Massaged Kale Salad

Bare Basics, Nutrition Topics, Salads

Massaged Kale Salad |

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.



Massage…kale? Yes, Massage kale!

Massaged Kale Salad | nutritionstripped.comMassaged Kale Salad |

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?).

Massaged Kale Salad |

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 breakdown of KALE:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6
  • Folate
  • Manganese
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • 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)
  • Fiber

Massaged Kale Salad, three ways | Nutrition Stripped, vegan cesar kale salad, superfood kale salad, light cobb kale saladKeeping 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!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Massaged Kale Salad
Recipe type: Small plates
Cuisine: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
Super simple and nutrient dense kale salad.
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the de-stemmed kale leaves with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Lightly pour an additional 1 tsp. of olive oil onto your hands to coat.
  4. Using a massaging action (similar to kneading bread dough), start to tear the leaves apart and massage.
  5. Continue massaging for about 2-5 minutes or until the leaves are softened, the leaves will also turn a more vibrant green.
  6. Use this as a salad base or add toppings of your choice for a complete meal in a bowl.

Massaged Kale Salad |

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! 🙂

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  1. Kale is totally my favorite green too. I like chard and I’ll eat spinach if I have to, but kale–oh, I just can’t get enough of it! Massaging it is definitely the way to go–love this salad!

    1. Thanks Kiersten! I’m a kale-fanatic haha, if there ever was such a thing 😉

  2. […] of my favorite effortless and portable eats to share at cook outs and BBQ’s are salads (check here, here, and here), snacks (Almond Coconut Date Globes, Spirulina Energy Globes or my recent favorite […]

  3. […] in this recipe are kale and hemp seeds. I’ve shared with you all how much I love kale in this recipe here and also the nutrition behind kale. Let’s focus on the not so common household […]

  4. hi – i just planted some kale in our veggie patch and am looking forward to eating it – checking out lots of ideas and your massaged kale salad is a great start. how does kale respond to a quick pulse in the food processor? is that another way of “massaging” it? 🙂 thanks.

    1. Hi Allison, wonderful! Great question, lightly pulsing in the food processor will help break down the kale, but I would still suggest after doing that to lightly “massage” in the lemon, olive oil, and sea salt. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. […] all know I LOVE my salads, and especially the king green, kale! Today I wanted to share one of my favorite salads perfect for fall and utilizing the best […]

  6. […] and read more on why I love kale and it’s health and nutrition benefits from my favorite salad the Massaged Kale Salad recipe. The raw cocoa powder I like to use in any […]

  7. […] kale, yes more kale! Kale is my favorite hearty and nutrient dense dark leafy green that I’m always sneaking into […]

  8. […] Massaged Kale Salad […]

  9. I tried this with my salad today at lunch and was stunned at how delicious it tasted! Thank you for such an easy recipe, I am in love with your website!

    1. Hi Megan! Isn’t it amazing? I love adding it into all salads to boost the nutrient content. Thanks so much for sharing and stopping by 🙂

  10. […] Maple Tempeh and Herbed Quinoa, or you can boost the nutrient content and add some raw spinach or Massaged Kale Salad as a base and then top it with the quinoa and tempeh. My favorite is using raw spinach greens or […]

  11. […] is perfect for adding a little zest to any meal. I also love sprinkling a little sumac on top of my Massaged Kale Salads to add a bit more lemony […]

  12. I’m loving your website!!! So glad I found it, everything looks so clean and wholesome!
    I also made a Kale salad on my blog so it would be great if you could check it out – thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Millie,
      Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by and hope you come back often 🙂 Great blog

  13. […] love using kale greens in soups and stews because it’s such a hearty green that it doesn’t become mushy […]

  14. […] nuts // High in selenium to combat the large amounts of raw kale used in this smoothie. Brazil nuts are incredibly high in selenium, which supports iodine levels, […]

  15. How long does this salad last in the fridge??
    Love batch cooking…fun to plan

    1. Mine typically lasts 5-7 days max. before I eat it all! Just keep the dressing off of it until serving. Hope you enjoy:)

  16. […] adding this salad on top of another salad—crazy I know, take a couple handfuls of spinach, massaged kale, or even shredded cabbage and add this quinoa salad and stir. To make this side dish more of a […]

  17. […] love serving this succotash with a meal as a side dish, or putting a good amount on top of my Massaged Kale Salad recipe and turning it into a meal by simply adding more beans, hemp seeds, or another protein of […]

  18. […] Massaged Kale Salad // in a jar! No excuse to not get in your greens. […]

  19. […] Slice thinly and top on a Massaged Kale Salad […]

  20. […] Sometimes Kale is a turn off because of it’s tough leaves. Don’t let that stop you!!! McKel Hill from Nutrition Stripped has a simple tactic to help soften the leaves in her Messaged Kale Salad. […]

  21. […] talked at length why I love kale in the original Massaged Kale Salad, so please take a peek at that post to fill yourself in on why kale is great to incorporate into […]

  22. […] Massaged Kale Salad: nutrient dense in a small volume, easy to pack […]

  23. […] a rarity when I don’t have a large container of Massaged Kale Salad batch made from the weekend and from my batch cooking day- so naturally I find myself creating […]

  24. I have hypothyroidism that began with the onset of menopause. I LOVE massaged kale salad. My question regards your reference above that massaging does help with pre-digestion of kale. Does massaging in any way inhibit the thyroid compound found in kale that may interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis like lightly steaming or cooking kale does? I simply prefer kale massaged over steaming or cooking, but I do like it just about anyway. I have quit juicing it though. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    1. Only cooking will decrease the goitrogens found in cruciferous vegetables and others that contain them- massaging will not! Great question 🙂

      1. Thanks! I was always curious if body temperature from your fingers while massaging the kale affected the goitrogens since the kale is wilted after the “massage”. Now I know!

  25. I LOVE massaged kale. I worked at an organic bakery this past year that used cumin and liquid aminos along with the olive oil and lemon. I make it weekly still:)

    1. Yes, love that addition too 🙂

  26. […] Massaged kale greens (learn about why to massage your kale here!) […]

  27. […] I am so excited about my newest kale discovery which I found on a post on my favourite food blog, Nutrition Stripped – Massaged Kale. Every time I mention this to friends or family they get the same raised eyebrows, amused look on […]

  28. […] first introduced a fun variation of my famous Massaged Kale Salad with showcasing them in three ways; including vegan caesar. Today I’m sharing a slight […]

  29. […] a bit softer; the color will also change, taking on a more darker green. Here’s a great article on kale from one of my favorite nutrition […]

  30. […] the benefits of massaging kale, and find out how to do it […]

  31. […] Massaged Kale Salad | how to make massaged kale – I have hypothyroidism that began with the onset of menopause. I LOVE massaged kale salad. My question regards your reference above that massaging does help with pre …… […]

  32. […] 2 cups messaged kale (see tips for messaging kale: here). […]

  33. One teaspoon of salt for only 4-5 cups of kale? Isn’t that incredibly salty?

    1. Not at all, it’s great with the lemon and olive oil and salt acts as something to break down the kale. As I say with all my recipes, always adjust seasonings and ingredients to YOUR taste 😉

  34. […] Bare Berries (can be mixed with water) | Plant-based protein powder (can be mixed with water) | Massaged Kale Salad for your lunch with hemp seeds, beans, nutritional yeast, etc. | Chewy Superfood Hemp Protein Bars […]

  35. […] tract and easier to eat. Here’s a great “why” and “how” right here from the wonderful website Nutrition […]

  36. I don’t have a thyroid and take a synthetic pill. Do I need to limit the cruciferous veggies?

    1. You should ask your physician about that specifically

  37. […] massaged kale salad from Nutrition Stripped. I know. Raw kale. But I surprisingly very much liked it! The vegan […]

  38. […] your kale and thinly slice or tear into smaller pieces. Rub a little olive oil into your palms and start massaging the kale until it breaks down slightly. You’ll notice it seems like half of it has […]

  39. […] this salad tastes– with the exception of using this dressing on dark leafy greens besides Massaged Kale Salad. Quinoa and millet are two of my favorite gluten free sources of carbohydrates (and protein) that I […]

  40. […] this salad tastes– with the exception of using this dressing on dark leafy greens besides Massaged Kale Salad. Quinoa and millet are two of my favorite gluten free sources of carbohydrates (and protein) that I […]

  41. […] better this salad tastes– with the exception of using this dressing on dark leafy greens besides Massaged Kale Salad. Quinoa and millet are two of my favorite gluten free sources of carbohydrates (and protein) that I […]

  42. […] boost, and give it a little more of a crunch factor! The best way to use kale in your salad, is tomassage the kale leaves with lemon juice and olive oil. Top your kale salad with even more superfoods by adding in […]

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