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

This kale salad with strawberries is quick, seasonal 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, one of my favorite hard cheeses, gives it that salty goodness. I topped mine with grilled chicken since it was what I had in my fridge. But you could also top it with plain chickpeas, shrimp, salmon cakes or serve it without any added protein.

If kale makes you nervous, this is a great option to start with! (This is another favorite kale salad recipe!) Spring is a perfect time to try this salad because kale and strawberries are in season and available at most farmers markets!

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

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

What’s the deal with massaging kale?

Kale is SUPER high in fiber, and it also contains B vitamins, and vitamin C, which promotes iron absorption. Lacinato Kale is my favorite kale for salads, but it can be a little tough so I always thinly slice or tear it up. And sometimes, I’ll even massage it.

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 and a little bit of olive oil to soften the kale, massaging it with your hands. Unlike other leafy greens, it won’t get soggy and wilty when it sits with salad dressing or olive oil on it.

Kale Salad Variations and Toppings


Pepitas, aka pumpkin seeds, are a great source of healthy fats, magnesium and zinc. I often caramelize them because it makes them crunchier and sweeter, but if I’m in a rush, raw ones work great too. Slice almonds work well in this recipe too.

Dried Fruit

Dates also help add some sweetness to this salad. Any dried fruit – like cherries, cranberries or apricots – will work well!

Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit adds another layer or sweetness to balance the bitter kale, and using fresh fruit adds crisp texture, while the dried fruit gives it chewiness! Pairing it with strawberries is a must when they are in season, like right now. In the summer, I add pears. And in the fall, I go for crisp apples!


If you’re dairy free you can skip the Pecorino Romano, but if you aren’t, add every bit of it. It’s similar to parmesan, but typically cheaper and I like it better.


Chicken, shrimp, tofu, tempeh, salmon cakes or chickpeas all work well on this! I bet sliced steak would be delicious too!

If you want more salad tips and recipes, be sure to get my salad ecookbook!

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Kale Salad with Strawberries

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!


  1. Caramelize pepitas in a skillet over medium-low heat for a minute or two. Keep a close eye since they’ll burn easily!
  2. Place kale in salad and top with strawberries, dates, pecorino romano, pepitas and protein of choice.
  3. Drizzle with salad dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper.


This is a basic salad dressing I often pair it with!

Keywords: salad, kale, dinner, lunch

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  • Reply

    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!)

  • Reply
    Emily Jane Wakefield

    yum! I love when you share recipes or even quick snapshots of your meals on Instagram- this is making me want to go out and buy kale!

    • Reply
      Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      That’s so helpful! I’ll keep doing that on Instagram and I never know if people actually want recipes here since I don’t hear much feedback on them! Thanks for your comment!!

  • Reply
    Century Foods

    Oh my, made this today and it was a success!!! thanks so much for the delicious and healthy recipe!

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