Massaged Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Beets

As the weather starts to cool off, let’s move away from the summer salads into more heartier fare like Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets. 

Massaged Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Beets from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen

My pug might not be the brightest guy on the block, after all he has a tendency to want to run into the street but if Pavlov was still around, he’d be mighty proud of this little fella.

Without fail when the peeler comes out or if something orange is spotted in the kitchen, a freakout is bound to happen.   You see this dog has associated the sound of peeling with him getting a carrot, which also means if it’s orange it must be a carrot.  Sure it’s great that he loves healthy treats but sorry dude not everything that gets peeled is for you.  Plus it’s time for fall harvest foods, there will be a lot more peeling going on in the kitchen, get used to it.

Massaged Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Beets | The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen

We can blame the current freakout on the fact that I decided to chop up and peel a butternut squash instead of purchasing it pre-cut like I normal do.

I know. It’s a shock, I’m not one to take shortcuts but since I generally like to refer to butternut squashes as knife killers, I tend to let this one slide.  So why the change this time around?  I’ll tell you why – because despite the two fancy chef knives sitting at home, it took a third one from Cutco Cutlery to do the trick.  Their knives just cut through that squash with such ease and the ergonomic handle doesn’t hurt my wrist after hacking at the squash.  Actually there is no hacking involved, just a smooth cut down the center – my squash was chopped up in half the time it normally takes me.

Massaged Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Beets - The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen

When Cutco asked if I’d like to participate in their Fall Harvest event I couldn’t say no, especially since my CSA is tossing us fall foods left and right at this moment.   The first thought that came to mind was a simple hearty harvest salad, one that would be great for a light lunch, to compliment or dinner or as a full meal with some protein tossed on top.

If you aren’t familiar with massaged kale salads the technique to make them is right in the name, you actually do massage your kale.  A quick chop with your new knife, a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and get to massaging the kale as if your significant other had a tough day at work.  In a matter of minutes the kale will transform to big bulky leaves to the wilted ones you see in this photo.   The kale has the appearance of being cooked yet is still very much raw but it’s become nice and tender from the lovely massage you just gave it.  Toss in your roasted squash, beets, walnuts and olive oil and you are good to go!

Massaged Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Beets
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  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoons neutral oil (grapeseed or avocado oil)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale (dinosaur kale)
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • extra virgin olive oil


  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lay the cubed squash and beets on the sheet in an even layer and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and start to crisp up and brown, be careful not to overcook and burn the beets.
  4. Remove the kale leaves from the stems and roughly chop, add to a medium mixing bowl with the lemon juice and kosher salt.
  5. Massage the kale leaves for 3-5 minutes or until the leaves have wilted and are tender and silky.
  6. To serve divide the massaged kale between the salad plates and top with the roasted beets and squash. Finish with the toasted walnuts and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Serves approximately 4 people
Recipe Type: salad, vegetables

Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets from The Girl In the Little Red Kitchen

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Fall Harvest kit from Cutco Cutlery, however all opinions stated in this post are my own.

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8 thoughts on “Massaged Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Beets

  1. Pingback: Massaged Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Beets | 4theloveofcocktails

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  3. Carol at Wild Goose Tea

    I am an animal person, sooooo I loved hearing about your silly sweet pug. Thank you for explaining how you massage kale. Ha! Definitely a salad with a little ‘meat’ in it. By the way Good Luck
    with your cookie baking business.

  4. Sharon

    i went on Cutco looking for the Fall Harvest Kit and did not see it. What knife did you use as I am looking for a knife, any knife that would easily cut squash!

    1. Susan Palmer

      Hi Sharon, the Fall Harvest Kit was a basket that Cutco made for participating bloggers. I would suggest either their 9 1/4 French Chef Knife or the 7 5/8 petit chef if you didn’t want one so large. Be care though, the knives are very sharp! I’ve already cut myself twice without noticing it at first. It’s a great thing about the knife but dangerous!

  5. Cut 'N Clean Greens

    Wonderful fall salad with magnificent flavors!
    “Tender and silky…” exactly right.

    We’re going to share on our social media channels and link here so everyone can see your lovely photography and recipe. This salad should be on everyone’s table!

    –Your friendly Southern California farmers at Cut ‘N Clean Greens

  6. Pingback: Butternut Squash and Spinach Manicotti | Aggie's Kitchen

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