Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged kale, what!?  You’ve got to be kidding me right?  You massage your kale?

Yes, gentle readers, I most definitely massage my kale.  Actually, I’d do anything for my kale, because it’s my favorite food and I’m unabashedly in love with it.

Although kale has been becoming more “trendy” in recent years, I fear it still has a hard row to hoe to gain wide acceptance.  It is truly under-appreciated.  The most common comment I hear, (while randomly starting conversations about kale with people), is, “You eat that stuff?  We just used that for decoration back when I worked in this restaurant…”

Yes, gentle readers, I eat ‘that stuff’ and you should too.  Here’s why:

Kale is a superfood.  It is in good company with other superfoods such as salmon, walnuts, berries, pumpkin, brewer’s yeast, oatmeal, spinach, quinoa, beans, and sweet potatoes to name a few.  Superfoods are nutrient-dense foods bursting with vitamins and minerals that can positively impact your health.

Studies have shown that kale in particular, lowers cancer risk for at least 5 different types of cancers; specifically bladder, prostate, ovarian, breast and colon.  It has the most micrograms of vitamin K per cup of any other food in the food chain.  It is rich in omega 3’s and possess 45 different flavinoids, which act to detoxify with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits.  A nutrient-dense powerhouse, it’s no small wonder why it isn’t a staple at every table???

Well, it is around here… 

Kale can be steamed, sauteed, baked into yummy chips, wilted and yes, massaged!  Massaging was a new preparation for me as of last summer, when I attended a party at my dear friend Diksha’s and she served up one of the best kale salads ever!  I think she used this recipe, which comes from a Bastyr University faculty member.  I have taken that recipe and ran with it, making it several different ways and sometimes just massaging the kale and eating it plain, or I should say fighting my dear husband for it!  It is a versatile salad that has charmed even the most skeptical of critics, and whether or not you give a hoot about health, I promise this recipe won’t disappoint.  By massaging the kale with salt, you are tenderizing it and it loses that bitter quality which is a chief complaint of many.  In massaging, it is loses all of its un-accessibility and lends itself to a delightful crunch that is unmistakably fresh.  I dare you to not like it 🙂

Massaged Kale Salad

  • 1 (or more) LARGE bunch of kale, any variety
  • 1/2 t — 1 t salt
  • 1/3 C walnuts, chopped
  • 1-2 T Apple cider vinegar
  • 2-4 T olive oil
  • 1/2–3-4 of an apple ( I use pink lady or honeycrisp)
  • 1/4 C gorgonzola, or more!
  • 1/4 C dried cranberries
  • small handful of (shelled) sunflower seeds

Start with a LARGE bunch, hopefully more of washed, dried and chopped kale.  It can be any kind: leafy, curly, lacinato– you pick.  I like to do a combo of whatever I have.  Pluck or slice the leaves from the fibrous center ribs, (and feed the ribs to your dog).



Sprinkle the salt atop of the kale and massage for around 2 minutes or until the pile is reduced by 1/2 to 2/3  the size.  (If you don’t work with greens often, a tip is to have way more than you think you could ever eat, because they shrink dramatically).

Start with half of the salt,  (1/2 t) depending on how much kale you have.  If you use too much it can get too salty in a hurry. Of course it’s best to error on the side of caution.  I had a big bowl full tonight, and used the full amount of salt and it was perhaps a bit too much, but we are partial to salt, so we didn’t care.  I’m not sure of the company you keep, gentle reader, so it’s up to you…

Add the apple, walnuts, cranberries, and sunflower seeds. Add the oil and vinegar.  Start with the lesser amounts and toss. If needed, add more oil and vinegar to taste.  (It is hard to be exact when I don’t know exactly how much kale you have.  You want it lightly coated, not dripping).  Add the gorgonzola and enjoy!


I bet you’re all glad I’m not a food photographer 🙂

I encourage you to be creative with this recipe.  The kale is a starting point.  Some ideas I’ve had is to do an Asian-themed kale salad with mandarin segments, sliced almonds and sesame seeds with a honey, ginger and soy dressing, or an Italian-themed kale salad with grape tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella balls.  I have also served the above recipe with homemade smoked salmon pieces and with salmon in general as a main dish, for a quintessentially Northwest recipe with local, sustainably sourced ingredients.

Crappy photography aside, there is a lot to love about this method of kale preparation and since it doesn’t lose any nutrients to cooking it is the superior method, in my opinion.  Lettuce?  That’s just sad.  How very 2012 of you…  🙂

Kale fans, I know you’re out there, so speak up!  Share your favorite variety or recipe, (or questions) in the comments below.

**This post was shared with: Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Sunny Simple Sundays, Make Your Own! Monday, No Ordinary Blog Hop, Fat Tuesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, LHITS DIY Linky, Simple Lives Thursday, Real food Wednesday


  1. I like to slice my kale into short strips, and then toss it with carrots and cabbage for a slaw. It’s especially delicious with either a mandarin dressing or a teriyaki, mayo(alternative) dressing. Yummy!!

  2. How long will this keep in the fridge? Can I make it today and eat it for lunches all week?

    • I think the salad is better the next day 🙂 I’m sure it would be fine for all week, but I can’t testify because it doesn’t last that long around here! Maybe just leave the cheese out and add it as you eat it???

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