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Massaged kale salad in a white bowl

Massaged Kale Salad

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Massaged Kale Salad is a terrific way to enjoy this healthy, flavorful green! An easy manual technique will make you a kale fan!

Before the days of baby kale, putting kale in a salad could give your jaw a workout. But a simple technique makes for a delicious salad no matter the type of kale greens are used.

Massaged Kale Salad topped with tomatoes and seeds in a white bowl

Massaged Kale Salad

Yup, I’m a wee bit late jumping on the massaged kale salad bandwagon that hit the net over the past year. All it took was a nudge from my brother-in-law (yes, this is the brother of my picky hubby) to find some kale recipes for his family. Apparently, their CSA deliveries were heavy on greens and they needed some palatable options. I referred him to a kale salad recipe on Epicurious…which he immediately tried and gave extremely positive feedback.

I tweaked the original recipe by using tomatoes instead of mangoes and sprinkling with salted sunflower seeds versus pepitas. I made a small batch, knowing that there wasn’t going to be any miraculous change in the hubby’s palate.

Massaged Kale Salad in a white bowl with toppings of seeds and tomatoes

Easy Kale Salad Recipe

I recommend using baby kale so you don’t have to deal with any tough ribs or leaves, but it’s not mandatory. But a word of caution if you have even a wee paper cut on your hands…the massaging process will sting! And I was truly surprised how much I enjoyed this simple salad preparation. I will be whipping up this massaged kale salad again. Maybe if I don’t mention the “k” word, the hubby might give it a shot!

Massaged Kale Salad | With tomatoes and sunflower seeds, this salad is healthy and delish!

Massaged Kale Salad

A massaged kale salad with cherry tomatoes and sunflower seeds

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 4 servings


  • 10 ounces baby kale
  • Juice of one lemon, divided
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2-3 tablespoons salted sunflower seeds


  1. In a large bowl, mix kale, the juice of half the lemon, a bit of kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil. With your hands, massage the kale for about 2-3 minutes.
  2. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the rest of the lemon juice with the honey and black pepper to taste.Slowly drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, whisking constantly to allow for emulsification.
  3. Drizzle the kale with the dressing and toss. Add tomatoes and sunflower seeds, toss again and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2089mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 8g


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57 comments on “Massaged Kale Salad”

  1. I have yet to try a massaged kale salad but I think yours would strongly convince me to give it a try ;). Love the sunflower seed topping!

  2. You make the prettiest salads

  3. LOL. I’ve been enjoying kale for quite a while now but had no idea people were literally massaging the greens…Thank you for bringing me up to speed, Liz =)

    Your choice of seeds and tomatoes look to be a good dress up for kale =)

  4. It’s really massaged? I thought that was just a name for, I don’t know, stirring vigorously. It looks amazing. I love your changes too. I’m not a mango fan but I’d jump all over the tomato idea.

  5. I’m still scared of kale…

  6. Hmm. Apparently I missed this memo altogether because I had no idea people were fondling their greens this way. πŸ™‚ Usually kale is too bitter for me and only the oven roasting (kale chips) makes it sweet enough. Maybe I need to massage it?

  7. Love your salad! How simple, nutritious and perfectly easy! We’re going to feature this on our Facebook page and link here so people can see how you made it, and your lovely photography. Please come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on super healthy greens like kale, chard, beet, mustard, turnip, collard and other green leafies.

    –Your friendly Southern California farmers at Cut ‘N Clean Greens

  8. LOL…not used to seeing green over here, but I think I like it!! I’ve got a big bag of kale in the fridge dying to be used!

  9. I’m planning to make a kale salad tonight. I had no idea that massaged kale was actually massaged… hmm maybe I should try this on ours tonight.

  10. This is perfect timing – I have lovely Kale in the garden and have been wondering how to serve this. Tonight’s salad! Thanks Liz.

  11. What an interesting salad! Massaged Kale is a new one for me, thanks for sharing! I’ve learnt something new today!

  12. I love the changes you’ve made.. I’ve never massaged my kale, I wonder if it is to soften the texture? Baby kale is much more palatable for my taste, but not easy to find. I so wish I had those CSA deliveries.. I must look into that here!! Lovely photos today!! xx

  13. massaging Kale? alright… =)
    The salted sunflower seeds are a brilliant addition to the salad. That will give some crunch and a different texture choice while enjoying the salad. Nice one Liz!

  14. Well Lizzy you beat me! I have yet to make/eat Kale. But this really must change and this looks like a great place to start!

  15. THis looks and sounds fabulous Liz, I just noticed that my local grocery store is carrying baby kale and picked some up yesterday β€” perfect timing.

  16. I had no clue that “massaged kale” was truly massaged!
    Love the honey in the salad – Great idea!

  17. Dear Lizzy, I grew up with dishes like this. My mom always made a first dish that was similar. I love this with delicious crusty bread and lots of grated cheese. Blessings dearest. Catherine xo

  18. Meditation in a salad πŸ™‚ I know it is a craze but you are only the 2nd I see. I have to try it, looks very nice.

  19. This salad is so fresh and delightful…Definitely, an ideal summer dish!!!

  20. I love kale salad, I eat one once a week! However I haven’t done your method, I usually just toss and go!

  21. I love baby kale in a salad and I was late too for the band wagon as we just starting eating this in salad not that long ago!! Your salad looks delish!!

  22. I love massaged kale, and I find the smaller the leaves are cut, the more I like it. Trader Joe’s has it in a bag, all washed and cut, it’s wonderful! I love the simple freshness of your salad, sounds delightful!

  23. This sounds so nutritious and would be a nice addition to the topping on a sandwich.

  24. I love the idea of a ‘massaged’ salad this looks so delicious πŸ˜€


  25. The massaging part brings out the kid in me and I chuckle each time I read it. It sounds like my kind of salad with or without the mangoes.

  26. I tend to shave my kale more than massage it, but this is a good method. And I agree on the baby kale! Really nice combo of flavors – thanks.

  27. What a great way to enjoy kale. I don’t eat it near enough and this recipe has made me want to go buy a big bunch. Thanks Liz!

  28. I made one of these a while back. I don’t think my massage skills were very good. I felt ridiculous and it didn’t turn out well to boot. My husband made me swear I would never serve one again. Maybe if I get him to read this he will allow another attempt.

  29. Better late than never I’d say! This looks delicious!

  30. I’m new to massaging. I am not in a love affair with kale like 97% of the universe. I’ll try this and I’ll check for paper cuts first. πŸ™‚

  31. All I saw was the word massage in my side bar and I jumped right over Liz. Little did I know that there was actual massaging going on and it wasn’t on my stiff neck, lol (busy fair weekend:) I guess I’ve been sleeping under a rock too because I knew nothing of this salad and now, I am so happy to make its acquaintance!

    Thanks for sharing…

  32. Hey Lizzy! …I’ve never even heard of massaged kale before…does massaging it release the flavors and juices? You know, I don’t actually believe I’ve had kale…well, I’m sure I have, probably just didn’t realize it…all those green veggies look the same to me. Although, I do looove my bok choy! πŸ˜€

    Thanks for visiting me! It was so nice to see your lovely comment…it’s always nice to get a visit from you!

    Have a wonderful evening.


  33. The salad looks so inviting, Liz.

  34. Haven’t tried kale ever. But your post has ignited my interest. It sounds like somewhat bitter greens. Love the combination of ingredients in the salad…beautiful πŸ™‚

  35. I don’t think I have ever had massaged kale! And I’m intrigued! It reminded me of a spinach dish my Mom used to make. Looks scrumptious Liz. Pinning!

  36. this salad is definitely going to be a win at our home,bet our fussy eater will gladly chew this gorgeously green creation,thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  37. I am totally behind on this trend also! thanks for giving me some inspiration!

  38. I still haven’t jumped on the kale bandwagon yet but I think it’s time for me to get on it!

  39. Lizzy, interesting that the kale is massaged! It sure looks like a tasty salad.

  40. Kale with lemon juice and honey plus some tomatoes sounds very refreshing and healthy! Just love the ingredients you’re using for the dressing on this salad!

  41. I love massaged kale salads. My mother makes them all the time but complains about how much massaging she has to do. But they are very tasty and so very good for you xx

  42. I love massaged kale salads-your version looks especially fresh and delicious!

  43. Tell him it’s baby spinach next time. Or he averse to that too? Lol I love this trend, it’s a keeper. I like it raw too mixed with other veggies in salad. Yep the baby version is good. Hope you and your family are all doing great.

  44. Massaged kale version is a new one to me and would not hesitate to try it..Its definitely a keeper!

  45. Hahaha – if you’ve jumped on the bandwagon, Liz, I’m the one running behind it asking “massaged Kale Salad – what’s that?” What an interesting way to make kale less chewy. Definitely trying this!

  46. I am yet to jump on the massage wagon…I’ve heard it a lot…just being lazy. This looks good and I love that you’ve added some extra crunch there..

  47. I’ve never heard of massaged kale! But this looks awesome! πŸ™‚

  48. I am later to the bandwagon than you. I haven’t heard of this.

  49. Love kale!!! We had so much growing in our garden, we didn’t know what to do with it anymore!!! You should try to grow it.. It does very well!!

  50. Okay, never heard of massaging my salad before now. LOL

  51. Love baby kale salads, but massaging is new to me. I do let it sit with the dressing before I serve it, though. If it gets hubby to eat it then massage is definitely the right way to go!

  52. We eat a lot kale… never tried it like this. Looks so healthy and delicious!

  53. Love your colorful, and delicious massage kale salad…the name is a little ‘quirky’ but the taste is comforting and delicious! xo

  54. I still can’t find kale here, so I’m simply watching the trains go by… but it does look tempting!

  55. When I read the title of the post, I thought you had misspelled something! I never heard of Massaged Kale before. It sounds good but my picky eater would not even look at it much less let it cross his lips!! I looks completely delicious to me!

  56. This salad is easy to make, good for you and delicious!

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