Massaged Kale Salad

Here’s a way to “cook” a dark leafy green without ever turning a burner on. Just give a bunch of kale a deep tissue massage with a little sea salt.

Massaging kale: Start by de-stemming the leaves. Pull them away from the stems with a quick motion. Stack the leaves, roll up and cut into thin ribbons. Place kale in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with a scant teaspoon of sea salt. Then begin the massage using your hands. The LA Times says, “Give a deep tissue bone breaker amount of pressure.” While this seems a bit extreme to me, the goal is to break down the tough cellulose structure of the leaves. The whole process should take about 2 minutes. The ribbons will darken in color and their texture will become soft and silky.

Now that your kale is relaxed, try our favorite recipe for massaged kale.

Massaged Kale Salad with Optional Ingredients and a Dressing

1 bunch of kale massaged with about 1 teaspoon sea salt

Optional Ingredients:

½ cup walnuts, or hazelnuts coarsely chopped

¼ cup red or yellow onion, diced fine

¼ cup black olives, sliced

¼ cup red bell pepper, diced or cherry tomatoes sliced in half

½ cup sauteed mushrooms

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese or fresh goat chèvre


¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons vinegar of your choice


  • Place massaged kale in a good-sized serving bowl.
  • Stir your choice of optional ingredients into the kale.
  • Whisk the oil and vinegar together and pour over the salad. Toss into the salad.
  • Taste a piece of kale to check the balance of flavors, adding vinegar or salt if needed.

Try another variation of a massaged kale salad in an earlier recipe here –