Fresh From Nancy's Garden

A Fun Place For Gardening Tips and Great Recipes

A "Massaged" Kale Salad I Promise You’ll Love

Yes, you read that correctly–I did say massaged kale. In fact, that’s the secret to making kale taste like…well…like a real salad. 

I don’t know about you, but chewing kale made me feel like I had “earth” in my mouth. So recently when I was asked to bring a kale salad to a holiday dinner party for 50 guests I got nervous. I Googled kale and all you could do with it and then I came across the massage method. I had to give it a try–at least someone was going to get a massage out of the deal!

The salt actually breaks down the kale and makes it as tender as Romaine lettuce. After tenderizing it you can add just about anything that you’d put on any salad. I used my favorites–Craisins, glazed pecans, thinly sliced red onions and blue cheese. It was a crowd pleaser and several people asked me to write about it here.

And I did promise you we’d start the New Year with something healthy and fresh from my garden. 

  • 2 bunches of dark green Dino Kale with large leaves 
  • 1 bag organic chopped kale with red cabbage and carrots (I had to cheat a little by adding this)
  • 2-3 tsp. sea salt (for the massage)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced in half moons
  • 6-8 oz. package Craisins
  • 6-8 oz. crumbled Blue Cheese
  • 8-10 oz. glazed pecans, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 fresh lemon, juiced
  • fresh ground pepper
Remove the stiff stem on all the leaves, rinse and pat dry.

Tightly stack the leaves and roll them like a cigar. Cut once down the middle and then across to chiffonade the kale into bite-size pieces.

Put in a bowl and add 1 tsp. sea salt. I work in batches and add a little salt with each batch.

Now for the crazy fun part. Begin to massage the kale. Keep massaging for 2 whole minutes. You’ll be amazed at the shrinkage! But this is what makes the kale tender and delicious.

Put in salad spinner to remove excess liquid. You should taste it at this point. It will be salty, but not excessively. If you’d like, you can rinse with water and spin dry. As I mentioned I had to add a bag of “store-bought” pre-cut kale since I didn’t have enough growing in the garden. So don’t worry if you don’t grow your own. I massaged it as well and it was just fine. 

Add your favorite toppings. I put in Craisins, thinly sliced red onion (mandoline-cut), crumbled Blue Cheese and glazed pecans that Mindy Nokes made me for Christmas. (Thanks, Mindy).

The dressing couldn’t be easier to make. Pour red wine vinegar in a glass bowl, squeeze the juice of half a lemon, and whisk in the olive oil to emulsify. Taste…if it’s too tart for you, add more olive oil. Whisk in fresh ground pepper. Toss the salad.

Plate, serve and enjoy–both the salad and the compliments I promise you’ll receive.

Here’s another good tip. This salad can be made in advance. It doesn’t wilt. In fact, it tastes better as the flavors blend. I’ve never had any left over, but I was told it’s even good the next day. 

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3 replies

  1. WOW, looks soo healthy and amazing too 😀

  2. Your salad sounds delish! Thanks for tip on using salt to break it down! Can't wait to give it a spin. Ha!

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