Meet my favorite way to eat raw kale, the Massaged Kale Salad. I bet that title caught your attention… In my previous post I shared the concept of batch cooking and mentioned a couple of my staple batch cooking items; one of them being massaged kale salad. Massaged Kale Salad is one of my weekly if not daily salad go-to recipes. It’s full of fiber, nutrients, antioxidants, and incredibly satisfying from the king green itself, kale. What do I mean by massaged? Stripped | this recipe is super simple, made from only very few clean ingredients. Massaged | well, because the kale is massaged.
Why massage kale? Kale is a fantastic leafy green because of it’s texture, which lends to a wide variety of ways to work with; whether it’s steaming, sauteing, adding it to soups or stews for a more hearty mouthfeel, finely chopped in a salad, or of course blended in a green smoothie. Massaging basically is a process of breaking down the kale to make it more easy to digest. Think of it in this way, digestion starts in your mouth and kale has a very rough texture, which takes a lot of mastication on our parts before we can swallow it (without it feeling like a forkful of grass, ew.). Massaging prior to eating is like pre-digesting the kale. Give your kale some love, go ahead, massage away! Your jaws and tummy will thank you.
The kale will visually change before your eyes while massaging. It will start to wilt, this is due to the cellulose (plant fibrous structure that holds it together), it will become more vibrant green and softer in texture. Another wonderful quality of kale, because of it’s tough nature, it will stay in the refrigerator for a good week even after massaging. Unlike other more delicate leafy greens which tend to wilt and become soggy after chopping or physically “breaking” down, kale will keep it’s soft but chewy texture without becoming mushy or too soft.
Why I think kale is king of the greens. Antioxidants, anti-inflammatory benefits, cancer protective compounds, cholesterol lowering properties, flavonoids which ward off inflammation and oxidative stress, supports the detoxification system, and culinarily speaking kale’s extremely versatile. The ability of kale to lower cholesterol is due to it’s source(s) of fiber; when steamed the fiber can actually bind to the bile acids more efficiently (than raw form) which are then excreted from the body. Kale is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which have been studied in relation to their protective compounds in cancer development (colon, breast, bladder, prostate, and ovarian) mainly from the anti-cancer nutrients glucosinolates (say what?).
Taking you to a quick organic chemistry lesson here, glucosinolates are basically a chemical compound containing sulfur and nitrogen. It’s easy to think of this compound in the cruciferous veggie family as most have a sulfur smell which is also responsible for the bitter taste you get from eating broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts (my fav.). Isothiocyanates (ITC) made from glucosolantes also kick start Phase I and Phase II enzymes, which are needed for detoxification, hence the advantage of cruciferous vegetables like kale in the role of detoxification. Okay, enough of the chemistry lesson…
Nutrition Stripped breakdown of KALE:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6
- Carotenoids | Beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin
- Flavonoids | Quercitin, kaempferol
- Fatty acids
- Omega-3 fatty acids |linolenic acid (0.18g/100g)
- Omega-6 fatty acids |linoleic acid (0.13g/100g)
Keeping your thyroid healthy. Cruciferous veggies like kale, when eaten in very large quantities raw may impair thyroid function and if you’re someone who suffers from thyroid disfunction or hypothyroidism it’s best to keep the cruciferous veggies limited in your diet when they’re in the raw state. You can however, cook or steam to inhibit the thyroid compound found in kale that may interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis, which is very important for the overall health and function of your thyroid! People who have no issues with their thyroid should still play it safe with limiting such large quantities (I’m talking in smoothies, juices, salads, and in snacks all day, everyday), most healthy individuals are perfectly fine to it throughout the day!
This kale salad is hands down, a staple in my kitchen. I have it almost everyday in some form or another, whether incorporated into my breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Most of the time I enjoy this as the bulk of my salad, but if you’re new to kale simply try adding a handful into your other favorite mixed greens to boost the nutrient content and then gradually have this salad as the base to add upon. I typically will make a large batch of kale salad to last me a good week and it keeps very well in a large air tight tupperware!
- 2 heavy handfuls (2-3 cups) of organic raw kale leaves (I prefer the lacinato a.k.a. "dino" variety)
- 1 tsp. of olive oil (I've use truffle oil occasionally and it is AMAZING)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp. of Celtic sea salt
- De-stem the kale leaves from the stem by simply placing your index finger and middle finger (in the shape of a claw), and "claw" down the center of the leaf to de-stem while simultaneously pulling the leaf away from you with your other hand.
- In a large bowl, combine the de-stemmed kale leaves with the remaining ingredients.
- Lightly pour an additional 1 tsp. of olive oil onto your hands to coat.
- Using a massaging action (similar to kneading bread dough), start to tear the leaves apart and massage.
- Continue massaging for about 2-5 minutes or until the leaves are softened, the leaves will also turn a more vibrant green.
- Use this as a salad base or add toppings of your choice for a complete meal in a bowl.
Have you tried kale in this way? What’s your favorite recipe or way to get kale into your diet? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear.
Now get to massaging ladies and gents!
p.s. I wanted to thank all of you who have messaged me, commented, or contacted me in general to show your support. I appreciate this so much! :)