How to Massage Kale

Massaged Kale Salads are all the rage right now. We love massaged kale salads, but how do you massage kale? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this super simple tutorial! Let’s massage some kale- it’s easier than you think.

two hands massaging kale

Why We Love Kale- It’s the Green of the Gods

Yes, you read that right. Kale is the green of the gods. Greens have always been a big part of my life. We grew up with the rule that you tried everything at least three times before you could say that you didn’t like it. That is three separate times and three separate meals. By the time I tried everything three times, I would realize that there were many ways to prepare things. Honestly, the only thing I can’t really stand is water chestnuts. Kale was one of those vegetables that were usually wilted in a soup or blended up in a smoothie. It never really bothered me.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that kale is everywhere. Massaged kale salads, green smoothies with kale, kale powder, kale chips, and everything in between! If you are one of those people who just can’t get behind kale, hear me out! If you enjoy salads then there is hope for you yet. If you’ve had a kale salad and it has NOT been massaged, then I understand where you’re coming from. Eating a kale salad that has not been massaged is like shoving a handful of shredded paper into your mouth. It’s just not good, even if it’s smothered in dressing. When you massage kale before mixing it in a salad you are breaking it down so that it is easily digestible and easier to eat. Stick with me here.

Before we dig into how to actually prepare a massaged kale salad, let’s talk kale facts.

Q’s About Kale 

How many types of kale are there? Kale is a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts! There are many different types of kale but the two main types are curly kale and Tuscan/luctino kale. Curly kale is curly and dense with a big stem going down the middle. Tuscan kale is a bit flatter and is dark. You can also get baby kale which hasn’t matured enough to get stiff and rigid!

What is the health benefit of kale? Kale is crazy dense with nutrients! That’s why people feel the need to put kale in everything. It’s just that good for you. It is antioxidant rich, packed with 200% of your daily vitamin C, contains carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, and more!

Is it OK to eat kale every day? Everything in moderation, people. Add kale into your diet and spread it throughout your menu planning! Eat greens everyday but try to mix it up between kale, spinach, collard greens, arugula, and whatever other greens you like!

How do I eat kale? There are so many ways to eat kale. It all depends on how you want to prepare it! You can throw kale in a smoothie, in a salad, as kale chips, and more. Check out our favorite kale recipes below.

Is it OK to eat raw kale? Yes, it is OK to eat raw kale. It all depends on your personal digestive system. Some people have a hard time digesting raw kale and some do not! Listen to your body, people.

How to Massage Kale 

Let’s get down to massaging kale. It sounds weird, I know. However, once you massage kale, you’ll never go back. Follow the simple steps below for massaging the kale for a kale salad and go from there! We have plenty of kale salads you can make, but feel free to add your favorite dressing and salad fixings to the massaged kale when you’re done.

Curly or Tuscan?

Typically we use curly kale in most of our kale salads. It less expensive and more common. However, feel free to use whatever kale you would like for your kale salad. Generally, you do not need to massage baby kale because it is already tender enough that it doesn’t need to be broken down.

Cut that Kale

The verdict is out on what the true and “best” way to cut kale is. To each their own, but you have a couple of options. Kale generally comes with a big thick stem that you do not want to eat. Though it is edible, it is not that enjoyable to eat. (Psssst… If you do have a furry friend at home, chop the stem into small pieces and use them as dog treats throughout the week!)

  • Hands: To remove the stem from the kale with your hands, squeeze the top of the kale stem. Slowly move your hand down the kale stem and as you move your hand the leafy part of the kale will fall off. When all stems are removed, chop kale into small pieces and place into a large salad bowl.
  • Knife: To remove the stem from the kale with a knife, simply take a knife and cut along the stem and leafy part of the kale. Discard stem and chop kale into small pieces and place into a large salad bowl.
A hand removing a stem from a piece of kale

Add Oil + Salt 

We love massaging kale with extra virgin olive oil. It has the best flavor (in our opinion) and gets the job done. You want a little oil and a little salt to tenderize and soften the kale. Feel free to use your favorite cooking oil with a pinch of salt. As long as you coat your kale with a little oil and salt you are good to go! Some oil options are…

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil

Pouring olive oil over kale

Massage That Kale 

Now it’s time to get those fingers moving! Coat the kale in oil and salt and start massaging the kale with your hands. Honestly, you really want to break the kale down, so really work the kale with your fingers by pinching and squeezing the kale for about 3-4 minutes. One the kale is tender and soft, your job is done.

Two hands massaging kale

Decide what massaged kale salad you would like to prepare and enjoy!

The Best Massaged Kale Salad Recipes

How to Massage Kale Video


How to Massage Kale

Massaged Kale Salads are all the rage right now. We love massaged kale salads, but how do you massage kale? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this super simple tutorial! Let’s massage some kale- it’s easier than you think.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
Author: Linley Richter
Yield: 4 1x
Category: Salad
Method: No Bake
Cuisine: American


  • 12 oz. kale
  • 23 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Begin by rinsing kale under cold water. Make sure all dirt is removed from kale. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Next, debone the kale with a knife or your hands by removing the stem from the leafy part of the kale. Discard stems and set leafy part of the kale to the side.
  3. Once all kale has been deboned, cut leafy kale into small pieces and place into a large salad bowl.
  4. From there, drizzle olive oil and salt over the kale and massage with your hands for 3-4 minutes until kale is tender and soft.
  5. Finally, make your favorite massaged kale salad! Perhaps this Massaged Kale and Fennel Salad with Lemon Vinegarette or Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Salad with Farro and Goat Cheese. 


  • Serving Size: 1/4
  • Calories: 59
  • Sugar: 2
  • Sodium: 111
  • Fat: 2
  • Carbohydrates: 9
  • Fiber: 4
  • Protein: 4
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