Tuscan Kale Salad


Tuscan Kale Salad

With quinoa & butternut squash

Lately, I have been obsessed with Kale salad, I started maxing different variations and versions of it using different vegetables, nuts, grains and dressing(s). To my surprise there is a number of different types of Kale the most popular served at restaurants are Lacinto & Curly kale. This particular kale salad I used lacinto, you could also use the curly kale either one will work. The key and the secret of an amazing kale salad is the “massage technique” if you do not massage your kale it will be rough to eat. Believe it or not Kale used to be the leafy decor item used in salad bars and or buffets these leafy green vegetables served as the decoration outside the salad bowls, now they have made their way into our salad bowls.


Types of Kale

Russian Kale . Lacinto Kale. Curly Kale.


The Technique in “Kale massage”


Massaging the Kale

Let’s start with removing the stems. I mean throw them away. The stems in kale are fibrous and tough. We don’t want that in our salad.

Now, apply the massage technique.

Add a of pinch of salt and squeeze some lemon juice a splash of olive oil to the leaves and then start crunching them between your hands. The key is not to over-massage. Mushy kale is much worse than tough kale. Over-massaged kale loses it’s crispy texture we love so much. Rub the kale leaves together between your fingers, until they just start to wilt. The way to tell if you’ve hit the right point, as it is with most things, is to taste. Massage the leaves to the point where they feel more crispy than rubbery.

  • Ingredients


    • 3 cups cubed butternut squash

    • olive oil

    • salt and pepper

    • QUINOA:

    • 1 cup quinoa

    • 2 cups vegetable broth

    • SALAD:

    • 1 large bunch of curly or lacinto kale leaves (chopped & massaged)

    • 1 cup pomegranate arils

    • ½ cup pepitas


    • ¼ cup orange juice

    • 2 tsp dijon mustard

    • 2 cloves of chopped/smushed garlic

    • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

    • 2 tablespoons agave syrup

    • 3 tablespoons oil

    • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place the cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle the squash with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the butternut squash for about 30 minutes until fork tender, flipping the cubes over half way through. Remove from the oven when cooked and set aside.

  2. While the butternut squash roasts cook the the quinoa by placing 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of vegetable broth in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to a low and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, still covered, and let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes. Then fluff the quinoa with a fork and let cool.

  3. While the butternut squash roasts in the oven and the quinoa simmers, prepare the salad and dressing. Place the chopped kale into a large bowl, drizzle on 1 tablespoon olive oil, and massage the kale* with your hands until it softens.

  4. Pour all of the dressing ingredients into a small jar and mix.

  5. To assemble the salad, pour ½ of the dressing onto the quinoa and stir well. Add in the chopped and massaged kale leaves , pepitas, butternut sqaush stir gently to combine.

  6. Serve with another drizzle of dressing.


*For added sweetness add some yellow raisins

*For added saltiness and a punch of flavor enhancement add some Parmesan cheese shavings.