Tender kale, sweet pomegranates, juicy clementine oranges and toasted pepitas all tossed together with an easy honey-lemon vinaigrette! Trust me friends, this seasonal kale salad will soon become a family favorite!
When I first made this citrus and pomegranate kale salad I really had no idea how popular it was going to become. I just thought “these ingredients all sound really good so of course they’d make a great salad, right?!” And you have no idea how right I really was! This is by far the most requested recipe from my family and friends and it’s so easy to see why. Not only does it taste AMAZING but it’s incredibly easy to make and pairs well with everything too!
But there are a few things you need to know first in order to make this salad knock your guests’ socks off!
Massaging the kale
This step is crucial to any kale salad because it makes the kale softer and much easier to eat. (If you’ve ever had an unmassaged kale salad before then chances are you probably hated it…and now hate kale forever… But wait – we’re going to change all of that!)
So how do you massage kale? So easy! Simply cut the kale leaves off the ribs (stems) and chop the leaves into small bite sized pieces. Place these pieces in a large bowl and drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil over them. (You can also spray the pieces with avocado oil spray if you have it too.) Then take 1/2 a lemon and squeeze the juice over the kale pieces. Using your hands, rub the kale together between your fingers and deeply “massage it”. Massage the kale for 5 minutes or until it starts to soften and turn a bright green color.
*You’ll also know that kale is “fully massaged” because it tends to “shrink” after being softened.
How to cut a pomegranate
Next, we’re talking poms! Now of course you don’t have to use a fresh pomegranate for this recipe by any means; store bought deseeded pomegranates are just fine. BUT if you’re looking for a fool proof way to deseed a fresh one, then I gotchu babe! 😉
Pomegranates are a sectional fruit, which basically means that all you have to do to get to the arils inside is to divide it into sections. So how do you deseed a pomegranate? Well the way that I’ve found to be the most useful for me (and works every time) is listed below:
- Cut the bottom off of the pomegranate so that it sits flat on the cutting board. Then take your knife and at the top of the fruit carve out the “stem” in a circular motion.
- From there, cut a slit from the top of the pomegranate to the bottom on one side of the fruit but be careful not to cut all the way through the skin. Continue making 4-5 slits like this all the way around the pomegranate. (These are your “sections”)
- Then gently pull one of the sections off and lightly press on the seeds to loosen them from the insides until they fall off. It’s best to do this over a bowl.
- Continue until all the arils are deseeded.
*Side Note: This can get a bit messy! (Aprons are usually a necessity 🙂 )
Toasting the pepitas
First off, what the heck is a pepita?! So glad you asked! In simple terms, pepitas are just pumpkin seeds that have been harvested from a specific type of pumpkin. (Hence the reason they look different from normal pumpkin seeds.) But they have such a great flavor and are a lovely addition to salads and other dishes.
Ok now onto the toasting!
This step is completely optional – but I personally think it can also be a huge game changer too! Toasting the pepitas not only brings a smokey nutty flavor to the salad, but it also makes them a little crunchier too. (Is crunchier a word? …I’m not really sure but for today’s sake, let’s just go with it.) But the best part is that you can use the directions below to toast any kind of nut or seed.
- Spread the pepitas out in a single layer on a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper.
- Bake them at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the seeds start to turn slightly brown.
- Let them cool completely on the tray before storing them in an air tight container.
BAM! How easy was that?!
Need even more reasons to love this citrus and pomegranate kale salad? Well here ya have it:
- It’s healthy and festive which makes it the perfect side dish for all those holiday parties and potlucks coming up!
- It’s keeps well for days so you can meal prep it over the weekend and eat it all week.
- It’s just gorgeous to look at so if anything it’ll make you feel fancy while eating it! 😉
I hope you enjoy the recipe loves and have one fantastic day!
More recipes like this one:
- Grape and Feta Kale Salad
- Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Roasted Chickpea, Avocado and Kale Salad
[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings – I love seeing what you create!]
Citrus and Pomegranate Kale Salad
For the kale salad:
- 1 bundle of kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped
- 5-6 clementine oranges, peeled, sectioned and cut in half
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- Handful of pepitas* (See directions for toasting below)
- ½ of a lemon
- Extra light tasting olive oil (or your favorite olive oil)
For the honey lemon vinaigrette:
- 2 lemons
- 4 tsps honey
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Cracked black pepper
To make the honey lemon vinaigrette:
- Juice the lemons into a small bowl. Add the honey, olive oil and about 3-4 cracks of black pepper. Whisk it together and set is aside.
To make the kale salad:
- Place the kale in a large bowl. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the kale and squeeze ½ the lemon over it. Using your hands, massage the kale for 5 minutes or until it softens and starts to turn dark green.
- Add the chopped clementine slices and pomegranate arils and pour the vinaigrette over the top. Toss and serve with pepitas.