Have you ever tried massaging kale? It makes for a glorious salad, and here I pair it with a few simple ingredients for a wonderful side dish.

Massaged Kale Salad - Plated on a White Dish with a Fork

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…

Lacinato Kale Leaves in Metal Colander

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:

Photo Collage Showing How to Strip Kale Leaves for Salad Using Fingers

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.

Photo Collage Showing How to 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:

Rubbed Kale Salad - Presented on White Plate with a Fork


Massaged Kale Salad with Feta and Cranberries

Massaged Kale Salad

Have you ever tried massaging kale? It makes for a glorious salad, and here I pair it with a few simple ingredients for a wonderful side dish.

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  • 1/2 lb lacinato 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!


Calories: 317kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 430mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 13g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.