Pamper Your Kale

Leaves are falling and the temperatures are too, so this might persuade our tastebuds away from salads. However, today I’m going to do my best to convince you that salad season doesn’t need to end with summer! Kale, that rough and tough leafy green, becomes an oh-so-gentle salad base with a little pampering. It needs a little massage with a little dressing – who doesn’t??

This particular salad is based on a recipe that a friend emailed me last week. It takes a simple concept – a massaged kale salad – and incorporates some truly autumnal flavors. Apples, walnuts, maple syrup – now those certainly aren’t tough ingredients!

Along the same lines as choosing a raw apple pie over a baked one, I urge you to munch on some raw kale rather than boiling it to death. Here’s why:

  • Detoxification Support – Just in time for the Fall Renewal Detox! Raw kale contains glucosinolates which help to regulate your body’s ability to self-detox.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Goodness – Kale is nutritionally amazing for many reasons, but the main one has to be its inherent Omega-3 Fatty Acid content. This boosts kale’s already stellar anti-inflammatory performance, not to mention provides those all-important omega-3s from a vegetarian source.
  • Antioxidants Galore – Fight off that oxidative stress we all struggle with by consuming plenty of dark leafy greens. Kale in particular has wonderfully high levels of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as carotenoids and flavonoids, all of which help to prevent chronic health problems, such as heart disease and cancer.
  • Digestion Support – On top of everything else kale can do for us, it also helps our digestive tracts function optimally with its superior fiber content. This nutritional benefit is best experienced with raw kale – as the leaves and stems soften, while it will be easier for us to chew and digest, it won’t provide the roughage we so desperately need. Massaging softens kale up just enough without losing any of the above goodness!

How to Massage Kale

Take a large kale leaf (any variety – curly, dinosaur, purple, etc. – as long as it’s organic!) and tear the leaves from the stems and place them in a bowl. Continue with more leaves until you have enough for your meal. If it’s just you, a leaf or two will do; use more if you’re feeding more mouths.

Tear or chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

Drizzle a tablespoon or two of olive oil and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the bowl of torn kale leaves. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and begin to massage by squeezing the leaves in your hands and through your fingertips slowly. Coat each piece in the olive oil and lemon juice as you go, taking your time and care with it. This, like all good massages, can’t be rushed!

Continue massaging for 3-4 minutes, until the leaves are darker in color and softer in texture. This extra time will ensure the kale’s phytonutrient content is boosted – the lemon juice will encourage this process.

Add any toppings you like – or make the salad below, using the dressing to massage the kale at first.

Massaged Purple Kale Salad with Green Apples, Avocado & Walnuts

by The Particular Kitchen

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 0 min

Keywords: raw salad entree appetizer gluten-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wheat free fall

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp grade B maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • 5-6 large leaves of curly kale (purple or green)
  • 1 ripe avocado, pit & skin removed, cubed
  • 1/3 cucumber, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium green apple, cored and cubed
  • handful raw walnut pieces


Make the dressing in a small jar by whisking together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt & pepper. Put the lid on and leave to one side while you prepare the salad.

Tear the kale leaves off their stems, and then tear the leaves into smaller bite-sized pieces. Shake up the dressing and drizzle a small amount onto the kale. Massage for 3-4 minutes by squeezing the leaves into your palms and between your fingertips, until the leaves look slightly wilted and darker.

Add the rest of the ingredients and a touch more dressing and toss. Eat as soon as the salad is made – it doesn’t keep very well!

Keep any leftover dressing in its jar in the fridge for up to a week.

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3 Comments on “Pamper Your Kale”

  1. Clair says:

    I’ve only ever made one kale salad, but it was so SO good. I definitely want to try this one.

    I also just found out that kale is in season mid-winter to early spring…what a perfect way to get greens when it feels like nothing is in season! Makes me love it even more. =)

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