Food/ Recipes

Kale Salad with Strawberries, Caramelized Pepitas, Dates & Pecorino Romano

This kale salad with strawberries is quick and delicious. Add your favorite protein and make it a lunch or dinner! With strawberries, caramelized pepitas, dates and pecorino romano, you get the best combo of sweet and crunchy and a great source of iron!

Kale will forever be one of my favorite bases for a salad. It’s super hearty, I love the texture and it pairs well with fruit and cheese. And everyone knows those are really the best part of a salad. This kale salad with strawberries, dates and pepitas is a great combo of sweet, salty, chewy and crunchy. Plus, the kale gives is some major staying power (three cups of kale, which is roughly what I use– has 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.) Pecorino romano gives it that salty goodness – it’s one of my favorite hard cheeses. I topped mine with grilled chicken since it was what I had in my fridge. You could also top it with chickpeas, or serve it as a side salad.

How does kale help your body?

Kale is SUPER high in fiber, and just like almost all leafy greens, it’s also high in water. It also contains B vitamins, and vitamin C, which promotes iron absorption. Lacinato Kale (or Dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale, or Black Kale) is in my opinion the best kale for salads. It can be a little tough so I always chop or tear it up. I am a huge fan of this kind of kale.

What’s the deal with massaging kale?

Massaging kale helps break down the tough cell structure and gives the kale a softer texture and sort of a gentler flavor. I think it makes it easier to digest and enjoy. All you need to do is use your hands to soften the kale. Unlike other leafy greens, it won’t get soggy and wilty.

Kale Salad with Strawberries, Caramelized Pepitas, Dates & Pecorino Romano

kale salad with strawberries and chicken  kale salad with strawberries and chicken

What’s the difference between pumpkin seeds and pepitas?

There really isn’t one. Pepitas are pumpkin seeds from specific pumpkins! They are a great source of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc. I caramelize them because it makes them crunchier and sweeter. It’s also kind of fun to watch them pop.

What should I add to a kale salad?

Dates also help add some sweetness to this salad. I use dates with pits and before I add them in a salad, I take the pits out and tear them up. Have you tried dates? I am seriously obsessed. They are like natural candy and I eat them as such ;).

The strawberries are a major must, especially when they are in season! I love how Kale holds up with other additions in salads. I feel like other greens wilt really quickly if I add a juicy fruit, but not kale! Kale salad with strawberries might just be my all time favorite.

If you’re dairy free you can totally skip the Pecorino Romano, but if you aren’t, add every bit of it. Seriously, I go wayyy overboard with this stuff because it’s literally SO good.

And of course, add protein you’d like.

Here’s the recipe!

kale salad with strawberries and chicken

Kale Salad with Strawberries, Caramelized Pepitas, Dates & Pecorino Romano

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  • Author: Teri
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 7 minutes
  • Yield: 1 salad 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Salad


This kale salad hits the spot on multiple fronts. Kale is a great source of iron, and it goes well with almost anything!



  • 3 cups kale, tough stalk removed and chopped
  • 5 strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tablespoon pepitas + 1 T sugar for caramelizing
  • 12 dates, chopped (pit removed)
  • Pecorino romano
  • Protein & dressing of choice! (I topped with salmon cakes & used tahini maple dressing, both from Run Fast Eat Slow.)


  1. Caramelize pepitas in a skillet for a minute or two
  2. Assemble salad

Keywords: salad, kale, dinner, lunch

I hope you enjoy this Kale salad! Let me know how it is, and if you change anything! I LOVE variations!


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  • Shannon

    YUM! This makes me want salmon cakes and I love the Run Fast, Eat Slow book. Thanks for sharing. I love keeping it simple and this is a great combo I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of! (strawberries too, which I have plenty of!)