Vegan Mofo Day 6: Massaged Kale Salad

Kale salad! throws glitter in the air. Whoopee! Yay! Whoop, whoop.

Ok, ok, so kale salad isn’t the most exciting thing in the world but who doesn’t like a decent kale salad? Truth be told, I’d never even heard of kale until a couple years ago. It was called for in a recipe I came across, so I ventured out to the grocery store and picked some up, brought it home, and stared at in bewilderment as if it was some strange creature from another planet. I chopped it up and threw it into whatever I was making (some kind of salad), stems and all, blah! Bad choice. Lesson learned: do not eat raw kale stems. It took me a while before I was able to buy my next bunch of kale, but even then I could only eat it if it was cooked or blended to oblivion in a banana heavy smoothie. Raw kale? No thank you. Yeah I knew it was good for me, yeah I knew it was full of vitamins and minerals, yeah I knew I sounded like a little kid by refusing to eat something because I thought it was yucky.

Then one day, I learned of a magical method, a method that changed how I viewed kale salads forever. Massaging the kale! I know just about everyone in the world probable already knows this, but I figure there’s got to be at least a few people out there who are unaware of this salad enhancing tip. Who knew something so simple could turn kale into something so tasty. All you do is mix your dressing ingredients together, pour it over your chopped kale (minus the stems) and massage the dressing into the leaves, keep massaging until you feel the leaves soften and just keep going until it gets to the texture you prefer.

The original recipe says to let the salad sit and marinate, but I think massaging the leaves is a way better method. I had this on the side with my lasagna, but fill it up with other veggies, baked tofu, beans or whatever else strikes your fancy and turn it into a main.


  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Adapted from VegNews Recipe Club


  • 1 bunch of fresh kale, de-stemmed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons walnut or flax seed oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Soy sauce or gluten-free tamari, to taste


  1. Tear kale into small, bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss together all the vegetables.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and tamari and pour over salad.
  3. Massage until the kale begins to soften and wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

6 thoughts on “Vegan Mofo Day 6: Massaged Kale Salad

  1. coldandsleepy says:

    Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m the person who didn’t know what massaging kale meant. I figured it was probably something like that but… thanks for clearing it up!

    I really like the kale salads that a local store’s deli makes, but have never managed to duplicate them adequately at home. Perhaps it does come down to the greenery rubbing.

  2. Mandee says:

    That does look like a good salad. I’ve never tried the massaging or marinating technique with kale I usually only like it raw or in green smoothies but I’ll try this with the kale I have growing in the garden.

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