Massaged Kale Salad

I am always looking for ways to make vegetables delicious, and this massaged kale salad recipe does just that! Without even tasting it, the bright, contrasting colors already draw you in. The aroma of fresh ingredients makes your mouth start to water. The textures are enticing, ranging from smooth to rough, crunchy to chewy. Then, of course the bursting flavors of tangy citrus, sweet honey and a little salt give all of your senses something to savor. 

Why is Kale a Superfood?

Ok, I know superfood is a term most dietitians roll their eyes at. This is because it doesn’t have a precise definition and the wellness industry seems to slap it on any item they are trying to sell. However, even the CDC recognizes that some vegetables are more powerful in preventing disease than others, and this is due to the abundance of nutrients. Kale, cruciferous veggies and fermented foods can also favorably impact gene expression.  

So, whether we call kale a superfood, powerhouse veggie or just a super healthy food, the label is valid. 

Kale is a Cruciferous Vegetable

Cruciferous vegetables include things such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, arugula, cabbage and more. They part of the Brassica family and fight disease, cancer and inflammation. This is primarily due to the presence of glucosinolates, which are metabolized in the body to form such compounds as isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol. These may be further conjugated into glutathione, a potent anti-inflammatory molecule that is necessary for phase II liver detoxification. While food and supplement sources of glutathione are poorly absorbed, cruciferous vegetables offer the building blocks that allow our bodies to make this important molecule!

Kale is Loaded with Other Nutrients Too

Beyond the phytonutrients listed above, kale also contains:

  • Vitamin A: 206% daily recommended value
  • Fiber: 3 g (10% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 134% DV
  • Vitamin K: 684% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 9% DV
  • Manganese: 26% DV

This is just a small snap shot of other, more common nutrients. Kale is among the most nutrient dense foods on the planet

Pro Tip: When Cooking Kale, Chop it First

This recipe uses raw kale, but just in case you are someone who likes to cook kale I wanted to offer some advice. (Sorry in advance for technical language) Chopping your kale before cooking, the glucosinolates are rapidly converted to myrosinase and metabolites can be absorbed. However, boiling cruciferous veggies inactives the myrosinase, preventing the breakdown of glucosinolates. Acids may also effect the conversion of glucosinolates into glutathione, but often to a lesser degree than cooking!

purple and green kale, vibrant nutrition RD

Why Massage Kale?

They say ‘you are what you eat’, so don’t you want your vegetables to be relaxed?

Ok, just kidding! 

In reality, massaging the kale with the acidic ingredients softens the rough texture. This makes it more delicious, and easier to chew and digest. Additionally, your kale will seem to shrink to at least half the size. So, don’t be surprised if you have a smaller salad than expected.

Massaged Kale Salad

Bright purple kale, crunchy almonds, chewy apples and home-made vinaigrette. This tangy, sweet recipe is a perfect way to enjoy this powerhouse vegetable!

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword massaged kale salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 220 kcal
Author Kasey


  • 1 bunch purple kale ribbed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese pasture raised
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 T white wine vinegar
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup honey


  1. Rib and chop kale: Hold kale by the tip of them stem with one hand, lightly pinch stem with other hand and move up the kale so that the leaf detaches from stem. Them, chop the kale into small to medium sized pieces. Place in large bowl. 

  2. Mix together all wet ingredients in separate, small bowl. Whisk until well combined. 

  3. Pour wet ingredients on to kale. Massage the vinaigrette into the kale pieces. This will allow the kale to break down and soften, making it easier to chew!

    *note: the acidic ingredients will break down the kale and the total volume of your salad will decrease by about 50%. Don't be surprised if your salad looks smaller after this process!

  4. Add crumbled feta, cranberries and almonds. Toss salad and voile!

Topics #healthy recipes #kale is a super food #massaged kale salad #whole food recipes