How to Massage Kale

Learn how to massage kale leaves, and your salads will become even more flavorful.

Kale Salad with Cranberries

While tasty in recipes like Feta, Kale & Pear Salad and Superfood Chopped Salad with Salmon & Creamy Garlic Dressing, raw kale can have a bitter flavor and fibrous texture when not prepared properly. When you massage it, it transforms from rough to tender in every bite. Learn how to massage kale in two easy steps and you'll want to use this nutritious vegetable every chance you get.

Benefits of Massaging Kale

While massaging kale might seem like a fussy step, the benefits are plentiful. First, massaging kale helps break down the vegetable's fibrous texture, leaving the leaves with a softer texture. Massaging kale is also an easy way to infuse flavor into raw leaves without cooking and make a dish even better. Recipes like Kale Salad with Cranberries (pictured above) and Massaged Kale Salad with Grapes & Cheddar use this technique, and we think taking the extra time to enhance your next kale salad's texture and flavor is worth the effort.

How to Massage Kale

Step 1: Mix the Dressing

Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette
Eva Kolenko

First, mix the dressing you plan to use with your salad in a bowl large enough to hold the kale. Whether you're using Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette (pictured above), Classic Dijon Vinaigrette or another dressing, be sure to whisk the dressing well so everything has emulsified. Here you might also add spices or other add-ins like honey, garlic or shallots to the mix.

Step 2: Massage Kale Leaves

Once you have your dressing ready to go, add your chopped kale to the bowl. Using clean hands, coat the kale with the dressing, then squeeze the leaves to break them down slightly and to get the flavor of the dressing into the leaves. After a few minutes of massaging, the kale leaves will be darker, softer and will have reduced in size. Once your kale is ready, toss in other tasty additions like nuts, seeds, dried fruit or cheese and enjoy!

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