Massage That Kale

Posted by Jessica Meyers Altman on

We grow a lot of greens and eat them at pretty much every meal except breakfast (although no reason why you can't eat them then too!).  To the right is a picture of some of our spring greens, mezuna, lettuce (just starting), arugula, and spinach.
We just finished eating an awesome kale salad, so I figured I'd share my secret.  Have you heard about massaging kale? My husband always jokes that we have the most relaxed kale in town!  Kale can often be tough if it has been grown for a long time, as is the case with most grocery store kale.  To make it more tender, and less bitter, you want to massage it with citrus zest and usually a fat. Most massaged kale recipes call for the use of an avocado as the fat component. If you're omitting higher calorie foods like avocados, you can swap it out with some mashed white beans to create a similar effect.  I do both.  


The art of the massaged salad is exactly what it sounds like. You will give that kale a good ol'rub down!  De-stem the kale by holding the stem with one hand and slide your other hand up along the center, removing the leaves.  The stem is tough and bitter, and not best for eating.  Chop the kale, and squeeze fresh lemon juice on it.  I usually use one head of kale and 1 lemon, as a ratio, a head equalling about 7-8 cups of chopped kale. Next step is to massage it with either a can of mashed white beans or 1 avocado. You literally massage the leaves. As you do this, you'll notice the color of the leaves change from a dull green to a bright green, similar to what would happen if the kale was blanched.  This massaging process actually breaks down the cell walls in the kale and makes it more tender to eat. It turns a raw food into a cooked texture, while preserving the raw nutrients, and makes them easier to digest.  Many people who have difficulty with raw greens, especially kale, find that eating it in this manner helps them to both enjoy and digest the food better (recipes below)

I love making massaged kale throughout all seasons, highlighting a component of what's in-season at the time.  My latest salad used fresh dill from the garden and it was a great combo with some fresh cucumbers and pumpkin seeds.  

Plus-take this time to plant some kale!!! Super easy to grown, kale is inexpensive and will grow all season long until frost.  In fact, all greens are inexpensive and easy to grow!!!  Grab some seeds, they can be planted at any time throughout the growing season!  Swiss Chard, Collards, and kale are the best to withstand summer temps, and spinach, arugula, mezuna, and lettuces do better with cooler spring and fall temps.  Start now!

Check out my video on how to harvest greens :)


Recipes for Massaged Kale, plus check out my blog for more salad recipes coming soon! 

Happy eating...

-Jess from

Massaged Kale Salad With White Beans

Moroccan Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad With Blueberries



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