Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

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Christina Ross
Christina Ross
I'm a human being on planet earth. I've lived hundreds of lifetimes. In this incarnation I'm here to advance medicine.

It’s Friday!

I know what you might be thinking: It’s almost the weekend, so forget about eating healthy and bring on the nachos/beer/pizza/brownies/ice cream.

I’d be willing to bet that most people have this mindset as the school/workweek winds down – and I see no problem with a couple of weekend indulgences – but why not fit a super healthy meal in somewhere between the syrup-saturated Saturday morning pancakes and Sunday afternoon football snacks?

Such as this salad consisting of massaged kale and roasted butternut squash.

Name:Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cooking Time:30 minutes
Total Time:50 minutes
Servings:4 servings
Yield:1 salad bowl


For the Salad

  • 1 bunch of fresh kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Roast the Butternut Squash

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Toss the butternut squash cubes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
  • Spread the squash on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized.

Prepare the Dressing

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Massage the Kale

  • Place the torn kale leaves in a large mixing bowl.
  • Drizzle half of the prepared dressing over the kale leaves.
  • Use your hands to massage the kale for 2-3 minutes, until the leaves become tender and vibrant in color.

Combine the Salad

  • Add the roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, and toasted pumpkin seeds to the massaged kale.
  • Gently toss the ingredients to combine.


  • Divide the salad into individual servings.
  • Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese (if using) over each serving.
  • Drizzle the remaining dressing over the top.


  • Serve immediately and savor the delightful flavors and textures of this nutrient-packed Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash.

Estimated Nutrition Per Serving

  • Calories: 300 kcal
  • Protein:7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35 g
  • Dietary Fiber:7 g
  • Sugars:12 g
  • Fat:20 g
  • Saturated Fat:3 g
  • Cholesterol:10 mg
  • Sodium:400 mg
  • Vitamin A:500% DV
  • Vitamin C:100% DV
  • Calcium:20% DV
  • Iron:15% DV

Please note that the nutrition values are approximate and can vary based on specific ingredients used and portion sizes. Always refer to the exact products and quantities you use for the most accurate nutritional information. Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to add or modify!

Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

So many autumnal dishes we’re drawn to are heavy and calorie-laden, as we instinctively bulk up for the colder months, but don’t let the cooler temperatures chase away any thought of salad that may be lingering around from summer.

Luckily, some of my favorite foods that come into season around now just so happen to be nutritious and perfect in a salad.

Massaged kale isn’t a new concept. In fact I made my Massaged Kale Salad with Mango & Avocado numerous times over the course of spring & summer. I’m changing things up this time around, using sweet roasted butternut squash and my Pumpkin Cider Vinaigrette for a more seasonal massaged kale salad.

Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

This salad would be a great addition to any fall dinner, but it can also stand alone as a light lunch. If you’re looking for more of an entree salad, add a few tablespoons of crumbled goat or blue cheese, a small handful of chopped roasted pecans or walnuts, and a scattering of dried cranberries.

Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: roast entree main salad side vegetarian vegan kale butternut squash Thanksgiving fall

Ingredients (4 servings)

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 2 cups peeled & cubed butternut squash (I prefer smaller cubes)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 tightly packed cups washed & torn kale leaves (discard stems) (I used organic red kale)

Ingredients for the Pumpkin Cider Vinaigrette:

  • 2 Tbsp pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp course ground Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss the cubed butternut squash with olive oil and season to taste with salt & pepper. Turn out in an even layer onto a baking sheet or dish and roast until soft and golden brown, about 30-40 minutes, depending on size of cubes, stirring once.

About 10 minutes prior to the squash being done, make the vinaigrette by whisking together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

Place the kale leaves in a large bowl and drizzle with a couple tablespoons of the vinaigrette. With your hands, massage the kale until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.

Toss roasted squash with the massaged kale and dress the salad with the remaining vinaigrette.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

177.8 calories, 7.9 grams fat, 1.0 grams saturated fat, 8.2 grams fiber, 4.2 grams sugars, 5.8 grams protein

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