Signature Postpartum Meal – Tortellini & Kale Salad

For the last year or so, almost every time I needed to make and bring a meal to a postpartum family or to a potluck, I have made the following salad, always with rave reviews!

It has become just the thing that I do. I do not have an official recipe (I am terrible at not following them and not writing things down), but I have attempted to describe the process here.

And it *IS* a salad, so it is kind of hard to mess up — at least, in my world.


Cheese* Tortellini and Kale Salad

For the massaged kale part:

  • very large bunch of kale (green and Russian red make for the best, but “dinosaur” or Tuscan can work)
  • olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • sea salt
  • lemon juice (lime could be fun too)

For the veggies & toppings:

  • sweet bell peppers (skip the green bells, because this salad wants colour!)
  • red onion, scallions, or shallots
  • heirloom baby tomatoes (halved or quartered, depending on size)
  • sliced Castelvetrano olives (or black olives)
  • goat milk feta (or Parmigiano-Reggiano or no cheese or vegan cheese)
  • julienned shiitake mushrooms
  • sliced hearts of palm
  • pine nuts, sliced almonds, or crushed walnuts (or no nuts)
  • sliced or cubbed avocado
  • anything you want, just make it fun, colourful, and nutritious

For the tortellini:

  • cheese tortellini (or vegan tortellini)

*if tortellini isn’t an option for whatever reason stand-ins could be:

  • cubbed tofu (baked or marinated is better)
  • cubbed seitan
  • cubbed chicken/turkey/salami
  • non-filled pasta in fun shapes (farfalle or “bow tie” is a fave)

For the dressing:

  • I like Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette or Champaign Vinaigrette, but anything that sounds good to you!


Rip up your kale into manageable to eat pieces. Put kale, a sprinkling of salt, healthy dose of oil, and juice of about half a lemon into a large bowl. Then massage the kale, mixing everything together, for about 2 to 4 minutes.

Next you can add your veggies and toppings or let the massaged kale sit, covered, in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. It gets better if left at least 8 hours, in my opinion.

Cook your tortellini and cool it. It can be cooked the day before and stashed in the fridge. You will want to mix it with some oil and/or some of your dressing so it doesn’t become a giant clump in the fridge.

Mix your veggies, toppings, tortellini, and dressing all up.





  1. Celishia says:

    As a person who received this salad, I agree, totally delicious! And it kept well over a few days. My whole family loved it, thanks again!

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