Massaged kale, sweet clementine oranges & pomegranate seeds all tossed in a honey-lemon vinaigrette & topped with toasted pepitas! This citrus pomegranate kale salad is so festive and perfect for any occasion!
This citrus pomegranate kale salad is my go-to salad to bring to every party and family gathering! It’s light, refreshing, full of fresh seasonal flavors!
Ingredients For Your Citrus Pomegranate Kale Salad
- Kale: We prefer using green curly kale for this salad. You’ll need at least 2 bunches.
- Clementine oranges: Clementine oranges or tangelos work the best for this recipe. (They’re the perfect combination of sweet and tangy.) If you can’t find either, regular navel oranges can be used instead.
- Pomegranate seeds: Always use fresh pomegranate seeds if possible. (They have much better flavor than most prepackaged seeds.)
- Pepitas: Pepitas are a type of pumpkin seed that are found in shell-less pumpkin varieties. You can usually find these in the nut/seed aisle or bulk aisle in most grocery stores.
- Lemons: You’ll need at least 4 lemons for the vinaigrette and ½-1 lemon for massaging your kale.
- Olive oil: A few tablespoons goes into your vinaigrette and you’ll be drizzling some over your kale before massaging it.
- Honey: Used to sweeten your vinaigrette.
- Cracked black pepper: Add as little or as much and you want to your viniagrette! (We love lots of fresh cracked pepper in ours.😊)
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 then set them aside to cool completely.
2. Make the vinaigrette. Whisk your lemon juice, honey, olive oil and black pepper together until the honey completely dissolves. Then keep it stored in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of your salad.
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 ½-1 lemon and a drizzle of olive oil over the leaves. Using your hands, massage the kale for 5 minutes or until it softens and starts to shrink in size. (Kale is very sturdy so don’t be afraid to really manhandle it. We want to break it down/soften it enough to make it easier to eat.)
4. Prepare the rest of your ingredients. Peel your clementine oranges (you can cut them in half if they’re too big) and deseed your pomegranate.
5. Toss. Add your clementines and pomegranates to the bowl with your kale and toss in your desired amount of dressing.
6. Serve! Sprinkle your toasted pepitas over each individual bowl and serve immediately.
Serving this salad for a crowd? I’ll usually wait until right before serving to toss this salad, espeically if I’m serving it family style. (Once it’s tossed, most of the oranges and pomegranates fall to the bottom so it’s not quite as pretty to look at.😉)
Make this salad your own by switching up the ingredients! Here are a few of our favorites to help get your started:
- Clementine oranges: Try using tangelos, navel oranges or blood oranges instead! (Note: Oranges tend to be a little sweeter than clementines or tangelos so they may alter the taste of your salad.)
- Pomegrantes: Try replacing them with blueberries! (We’ll usually use blueberries if pomegranates aren’t in season.)
- Pepitas: Use roasted sunflower seeds instead!
- Add cheese! Plain goat cheese pairs amazing well wiith the rest of your ingredients!
- Do I have to massage my kale for this salad? Yes! Massaging your kale helps break down it’s fibrous leaves making them much softer and easier to eat. It also brings out the kale’s mild flavor.
- Can I prep anything ahead of time? Absolutely! Kale salads are the best make-ahead side dish! You can prep the entire salad 1-2 days in advance and keep it stored in the refrigerator. (We’ll usually keep the ingredients (massaged kale, clementines, pomegranates & vinanigette) stored in separate containers until we’re ready to serve.)
Why you’ll love this massaged kale salad recipe!
- A healthy nutritious salad! Kale, pomegranates and oranges are all loaded with nutrients making this a side dish you can feel good about eating!
- Perfect for leftovers! Kale salads stay good for days after being dressed so they’re great for a quick lunch the next day!
- Great for a large crowd! Simple ingredients & bold flavors makes this salad a perfect side dish for any occasion! (Serve your pepitas on the side in case any guests have a nut/seed allergy.)
- Light & refreshing! Full of vibrant seasonal produce + a sweet lemony dressing! This salad is a great lighter option to serve, especially around the holidays!
Need it gluten free? Great news, it already is!
Need it dairy free? Great news, it already is!
More salad recipes you might like:
- Pear & Gorgonzola Salad with Candied Walnuts
- Loaded Italian Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Mexican Street Corn Kale Salad
- Avocado, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad
[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
For the kale salad:
- 2 large bunches of kale, leaves removed from the stems & chopped
- 5-6 clementine oranges, peeled & sectioned (cut in half if desired)
- ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup pepitas
- 1 lemon, (for massaging the kale)
- Olive oil (for massaging the kale)
For the honey-lemon vinaigrette:
- 4 lemons, juiced
- 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp honey
- 2 Tbsp olive oil*
- Cracked black pepper, to taste
To toast the pepitas:
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Then spread your pepitas out on the pan and toast them in the oven for 5-6 minutes. Set them aside to cool completely once done.
To make the vinaigrette:
- Whisk your lemon juice, honey and olive oil together until the honey completely dissolves . Then season with black pepper to taste.
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 at least 5 minutes or until the leaves begin to soften and shrink in size.
- Next add your massaged kale, clementines and pomegranate seeds to a large bowl and toss in your desired amount of vinaigrette.
- Sprinkle your toasted pepitas over each individual bowl and serve immediately.
This recipe sounds delish so we are considering it for Thanksgiving, but it says this only serves two – if so does that assume it is an entree perhaps? Thanks
Hi Stephanie! Great question! The serving size listed is assuming this salad would be served as the only side dish with a protein. For Thanksgiving dinner I would suggest using the ratio of 1 large bunch of kale for every 4 people. We’ve made this in the past for 8-9 people and used 2 bunches of kale and it worked perfectly. I hope this helps! 🙂