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“Massaged” Kale and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

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  • Author: Chris Scheuer
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x


Massaging is a simple technique that doesn’t take very long but does make a world of difference in kale salads.


  • 2 cups diced butternut squash (about ½ inch dice)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 4 strips applewood bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 5 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup apple cider (apple juice will also work)
  • sea salt, a generous pinch
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 bunches kale, any type of kale will work, I usually use Tuscan kale
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils or seeds
  • ? cup roasted, salted pepitas


  1. Preheat oven to 400?F. Line a sheet pan with foil.
  2. Toss butternut squash, olive oil and sea salt on prepared pan and roast until tender, approximately 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. While squash is roasting, prepare dressing; cook bacon pieces until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat..
  4. Sauté onion in bacon fat for 1 minute. Add cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, cider, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until reduced and slightly syrupy. Remove from heat.
  5. For the kale, strip; leaves from the stems. You can either cut the stems up and use them in your salad or discard them. I usually discard them but some people like the extra crunch.. Wash and dry the kale (I use a salad spinner), then tear the leaves into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
  6. Sprinkle kale with salt, and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Massage with your fingers (just like you would for a back massage!) until it begins to wilt, darken in color and the volume is reduced to about half, around 4-5 minutes.
  7. If dressing has cooled off, rewarm for a minute or so. Toss massaged kale with a few tablespoons of the dressing. Transfer to individual serving plates, if desired. Sprinkle with the roasted butternut squash, bacon, pomegranate arils and pepitas. Pass extra warm dressing at the table.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Salad
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