Leafy Green Happiness: Massaged Kale!

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Kale: I love it so much! I like it steamed, sautéed, dried into chips, and pretty much every other way you can prepare it. But my very favorite thing to do with it is to give it a little back-rub! It has come to my attention that far too many people in the world don’t know about the wonders of massaged kale. This is a terrible state of affairs, and must be rectified! With just a minute or two of effort, you can easily transform that healthy CSA or farmer’s market kale into the perfect raw salad green. Don’t cheat yourself: read on, and prepare to get hooked on kale!

Leafy Green Glam

Kale is one of those powerhouse foods that all the other veggies look up to: it offers diners a rich source of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as providing considerable amounts of of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. What’s not to love?!

Well — since you asked — some folks trying to add more leafy greens to their meal plans find raw kale too tough and strongly flavored for raw applications.

Sure, if you don’t like the flavor of raw kale you can steam it or stir-fry it or toss it into green smoothies


In all seriousness, you haven’t really given raw kale a chance until you’ve tried massaged kale!

What You Need:

  • 1 large bunch of fresh kale, ideally from the garden or farmers’ market or CSA (like many veggies, the sooner you can eat kale after harvesting it the better the flavor!)
  • 1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or your favorite vinegar), to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 1/2 Tablespoon extra-virgin (or regular) olive oil

What You Do:

Wash kale thoroughly, pat dry, and tear leaves from stems in bite-sized pieces — I like to reserve the kale stems for veggie broth later.

Toss kale leaves with salt and lemon juice in a large bowl, and drizzle with olive oil. With clean dry hands, rub handfuls of kale back and forth between your palms for a minute or two, until the leaves noticeably soften and reduce in volume.

Naturally you’ll need to taste a time or two (or five or ten!) to adjust salt as needed and test for done-ness. The combination of massage, acid, and salt transforms kale leaves into tender, mild, delicious bites of nom! Taste them until they’re perfect for tossing into your favorite green salad… or until you run out of kale!

Salads featuring massaged kale offer perfect make-ahead or pot-luck fare, since despite their mild flavor massaged kale leaves are sturdy enough to stand up to pre-dressing without wiltage. Stored in the fridge in an air-tight container, massaged kale keeps for 3-4 days (maybe longer, I just always eat it all by then).

Ta-da! That’s it: the perfect way to dish up raw kale. Enjoy!

Image credit: Creative Commons photo by Salim Virji.

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