This massaged kale salad with Israeli couscous, butternut squash and maple vinaigrette will become a family favourite for holiday parties and week night dinners.
Oh kale. You and I haven’t been the best of friends in the past, and my partner- he’s not your biggest fan either. But yet, something deep inside me (maybe the Dietitian part) has made me determined to find a way to love you- no matter what it takes.
Well, in my quest to find true love, I have learned a lot about this green and I want to share a few things you gotta do to make it shine.
How to Make Amazing Massaged Kale Salad
1) Get rid of the woodsy stalks and stems. They’re just too tough to eat raw.
2) Cut the kale into very small pieces or ribbons. Choking on kale is not a cute look.
3) Sprinkle it with a little salt and oil and massage those leaves well- for at least 5 minutes. Yes, we’re making massaged kale salad. It will help to reduce some of its bitterness and soften it up just a touch. I know it feels and looks funny to massage your salad greens, but trust me, it’s totally worth it.
4) Dress your salad 1-2 hours (even a day ahead) before you want to eat it. This will allow the flavours to merry and the leaves again to soften up a touch. It’s like cabbage- freshly made slaw is never as good as a slaw that’s had time to sit.
To make this massaged kale salad a bit more palatable for the bitter-averse (like my mum), I added lots and lots of sweet bright flavours- roasted butternut squash (which I did ahead, and allowed to cool to room temperature), dried raisins, juicy pomegranate seeds, fluffy couscous (also precooked and cooled), crunchy sunflower seeds, and lots of maple syrup. Even the folks who hate kale will eat this.
What’s your favourite ways to eat kale? Have you tried a massaged kale salad?
Kale, Israeli Couscous and Butternut Squash Salad with Maple Vinaigrette & Top Kale Tips
- 1 lb kale leaves torn into small pieces
- 1 cup cooked Israeli couscous prepared according to box directions
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds toasted and salted
- 1/4 cup dried golden raisins
- Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add in the butter and oil.
- Pan-fry the squash until golden on all sides, then toss with the maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Mix everything together until combined and set aside.
- Add a good pinch of salt to the kale and a few tablespoons of the dressing. Start to massage the greens to help remove some of the bitterness in the leaves and to break down some of their toughness. I usually massage my kale for at least a solid 5 minutes. I know it’s hard work, but it pays off. Ideally you could do this ahead of time and let the kale sit in the fridge for a few hours but its fine if you need to serve it right away.
- Mix together the kale, couscous, squash, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds and golden raisins and toss with the vinaigrette. Enjoy!
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.