Citrus Pomegranate Kale Salad with Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette

Sweet seasonal citrus, juicy pomegranate seeds & massaged kale all tossed in a simple honey-lemon vinaigrette & topped with toasted pepitas! This seasonal salad is light & refreshing & always a crowd favorite!

A massaged kale salad made clementine oranges, pomegranate seeds and toasted pepitas tossed in a honey-lemon vinaigrette

If there’s one recipe I get asked the most often to make for our friends and family, it’s this citrus & pomegranate kale salad. Fresh clementine oranges, juicy pomegranate seeds, tender massaged kale all tossed in a sweet honey-lemon dressing and sprinkled with pepitas! I mean come on, doesn’t that just sound so refreshing?! Plus I love that it pairs so well with everything making it a perfect side for a party or just a casual dinner at home. It’s simple and easy to make and always looks stunning when it’s all tossed together. One thing’s for sure, if you make this kale salad recipe you’re 100% going to looove it! (And probably be asked for the recipe too!😉)

Ingredients used to make citrus pomegranate kale salad

Ingredients For Your Kale Salad

  • Green kale: Look for kale that’s green with no yellow ends and has sturdy leaves. (We’ll be massaging the kale leaves later so it’s ok if they’re a bit tough.)
  • Clementine oranges: Clementine oranges or tangelos work the best for this recipe. If you can’t find either, regular oranges can also be used instead.
  • Pomegranate seeds: Use fresh pomegranate seeds if possible. (They have much better flavor than prepackaged seeds from the store.) If you’re rush for time though, prepackaged seeds definitely work too.
  • Pepitas: Adds a slightly nutty flavor gives some texture to your salad. (We’ll be toasting the pepitas to bring out even more of their nuttiness!)
  • Lemons: You’ll need 2-3 lemons (depending on their size) to make the dressing for this recipe.
  • Olive oil: I strongly recommend using extra light tasting olive oil for your kale salad dressing. It’s mild in flavor and really let’s the rest of your flavors shine! (We’re only using about 1 teaspoon of oil.)
  • Honey: Used to sweeten your dressing. Make sure to use a brand of honey you really like because it has a very prominent flavor in your dressing.
  • Cracked pepper: Just a few cracks are all you need! Freshly cracked pepper tends to be more flavorful than ground pepper and can be more easily dispersed. (Ground black pepper is larger in size and can overpower the rest of your flavors.)
Toasted pepitas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Kale salad dressing made with fresh lemon juice, honey, olive oil and cracked pepper in a clear glass sitting next to a wooden bowl filled with clementine oranges

How To Make A Citrus & Pomegranate Kale Salad

  1. Toast your pepitas. Turn your oven on the 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then spread your pepitas out in an even layer on the pan. Toast for 5-6 minutes or until they’re slightly golden. (It’s ok if most of the pepitas are still green-ish. Toasting them longer than 6 minutes can cause them to burn.) Then set your pepitas aside to cool completely.
  2. Make the dressing. Whisk your dressing ingredients together then set it aside.
  3. Massage your kale. Remove the kale leaves from the stems and chop them into bite-size pieces. Then add the leaves to a large bowl and squeeze ½ a lemon and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the leaves. Using your hands, massage the kale for 5 minutes or until it softens and turns dark green.
  4. Prepare the rest of your ingredients. Peel your clementine oranges (cut them in half if they’re too big) and deseed your pomegranate.
  5. Mix together & serve! Toss your massaged kale, clementines and pomegranate seeds with your desired amount of dressing and serve with your toasted pepitas sprinkled on top.

*Tip: Sometimes I’ll use avocado oil spray instead of olive oil to massage my kale. You only need a few squirts!

Citrus and pomegranate kale salad in a pink bowl sitting next to fresh pomegranate segments and pepitas scattered around

Serving Ideas

Wondering what this kale salad pairs well with? Here are a few of our favorite entrees we love serving with it!

This kale salad recipe is super simple and is so easy to make for a crowd. It’d be a great make-ahead side dish for holiday parties, potlucks, dinner parties or any occasion really! (And everyone always comments on how pretty it looks too!😉)

A bowl of massaged kale tossed with orange segments, pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds surrounded by scattered pumpkin seeds, pomegranate segments and another bowl of kale salad

FAQ’s

  • Do I have to massage my kale for this salad? Yes. Massaging your kale helps to break down the leaves making them softer and easier to eat. It also brings out the kale’s mild flavor too.
  • Can you eat the kale stems? If you’re using them raw in a salad – No! The stems are very tough and fibrous. I would only suggest eating the stems if you’re kale the kale.
  • What are pepitas? Pepitas are pumpkin seeds that come from specific types of pumpkins and don’t require shelling.
  • Can I eat the pepitas raw? Absolutely! I just love toasting them because it brings out their nutty flavor.
  • What can I replace the pepitas with? Sliced almonds or sunflower seeds (deshelled) would be a great alternative.
  • How do I store my leftover citrus & pomegranate kale salad? Store your salad in an airtight container in the fridge. (Keep your pepitas separate though so they don’t become soggy!)

Why you’ll love this massaged kale salad recipe

  • Perfect for leftovers! Kale salads stay good for days after being dressed so they’re for a quick lunch the next day!
  • Great for a large crowd! Simple ingredients & easy prep make this salad so easy to whip up for any occasion!
  • Festive & refreshing! Vibrant seasonal fruit, sweet & tangy dressing & just the right amount of crunch! This salad pairs well with just about everything!

Need it gluten free? Great news, it already is!

Need it dairy free? Great news, it already is!

More salad recipes you might like:

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]

Citrus Pomegranate Kale Salad with Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette

Sweet clementine oranges, juicy pomegranate seeds & massaged kale all tossed in a sweet honey-lemon vinaigrette & topped with toasted pepitas! This seasonal salad is light & refreshing & always a crowd favorite!
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: citrus, clementine oranges, healthy, honey lemon vinaigrette, kale, massaged kale salad, pomegranate, side dish, side salad
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

For the kale salad:

  • 1 bunch of kale, leaves removed from the stems & chopped
  • 5-6 clementine oranges, peeled, sectioned and cut in half
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup pepitas
  • ½ of a lemon (for massaging the kale)
  • Extra light tasting olive oil (for massaging the kale)*

For the honey-lemon vinaigrette:

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp extra light tasting olive oil
  • Cracked black pepper

Instructions

To make the honey-lemon vinaigrette:

  • Pour your lemon juice, honey and olive oil into a bowl and add 3-4 cracks of black pepper. Whisk your ingredients together until the honey fully dissolves then set it aside while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

To toast the pepitas:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Next spread your pepitas out on the pan and toast them in the oven for 5-6 minutes. (It's ok if most of them are still green & not golden.) Set them aside to cool completely.

To make the kale salad:

  • Place your chopped kale leaves in a large bowl. Then squeeze your lemon and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the leaves. Use your hands to massage the kale for 5 minutes or until the leaves begins to soften and turn dark green.
  • Next add your massaged kale, clementine oranges and pomegranate seeds to a large bowl and toss in your desired amount of dressing. Sprinkle your toasted pepitas over the top and serve immediately.

Notes

Sunflower seeds, sliced almonds or walnuts can be used to replace the pepitas.
*Sometimes we’ll use avocado oil spray to massage my kale instead of olive oil. You only need a few squirts.

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