Massaged Kale Salad
Eat Well Oct. 21. 2014

Massaged Kale Salad, Three Ways

Oct. 21. 2014
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Dietitian, Founder and CEO

Massaged Kale Salad, Three Ways offers several variations to spice up your normal kale salad.

All of these are a perfect way to make lunches or dinner salads ahead of time. All of these simple salads are nutrient dense and loaded with fiber from vegetables, fruits, protein, and healthy fats–all key ingredients to make a filling meal to hold you over and keep your energy up for the day ahead.

If you’re new to massaging kale as a technique to enjoy raw kale, then hop over to this article first and read up on Massaged Kale Salad. I especially love kale salad because it’s a hearty green that doesn’t wilt like typical romaine lettuce or other greens when stored with a dressing (olive oil and lemon juice) over a couple of days, making this PERFECT and one of my staples on my batch cooking day.

Next time you’re making your food and planning your meals for the week, trust me on this one and try making the base of this salad and spruce it up with toppings during the week to switch it up a bit. You can also store it on the go in some of my favorite travel containers.

Make the original Massaged Kale Salad and then add the following ingredients listed below for each salad! Simple as that. I typically make a large batch of the Massaged Kale Salad and then using that as a base make all three salads from that one base recipe! That will save you so much time in prepping but you’ll still get to enjoy a variety of salads throughout the week.

Feel free to boost the ingredient amounts depending on your individual goals and energy needs or swap out proteins for other sources you’d like. For example, if you want your salad to be higher in protein, add additional beans, lentils, eggs, tempeh, nutritional yeast, edamame, or other proteins of your choice.

1. Root Vegetable Kale Salad

This salad contains delicious golden raisins,  fiber and vitamin A rich kale and root vegetables, topped with omega-3 rich walnuts and protein-rich edamame.

What you’ll need:

  • 2-3 cups Massaged Kale Salad recipe below
  • 3 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 cup roasted root vegetable you enjoy (sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, turnips, celery root, etc.) cut into chunks
  • 1/2-1 cup edamame
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

Assembly: Take massaged kale salad and stir in all the remaining ingredients until combined. I recommend dressing this with the Zesty Lemon Shallot Dressing.

2. Vegan Caesar Salad

Traditional Caesar dressings are typically loaded with saturated fat and calories, plus some use iceberg lettuce as the base which is not as nutrient dense as it’s close counterpart romaine and still not as nutrient dense as kale! This Caesar salad is made vegan by using only healthy fats, fiber, and plant protein to get the desired texture and consistency of traditional Caesar dressing.

What you’ll need:

  1. 2-3 cups Massaged Kale Salad recipe below
  2. 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
  3. 1/2 avocado
  4. 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  5. 1/2 cup chickpeas
  6. garlic, optional

Assembly: Prepare massaged kale salad and set aside in a serving bowl. In a blender or food processor, combine avocado, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, and optional garlic and a dash of apple cider vinegar. Blend together for a thick and creamy dressing. Pour over kale and combine, then top with chickpeas. If you’d like to add another protein source instead of a vegetarian-friendly protein, try grilled chicken. Enjoy!

On-the-go? If you don’t have a blender simply mash all of the “wet” ingredients with the back of your fork working it into the romaine lettuce or massaged kale.

3. Nutrition Stripped Cobb Salad

Cobb salad is one of the most classic salads for good reason – it’s full of goodies! Those goodies may also add up to a substantial amount of calories as well. Here’s my take on a “light” Cobb Salad. Feel free to use other dressings you enjoy, but I promise you you’ll love this tahini inspired dressing!

What you’ll need:

  • 2-3 cups Massaged Kale Salad recipe below
  • 2 whole hard-boiled eggs (add more egg whites for a protein boost)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped olives

Dressing idea: Sweet Tahini Drizzle

Assembly: Hard boil eggs in advance, then peel egg from the shell and dice or slice into rounds. Add carrots, red bell peppers, and cucumber on top of the bed of kale. Pour dressing on top and stir everything to combine.

The Recipe




2 handfuls (2-3 cups) of organic raw kale

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon sea salt

For each variety of the three salads, please read the recipe article above.



Step 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.

Step 2

In a large bowl, combine the de-stemmed kale leaves with the remaining ingredients. Lightly pour an additional 1 teaspoon 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.

Step 3

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.

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