit. Then add in the rest of your mix-ins: squash, pepitas and pomegranate seeds – give it a good toss.
  • Grab your serving bowl and add everything in there – serve or store in the fridge until you’re ready (let it rest at room temp. for 30 minutes if you store it in the fridge, the squash tastes better at room temp. in my opinion).
Diet: American
Keywords: kale salad, paleo
Course: Salad, Side Dish
-Alison Marras
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

browse more recipes:

Greens Nightshade-free Paleo Salads Sides Whole30 Winter Squash
Start nourishing your body easily + consistently

I believe your healing journey with real food can be a stress-free lifestyle, filled with joy and flavor, giving you the time and energy to live more.

Subscribe to my newsletter, and you’ll receive the latest recipes and my best wellness tips to make this a lifestyle!

Join Now

join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I think everything I love is in this salad! Perfect for Fall and it will be on my Thanksgiving table. Pepitas! Need we say more?

  2. Such a beautiful seasonal salad! Love all the contrast in color. I recently learned about massaging the kale and it definitely does make quite the difference. Yum!

  3. I love kale but I have to confess I’ve never massaged it. Didn’t even know that was a thing! This salad looks so good. Definitely on my to make list!

you might also like