Massaged Kale Salad with Sweet Potato, Pomegranate & Goat Cheese
This easy massaged kale salad is topped with roasted sweet potatoes, pomegranate, goat cheese, and toasted pecans. Perfect for meal prep, as a full meal or as a side salad. It’s delicious, nutrient-dense, and filling!
During the fall and winter months, I love making salads with warming and filling ingredients like roasted sweet potatoes or squash, cooked grains, and other fall vegetables.
This massaged kale salad with roasted cinnamon sweet potatoes, juicy pomegranates, and savoury goat cheese truly hits the spot and is one of my favourites.
It celebrates some of the best seasonal produce, while being jam-packed with nutrition and flavour.
Even better, this massaged kale salad is filling enough to be eaten as a meal and is great for meal prep. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do!
Want more delicious, hearty salad recipe inspiration? Check out my roundup of 15+ fall and winter salad recipes for more ideas!
What Is Massaged Kale?
You may have heard about “massaging kale” before and wondered what it was all about.
I’ve talked about this before on my Instagram, and I’ve received some funny feedback! Some people had no idea what I was talking about, some were curious but weren’t sure where to begin, and someone even said their mom had massaged a kale salad bare, without any dressing (I had a good giggle at that one haha).
Basically, massaged kale means that the kale has literally been massaged with your hands to work in the dressing.
Why do we want to do this? Massaging dressing into kale helps to physically break down the tough fibres in the leafy green, making it much softer, tastier, and easier to digest.
It also makes kale salad taste SOO much better compared to kale that hasn’t been massaged. Honestly, once you have a massaged kale salad it’s hard to go back to a regular one!
BONUS – unlike other greens, massaged kale salads don’t go limp or soggy, which makes them perfect to prep in big batches, bring to work, and eat throughout the week.
How Do You Massage Kale?
To massage kale, you simply:
- Drizzle olive oil, lemon juice, and salt (or another dressing) over your kale
- Using your hands, squeeze and massage the dressing into the kale leaves (similar to how you would knead dough).
- Once done, cover the bowl of massaged kale and let sit in the fridge for about 30-60 mins to break the fibres down even further.
You can massage kale with other dressings too, of course, but a little olive oil, lemon juice, and salt is always my go-to.
Curious to learn more? You’re in luck – I’ve got an in-depth post ALL about how to massage kale. It’s one of my favourite ways to prepare kale for salads, including this one 🙂
How To Make This Kale Salad
You want to start this recipe by de-stemming the kale leaves from the tough stems. Wash and dry well, then chop kale into thin, small pieces.
Place the chopped kale into a large mixing bowl. In a small jar, mix olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper and shake dressing ingredients together. Pour over kale and massage with hands (as described above).
Cover and let the kale sit in the fridge or at room temperature.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400F and prepare your sweet potatoes. Wash and dry them well, then chop the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces. Leave the skin on for extra fibre and added texture – it also takes less time to prepare!
While the sweet potatoes roast, remove the pomegranate arils from the fruit and set aside.
Spread raw pecans onto a smaller baking sheet, and place in the oven for the last 7 minutes to let them toast. Remove both the sweet potatoes and toasted pecans from the oven and let them cool slightly.
Add the roasted sweet potato chunks, toasted pecans, pomegranates, and crumbled goat cheese to the massaged kale. Toss everything together and top with avocado chunks before serving.
This salad can be served as a side or as a full meal. If having as a full meal, feel free to add an additional source of protein like a hard-boiled egg!
This massaged kale salad can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container for about 3 days in the fridge.
If making in advance, simply add the avocado before serving. Kale holds up well and doesn’t go soggy like other leafy greens.
Kale Nutrition Facts
Now that you know the BEST way to enjoy a kale salad, you have no excuses to not reap the benefits of this nutrient-dense green!
Just one cup of kale provides over 100% of your daily needs for:
- vitamin A (206%)
- vitamin K (684%)
- vitamin C (134%)
Kale is also a good source of:
- other micronutrients, like manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, and vitamin B6
- dietary fibre (2 grams per cup)
- antioxidants, which prevent cellular damage and provide a multitude of health benefits
Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts
This root veggie is an excellent source of:
- beta-carotene, which acts as an antioxidant and converts to vitamin A in your body
- other micronutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins B6, E, and C
- dietary fibre, with one sweet potato meeting 15% of your daily fibre needs (4 grams)
More Winter Salad Recipes
- Kale Butternut Squash Salad With Farro & Goat Cheese
- Roasted Broccoli Salad With Cranberry, Farro & Feta
- Grilled Kale Salad With Avocado, Lemon & Parmesan
- Cold Chopped Quinoa Salad With Eggs
- Winter Pasta Salad With Roasted Vegetables
- Warm Prune Salad With Arugula, Sweet Potato & Walnuts
Did you give this Massaged Kale Salad With Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pomegranates & Goat Cheese Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!
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Get the Recipe: Massaged Kale Salad With Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pomegranate & Goat Cheese
- Remove the kale leaves from the tough stems. Wash and dry well. Chop kale into thin, small pieces. Place the chopped kale into a large mixing bowl.
- In a small jar, mix olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Shake dressing ingredients together. Pour over kale and massage with hands, squeezing/kneading the dressing into the kale for about 1 minute. Cover and let the kale sit in the fridge or at room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 400F and prepare your sweet potatoes. Wash and dry them well, then chop the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces, leaving the skin on.
- Toss the sweet potato chunks in olive oil, salt, and cinnamon. Spread on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven for 30 minutes, until tender and brown.
- While the sweet potatoes roast, remove the pomegranate arils from the fruit and set aside.
- Spread pecans onto a smaller baking sheet, and place in the oven for the last 7 minutes to let them toast. Keep an eye on them and remove from oven once they become aromatic – or else they will burn!
- Remove both the sweet potatoes and toasted pecans from the oven and let them cool slightly.
- Add the roasted sweet potato chunks, toasted pecans, pomegranates, and crumbled goat cheese to the massaged kale. Mix well, adding additional salt + pepper to taste (if needed). Serve with sliced avocado!
As a dietitian, I create recipes with whole food ingredients that provide the nutrients needed for optimal health. My nutrition philosophy does not focus on numbers; however, I understand that this information can be helpful.
Do note that the nutrition info provided is an estimate and I cannot guarantee correctness of the displayed values. These numbers will differ depending on brands used, recipe modifications, and amount eaten. If you require specific nutrition information due to medical reasons, please consult with your dietitian or physician.