Quick 'Massaged' Kale Salad ♥

Quick 'Massaged' Kale Salad
Today's technique, not really a recipe, for raw leafy greens: An easy 'concept' salad, starting with ribbons of fresh kale rubbed with olive oil, ending with what's on hand. Low carb.

~recipe & photo updated & republished 2012~
~more recently updated recipes~

2008 Original: Truth is, not so many vegetable recipes knock me over anymore. But this one sure did. After gobbling up this plateful, I was glad to find that the greens bag from the fridge still had plenty of kale and broccoli rabe left over for another couple of salads.

The technique is dead easy. Just slice fresh greens into ribbons, then use your hands to massage the tiniest bit of olive oil into the leaves, softening them. (Many thanks to cookbook author and fellow blogger Nava Atlas for the technique tip!) I added half a blood orange and half a 300-minute egg (interesting in technique and color but otherwise unremarkable) -- a perfect light but filling lunch for a it's-still-January dieter.

Another day, I tried used the greens from raw broccoli rabe and its broccoli-like tips (very good!) and attempted a shortcut -- just tossing the greens and olive oil -- and learned that no, that's not enough, the 'massage' is key both to distributing the very tiny amount of oil throughout all the greens, also to softening the greens just a bit.

2012: Turns out, this is a salad technique I turn to especially during the winter, when leafy greens are so abundant and so appreciated when other fresh vegetables are scarce.

"[Making the night before] works! The kale stays soft and tastes fine. " ~ M
"... fabulous." ~ Sarabeth


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Serves 1 - as many as needed

Per Serving
A handful of fresh kale, stems sliced out and discarded/composted, leaves rolled into cigars and then sliced cross-wise into ribbons
1 teaspoon olive oil - use good olive oil
Salt - use good salt
Pepper - I used lemon pepper
Splash of vinegar - good vinegar, if you can

Possible Additions:
1/2 a blood orange, skin sliced off, halved vertically then sliced cross-wise into half moons, the texture/taste contrast is quite wonderful, a plain orange would offer the same benefit
1/2 a hard-boiled egg, sliced
Toasted nuts
Blue cheese crumbles
Slices of sun-dried tomato
Play around - this is a great salad!

PREP the KALE Wash the kale very well, soaking it if especially gritty, rinsing it under running water. Dry the kale in a salad spinner or between layers of paper towels. Slice off the heavy stems and discard. Stack two or three or more layers of leaves and roll like a cigar. With a sharp knife, cut cross-wise into ribbons.

MASSAGE the KALE With your fingers, rub the leaves with the oil, no need to be gentle, this is kale, after all. The idea is to massage it into the leaves, breaking down and softening the leaves, making it easier to eat. Take some time here, it takes two or three minutes to really work it in. At the end, work in the vinegar and season well with salt and pepper.

MAKE THE SALAD Arrange the leaves on a plate, then top with other salad items. Go for color, texture and temperature contrast, it's amazing to get so many sensations all at once.

To my taste, this salad needs a really good sprinkling of good salt.
One reason this salad made up so quickly is that the greens had already been washed. It's a Rachael Ray time-shifting tip that I love.

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Still Hungry?

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from A Veggie Venture

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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2008

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I wonder whether it would work to massage avocado into the kale instead of olive oil.... Looks yummy, thanks!

  2. I love kale. And what a sexy name for a salad, ;)

  3. I have to try this! I bought some kale at the market a couple of weeks ago, but the recipe I used turned it into a mushy mess. I love the orange-blue cheese-cashew combo too.

  4. Well this looks like a friday lunch - might have to be spinach here but it sounds like a great trick!

  5. Do you think it would work to massage the olive oil into the kale at night and put into tupperware for lunch the next day (leaving it in the fridge)? Or does it need to be massaged right before serving?

  6. You know, I'm not sure. I'd maybe try it both ways side by side, just to see. Will you report in? It would be great to know.

  7. It works! The kale stays soft and tastes fine. My massaged kale salad also had dried cherries and sliced almonds. YUM!

  8. Oh you're a dear! Thanks so much! That makes it so perfect for brown bagging, yes? Hmm. Off to buy kale! I think I'll take on my long holiday drive this year. Bye-bye McDs.

  9. Try it with lemon juice and some avocado!

  10. I tried this last night, but all I had were mandarin oranges. Still fabulous. Thanks, Alanna, for all the recipes that make my journey back on weight watchers easier.

  11. My father is a huge fan of kale salad and I always try to make it for him whenever we see my parents. He has yet to be fully blown away by any of the recipes i've tried. Simplicity is key, and yours looks perfect! Can't wait to try it. thank you for shearing your post.

  12. I'm always looking for new things to do with kale. The textures of this salad sound terrific. Thank you!

  13. I've made kale salad dozens of times with the regular kale. I just came back from Whole Paycheck with Lactinato kale, so I'll be making it with this kale tomorrow for lunch. I'll add some Herbs'de Provence Olive Oil from Raimondo Winery out of Gamaliel Winery in Missouri and their White Peach Balsamic Vinegar, too. An maybe some golden raisins, avocado, and raw chopped pecans. Is it tomorrow yet???

  14. I can't wait to get some kale...YUM...

  15. This sounds wonderful. I would never have thought of it and it is so nutritious.

  16. You're gonna laugh but we made this tonight with summer kale and peaches! What a wonderful combo. So versatile.



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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna