Deliciously Tender Massaged Kale Salad


KALE seeds

Turn that super chewy and tough raw kale into a tender treat with a simple massage.  The other secret weapons of this recipe are sunflower seeds and mustard which transform these greens into a savory and satisfying dish.

The idea of massaging kale is bound to cause a raised eyebrow from anyone not familiar with the glorious result.  The process is so simple, I am still dumbfounded why the technique has not taken hold on a larger scale.

Don’t be surprised if you too are amazed by the transformation as the kale dramatically reduces in volume and becomes luxuriously soft.  To the untrained eye, it will even appear to have been cooked.

Try adding different dried fruits or toasted nuts to liven up the flavors even more.  Pine nuts are also amazing, but kinda expensive these days.

For the longest time, I was not into raw curly kale, because it took too much work just to choke it down.    Turns out, the kale just needs a relaxing massage.  This recipe is super easy and worth the quick forearm workout.  Your significant other will surely let you practice the massage techniques on them…

Let’s Cook!


Massaged Kale

  • 1 – large bunch of curly kale
  • ½ – lemon (juiced)
  • 1 tablespoon – olive oil
  • 1/2 cup – Sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup – dried cranberries


  • 1 tablespoon – balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon – Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon – fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons – olive oil

1. Wash kale by floating it in a sink of cold water.  Remove and give a gentle shake to remove excess water.

2. Strip leaves from the stems.  This is easily done by gripping the fattest end of the stem with your left hand, press your thumb and forefinger together, creating a tight circle around the naked stalk, and then strip the curly leaves by running your thumb and fore finger down the stalk.  This will remove the most turgid pieces of stalk and any remaining should easily disappear into the salad.

3. In batches, stack a handful of kale leaves together and roll to create a bunch.  Use a large chefs knife to cut into ½ inch strips.  This does not have to be too precise; you are just wanting to get the kale into more bite sized pieces.  Depending on the size of your kale, I will often turn the knife perpendicular and chop the strips in half or thirds to make them more manageable.  Repeat until all kale is cut.

4. Place kale into a large mixing bowl.  Add olive oil and lemon juice.  Use your hands to squeeze large handfuls of kale as if it were really stressed out needed a shoulder massage.  You will see the kale to begin to relax within seconds as you massage it, turning a brighter green.  Continue for 1-2 minutes until it becomes soft.  The volume will decrease by about 2/3.

5. Toast sunflower seeds in a medium skillet over low heat.  Stir frequently and cook for about 3-5 minutes until the seeds get slightly golden brown.  Add toasted sunflower seeds and dried cranberries to kale.

6. Add all dressing ingredients to a small mixing bowl.  Whisk gently until fully combined and emulsified.  Stir into kale mixture.


Leave a comment