This Kale Salad with Blueberries, Manchego and Pumpkin Seed Clusters is just what the doctor ordered! It is loaded with nutritious ingredients that will set you right back on course.

a plate of salad with the mise en place around it

Ingredients For This Recipe

Pumpkin seeds

For the seed clusters look for raw green pumpkin seeds, which are also called pepitas. Do not use jack-o-lantern seeds which are too hard and pithy. You could sub in chopped pecans if you like.

Honey

To sweeten the seed clusters, I used honey. If you have raw honey that has solidified, warm it up by setting your jar of honey into a bowl of warm water. Or you can melt it in a small saucepan over low heat. 

Cinnamon and chipotle powder or smoked paprika

To add seasoning to the seed clusters use a little cinnamon.

If you like spicy food, choose chipotle chili powder. If not use the smoked paprika. 

You’ll also want a bit of salt to make sure they stay savory. Use regular table salt instead of kosher salt. Or if you want to sub kosher salt read this first

Kale

You can use any variety of kale but for this I recommend that you use a flat leaf variety. I remove the stems and then finely chop it before washing it in my salad spinner. If you have home grown kale, make sure to inspect the back sides of the leaves for any pests before cutting it up! 

Salad Dressing

I like the way my Lemon Vinaigrette works with this salad. But my Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing also is yummy. For something different you could use Homemade balsamic dressing or Tarragon Vinaigrette. Feel free to cruise the complete list of salad dressing recipes here

Blueberries

The star of the show are the fresh blueberries. Frozen blueberries aren’t a great alternative because they are too watery once they are thawed. If blueberries are not in season, try another berry or chopped fruit. In the fall juicy diced pears are great. Dried fruit also is a nice alternative. Try using 1/2 cup dried fruit in place of the blueberries. 

Manchego or domestic hard sheep cheese,

  • The cheese for this recipe is sharp sheep’s milk cheese; Manchego is probably the most commonly known one. Since I love Vermont cheeses, I used a Vermont Sheep and cows milk blend, Invierno by Vermont Shepherd.
  • Either work great, or look for a locally made sheep’s cheese from your area. If you use the Manchego, just make sure to cut the waxy edge off.
  • I crumbled it by hand into small pieces instead of shredding. I love the way the cheese adds a big pop of flavor that really contrasts with the bitter greens and the sweet tart berries.

Freshly ground pepper

To finish off the salads, add on a grind or two of fresh peppers. 

How To Make Kale Salad with Blueberries

Make The Seed Clusters

The contrast of the sweet berries, kale and the spicy and sweet pumpkin seed clusters is amazing. The seed clusters are the perfect crunchy foil to add on top. They are a little sweet (and if you use the chipotle instead of the paprika- they are hot too.) 

  1. Mix the pepitas with the honey, cinnamon, chipotle (or smoked paprika) and salt.
  2. Spread the mixture out onto a sheet pan with a silicone mat or that’s coated with cooking spray.
  3. Bake the pumpkin seeds for 1o minutes to thicken the honey.  
  4. Stir the seeds and then continue baking them until the honey mixture isn’t shiny anymore and the seeds clump together. This only takes a couple minutes longer, so keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. 
  5. Let them cool on the baking mat and they will harden as clusters as they cool. 

Make The Salad

Blueberries and kale are both superfoods, so you won’t want to miss this combination! And not only are they both in season right now, but they are fantastic together. They are really the canvas for this recipe.

  1. Toss the greens with the dressing. You can massage the kale the way I do for my Massaged Kale Salad, to tenderize the greens before adding in the remaining ingredients. 
  2. Divide the kale among four plates. 
  3. Top the kale with the blueberries, crumbled cheese and finally the seed clusters.
  4. Grind on some pepper and serve!

Make Ahead Tips

  • Dressing: The dressing can be made up to one week in advance. If it has become solid in the refrigerator, warm the jar up in a bowl of warm water. 
  • Kale:  One of the great things about kale is that you can let it sit with dressing on it for quite a long time and it just gets better and better. So this recipe would actually be a great one to make in advance. If you do this, no need to massage the kale as it will naturally wilt as it sits with the dressing. This is a technique I used for my Overnight Kale Caesar Salad and it works wonders! Just make sure to wait until just before serving to add on the toppings. 
  • Cheese: Feel free to crumble the cheese in advance. Keep it refrigerated. It will have the best flavor if you bring it to room temperature before serving. 
  • Seed Clusters: Because it can be humid at this time of year, and honey is hygroscopic, the seed clusters can get tacky if they sit out too long.  They are fine for an hour or so. I just mention that in case you’re planning to make this for guests and want to prep ahead. Add them on top just before serving.

More Kale Recipes

  • This Festive Kale Slaw with Raspberries and Almonds is like the winter sister to this recipe! I used frozen berries to make the dressing and they add juicy tart sweetness to it! 
  • This Southwest Cobb Salad is served on top of a bed of shredded kale.
  • I call this Kale Thanksgiving Salad because it is worthy of one of the biggest foodie holidays of the year. It has roasted delicata squash, chevere and spiced nuts! It’s stunningly good my friends. That said, it is also great on days that aren’t Thanksgiving! 
    If you’re looking for a simple way to prepare kale, this Sauteed Kale with Cider Vinegar is very basic, but oh so good! 
  • This sugar-free Citrus Kale Salad is a refreshing winter salad made with clementines, feta and pumpkin seeds too. Are you sensing a repeating theme? Cheese plus fruit plus kale equals amazing yummy salad!  
  • You can also browse the several dozen kale recipes I have here on Healthy Seasonal.

More Blueberry Recipes

This Blueberry Almond Tart has a creamy yogurt layer underneath the fresh berries.

If you are in the mood for baking this Healthy Blueberry Lemon Bread is tender and moist and bursting with berries. 

Another sweet and savory blueberry combo is this Blueberry Quinoa Tabbouleh. Serve it as a vegetarian main course for lunch or a light dinner. 

This Gluten-free Maple Peach Blueberry Crisp is amazing even if you are not gluten-free! 

 

Thanks so much for reading. If you make this recipe for Kale Salad with Blueberries, make sure to leave a star rating and review. 

Happy Cooking!

~Katie

Print
closeup of kale salad

kale salad with blueberries, manchego and pumpkin seed clusters

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Kale Salad with Blueberries, Manchego and Pumpkin Seed Clusters is just what the doctor ordered after the weekend. It is loaded with nutritious ingredients that will set you right back on course.


Scale

Ingredients

Pumpkin seed clusters

  • 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked paprika
  • generous pinch salt

Salad

  • 1 large head kale, preferably a flat leaf variety cut into fine shreds
  • ½ cup lemon juice dressing
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 ounces Manchego or domestic hard sheep cheese, crumbled by hand into small pieces
  • Freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with a silpat cooking mat.
  2. Stir pumpkin seeds, honey, cinnamon, chipotle and pinch salt in a medium bowl. Spread out onto the baking sheet. Bake until the mixture is sticky and fragrant, about 10 minutes, Stir with a spatula and return to the oven. Bake until the pumpkin seed clusters are dried out looking and clump together, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let cool before removing from the baking sheet. They will stick together as they cool to form clusters.
  3. Toss kale in a large salad bowl with the dressing. Massage gently if desired to tenderize the kale. Transfer to four shallow bowls. Top with blueberries and Manchego.
  4. Just before serving top with the pumpkin seed clusters and fresh pepper.

Notes

Make Ahead Tips

  • Dressing: The dressing can be made up to one week in advance. If it has become solid in the refrigerator, warm the jar up in a bowl of warm water.
  • Kale:  One of the great things about kale is that you can let it sit with dressing on it for quite a long time and it just gets better and better. So this recipe would actually be a great one to make in advance. If you do this, no need to massage the kale as it will naturally wilt as it sits with the dressing. This is a technique I used for my Overnight Kale Caesar Salad and it works wonders! Just make sure to wait until just before serving to add on the toppings.
  • Cheese: Feel free to crumble the cheese in advance. Keep it refrigerated. It will have the best flavor if you bring it to room temperature before serving.
  • Seed Clusters: Because it can be humid at this time of year, and honey is hygroscopic, the seed clusters can get tacky if they sit out too long.  They are fine for an hour or so. I just mention that in case you’re planning to make this for guests and want to prep ahead. Add them on top just before serving.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 334
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Sodium: 176 mg
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 32 g