Kale Salad with Pomegranate, Butternut Squash, Fennel, and Sunflower Seeds

Pomegranate Kale Salad - Cloud Thyme

I have been on a serious pomegranate kick for the past few weeks. Although I’ve always liked pomegranates, it was only recently that I learned an “easy” way to de-seed a pomegranate, which is obviously super exciting. So now I will share my newfound knowledge with you: first cut off the top and bottom of the pomegranate, then use knife to lightly cut lines from the top to bottom, creating wedges on the surface. When you use your hands to peel away each wedge, there will be clusters of seeds exposed and easy to pick them off or brush into a bowl. Yay! You can see video describing this better than me too. It’s just so rewarding when you finally get them all!

Although pomegranate seeds are delicious on their own, they are also the perfect addition to a superfood salad. I was about to go into all the nutritional advantages of pomegranates, but honestly all the ingredients in this salad are ridiculously good for you, so the list of total health benefits would be far too long! Even beyond nutrition, the combination of citrusy kale, sweet pomegrantes, crunchy sunflower seeds, buttery squash, and savory fennel is a refreshing dish in the winter. It doesn’t hurt that it looks a little Christmasy!

I tend to use cooked kale in my dishes, whether it be soups or sautés, but I decided to give the raw kale “massage” technique a try.  It is actually kind of fun to use your hands to massage the kale, and see the drastic difference it makes. The crispy bitter pieces quickly begin to wilt, soften, shrink, and mellow in flavor. The lemon, salt, and olive oil also help aid this process, which works out well with the dressing for this salad. With the ingredients already so flavorful, a simple citrusy olive oil vinaigrette balances it all out nicely.

Pomegranate Kale Salad - Cloud Thyme

For those of you who are meat eaters, I served this salad with pomegranate chicken, inspired by this recipe that I saw on Pinterest. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, because I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, but overall the chicken and salad was a delicious and festive combination that I highly recommend!

Hopefully you will enjoy your de-seeding, massaging, and snacking along the way as much as I did while making this recipe. Share and enjoy!

Pomegranate Kale Salad - Cloud Thyme

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, torn into pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp agave
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper

Pomegranate Kale Salad - Cloud Thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss butternut squash and fennel pieces in 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper.
  3. Place on baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until tender. Set aside, letting cool.
  4. Add all dressing ingredients (2 tbsp olive oil through salt and papper) in a small bowl or jar and stir/shake to mix well.
  5. Place torn kale pieces into a large bowl and add half of dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale for 3 to 5 minutes, or until kale is wilted and soft.
  6. Add pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds, butternut squash, fennel, and remaining dressing to kale and mix well. (Alternatively, for a nicer presentation, plate separately and drizzle remaining dressing individually over each serving.)
  7. Enjoy immediately!

Pomegranate Kale Salad - Cloud Thyme

Pomegranate Kale Salad - Cloud Thyme


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