Massaged Kale Salad: A Template

June 4, 2014

Massaged Kale Salad - a Template

Kale is one of those foods that’s showing up everywhere. And for good reason, too–just a cup of this leafy green packs 206% of your daily recommended Vitamin A, 134% of Vitamin C, and 684% of Vitamin K. Research shows that a diet rich in Vitamin K can reduce the risk of cancer, and so kale’s reputation as a superfood is well-justified. Due to its popularity, we now have kale chips, kale pesto, kale in smoothies, juices, and veggie burgers. When a particular food is in vogue, it can be tempting to create a bunch of esoteric recipes, using one ingredient in many different iterations. As much as I love to play around in the kitchen, sometimes simple is best. Sometimes, you just need salad.

You may have heard of massaged kale before. Perhaps you’ve ordered this salad at your favorite restaurant, or maybe you’ve even tried to make the dish yourself but couldn’t quite master the “massaging” aspect. Follow this easy step-by-step guide to massaging your kale and you’ll have a tasty salad in no time.


-1 bunch curly kale, leaves removed from stems and torn into bite size pieces*

-½-¾ cup dressing of choice (must contain some fat source), my favorite recipe below

*You can use other versions of kale, such as lacinato (dinosaur) or red Russian, but I find that curly kale works best for massaging purposes.

Miso-Tahini Dressing

1/4 cup mellow white miso

1/4 cup tahini

1 tablespoon tamari

1/4-1/3 cup water, depending on how thick you like your dressing

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Start with ⅓ cup water and add more as needed (I like my dressing on the thicker side).

Step 1

Place washed and torn kale into large bowl. It will appear to be overflowing, but the leaves will wilt considerably once they are massaged.


Step 1.


Step 2

Pour half of dressing on bed of kale. To massage kale, begin to coat leaves in dressing, rubbing in between your hands until you feel the leaves beginning to soften. You’re gonna get messy, but I promise it’s worth it! Once the kale begins to wilt, add remainder of dressing to bowl, continuing to rub the dressing into the leaves until everything is coated.


Step 2.


Step 3

Add your favorite toppings! For this batch, I used yellow beets and fresh peas. Serve alongside a protein-rich side. Enjoy!


Step 3. Kale has wilted to half its size.

Other great add-on ideas: avocado, dried cranberries, apples, sprouts, any kind of nuts, black beans, chickpeas…really, the possibilities are endless!

What are some of your favorite kale salad pairings? Please share!

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Photo: Molly Lansdowne

Contributing Editor Molly Lansdowne lives in Boston, Massachusetts. In her free time, she enjoys writing, practicing yoga, and traveling around New England. Follow Molly on Pinterest @bostonvegan and Instagram @molly_lansdowne.


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