Published on January 26th, 2013 | by Tanya Sitton


Vegan Recipe: Make-You-Sigh Massaged Kale Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts


Don’t tell the other greens, but kale is my favorite! Packed with iron, calcium, beta carotene, vitamins, potassium, and healthful phytochemicals, it’s also one of the most versatile leafy green veggies around. If you haven’t tried massaged kale yet, well, you’re just cheating yourself! The rubdown removes the sharp ‘cabbage-y’ flavor, and magically transforms kale into the perfect raw salad green. This salad comes together quickly, and packs a nutritional power-punch — while making your taste buds keel over (er, kale over?) from happiness!


  • 1 bunch curly green kale, about 8 -10 large leaves (washed well, stems removed, and leaves cut or torn into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 oz. (about 2 tablespoons) pine nuts
  • 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)


Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, shaking or stirring very frequently, for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sprinkle kale with salt,  and drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Toss well, then rub kale leaves between your palms for 1-2 minutes until softened and pliable.

Crush toasted pine nuts with mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or blender. Add crushed pine nuts, cayenne, and nutritional yeast to massaged kale. Toss to combine, adjust seasonings to taste, and serve immediately.

Production Notes

Massaged kale salads are  perfect for make-ahead lunches or pot-luck salads, since they won’t get wilty like spinach or other softer greens. To use this salad as a make-ahead dish, chill in an airtight container for up to 2 days, adding the crushed pine nuts just before serving.

For tasty variations, try adding some diced avocado, slivered red bell pepper, sliced black olives, or capers when you stir in the pine nuts.

If this recipe whets your appetite for greens, and you’d like more ideas for amazing things to do with kale (and every other leafy green your garden grows!), check out Nava Atlas’ excellent cookbook Wild About Greens.


Image credit: Creative Commons photo by daveeza.

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About the Author

is an ecovore, veganist, messy chef, green girl, food revolutionary, and general free-thinkin' rabble-rouser. M.S. in a health profession, with strong interests in biology, nutrition, and healthy living - find her on .

4 Responses to Vegan Recipe: Make-You-Sigh Massaged Kale Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts

  1. Dee says:

    i share your deep, passionate love for massaged kale salads! they are mmm-yum delish. the deliciousness of pine nuts added to that mix might be too much for me, make me pass out in a happy delirium or something. can’t wait to find out.. thanks for the tip!

  2. slywlf says:

    Oh my – this certainly has my taste buds all a-tingle! Kale is my all-time favorite green – though I have been branching out with a degree of success with collards and turnip greens recently. I only recently discovered the joys of massaged kale salads, and this sounds absolutely delish!

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