Massaged Kale Salad


Here a pungent garlicky dressing is infused into kale by massaging the greens and the dressing together with your hands. Any type of kale will work in this recipe, just remember to remove the tough stems before you start.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
6 servings, about 2 cups each

What Type of Kale Should I Use?

We use curly kale for this recipe, but any type of kale will work. Curly kale is the most common type of kale. It has hearty, curly leaves with woody and fibrous stems. Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or dinosaur kale) is another common type of kale. The stems on the Tuscan variety are also woody and fibrous, but the leaves are flatter than curly kale. Check out our tips for buying and storing kale and learn about the health benefits of kale.

How to Prep Kale

In a large bowl, submerge kale in cold water and wash off any sand and grit. Hold onto the stems and pull off the leaves. Alternatively, you can slice along each side of the stem with a knife. Tear or chop the leaves into small pieces and place them in a large bowl. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to cut kale.

How to Massage Kale

Massaging kale helps break down the vegetable's fibrous texture. This makes it easier to chew and decreases the volume of the leaves so you can eat more of it and get more of its nutrients. With clean hands, firmly massage and squeeze the leaves to work in the dressing, breaking them down slightly. Stop when the volume of kale is reduced by about half. The kale should be softer in texture, with a darker and shiny appearance.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


  • 2 bunches kale

  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼ cup lemon juice

  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 minced anchovy fillet or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Strip kale leaves from the stems (discard stems). Wash and dry the leaves. Tear the leaves into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, anchovy (if using), pepper and salt. With clean hands, firmly massage and crush the greens to work in the flavoring. Stop when the volume of greens is reduced by about half. The greens should look a little darker and somewhat shiny. Taste and adjust seasoning with more Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce and/or pepper, if desired.

    Massaged Kale Salad


Large bowl


People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

183 Calories
15g Fat
9g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 183
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 5g 11%
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Vitamin A 7619IU 152%
Vitamin C 95mg 106%
Folate 109mcg 27%
Sodium 335mg 15%
Calcium 175mg 13%
Iron 1mg 7%
Magnesium 40mg 10%
Potassium 407mg 9%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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