Fifteen Spatulas

Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad Recipe @fifteenspatulas

Massaged kale??!

I know, it sounds like some sort of high-maintenance nonsense vegetable treatment for what has arguably been one of the trendiest greens ever, but if you’ve never massaged your kale, you are missing out on something awesome.

Because frankly, massaged kale is nearly my favorite thing EVER. And it’s…kale…

How to Massage Kale for Salad

So what does massaging do exactly?

Rubbing the kale transforms the tough, bitter leaves into tender, silky, slightly sweet greens that are perfect for a raw salad.

First take your kale (I use lacinato kale, aka dino kale), and run your fingers up the stem to remove the leaves:

How to Strip Kale Leaves for Salad

Discard the stems (I’ve never found a good use for these) and tear up the leaves with your fingers.

Place the washed kale leaves in a big bowl and add your favorite dressing (or olive oil + balsamic) along with a pinch of salt. Start rubbing this all over the kale leaves, and rub the leaves between your fingers until it starts to break down and become silky.

Why you should massage kale for salad

After a few minutes, you’ll see the kale leaves lose a ton of volume, and start to wilt. This is the cellulose structure breaking down.

Now the leaves can be served with your favorite salad ingredients. I love doing Kale Caesars, or pairing with dried cranberries, pecans, and blue cheese:

Massaged Lacinato Kale Recipe


Massaged Kale Salad

Yield: Serves 2


1/2 lb lacinato kale (aka dino kale)
2 tbsp your favorite dressing
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans


Remove the leafy portion of the kale by running your finger along the stem, stripping the leaves off. Discard the stems, then tear the leaves into small pieces. Wash and dry thoroughly.

Place the washed kale leaves in a bowl and add the dressing and salt. Rub and massage the kale leaves together for a few minutes, until the kale loses a lot of volume and starts to wilt. Toss the kale with the other salad ingredients (like blue cheese, cranberries, and pecans), and enjoy!

6 comments on “Massaged Kale Salad

  1. We love massaged kale! It’s a great way to get the kids involved in cooking —and they’re way more likely to eat anything they cook. Even kale! This recipe looks great, we’ll definnitely try it out!

  2. I love massaged Kale – the first time I tried it I was so surprised by how different the texture was from regular kale salad – so silky.

  3. Whaaaa? I’ve never heard of this “kale massaging” and am so excited to try it! I LOVE your recipes. Seriously, everything I’ve made so far has been just great :) Keep up the good work!

  4. We recently joined a local farm CSA and one of the vegetables this winter is kale. Lots of kale. We’ve tried several salad recipes and no one said to massage the dressing into the leaves. (most said to marinate in lemon juice or EVOO). This was the best tasting and easiest salad to make. First time anyone went back for more.

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