Massage Some Life into Your Kale!

Tools Required:

Citrus Juicer – I love my citrus juicer so I can get the most juice out of my lemons and limes. They also make squeezing the citrus super simple!

Glass Bowl – You just can’t beat a good set of nesting bowls for meal prep and making dressings. I also own over 20 of these glass bowls from IKEA which work perfectly for kale massaging!

My Thought Process:

It’s a little known fact that raw kale is gross. If you don’t believe me, give it a taste and you’ll find out just how tough and fibrous this leafy green can be. And while I’m a huge fan of sautéed kale (green power bowls are my life), warmer weather makes me crave lighter meals and that means more raw fruits and veggies. But I am NOT cool with giving up my kale and this has led me to play around with about a million different ways to squeeze it in every week – everything from kale chips to lighter lemony kale soups to smoothies and even raw massaged kale salads.

So before you call me crazy, just hear me out. While it might seem a bit weird to massage your food, you’re going to be surprised at what a quick little rubdown can do to completely transform this green from bitter and tough to tender and almost sweet in a matter of minutes. And after a little massage, kale becomes a great option for all sorts of different salads from quinoa to farro to steak. Talk about a happy ending!

And you know what the best part about a kale salad is? It holds up amazingly well in the fridge so you can make a bunch and keep it on hand all week long!

First: Massage Your Kale

To start, you’re going to want to remove the kale from the stem just like you would if you were sautéing it. Hold at the bottom, pull the leaves in the opposite direction and then tear into bite-sized pieces. You’re then going to want to add a pinch of Celtic Salt to season the kale and a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) to help break the kale down. Avoid oils at this stage as they’ll prevent the acid from really penetrating the greens.

Now that the kale is prepped, it’s time to start rubbing! Don’t be shy – massage the kale like you’d massage a person (someone you actually like). Get in there and rub since your goal is to break down the cell wall and tenderize the tough fibers. And, unlike massaging a person, the only way to know if it’s done is to taste. It should be tender and not quite as bitter (maybe it’s more like a person than I thought). It won’t taste great at this point but it shouldn’t taste gross anymore.

Second: Make Your Vinaigrette

After you have a more chilled out post-message bowl of kale, it’s time to make a delicious vinaigrette to coat the leaves and give the salad some flavor flav. And per my vinaigrette lesson a few weeks ago, you’ll need an acid, an oil and I also recommend a sweetener of some sort. I like to go with lemon juice, olive oil, and honey most of the time but feel free to experiment and switch things up. If you’re feeling crazy, a little mustard makes for an excellent addition. Whisk that vinaigrette together and drizzle it right over the salad.

Third: Add Your Toppings

Dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds are some of my favorite toppings. Again, get creative with flavor combinations – think cherry/pistachio, cranberry/walnut or strawberry/avocado. The options really are endless – we even have a kale salad with breadcrumbs! You can even add chicken or steak or salmon. And then there are grains such as quinoa, brown rice, kamut and farro. If you’re adding a grain, you might need a little bit more vinaigrette but otherwise, just add it in and stir to combine!

Health Tip:

Oh my goodness, where do I even begin? Kale is a leafy green which means it’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and in its raw form is loaded with powerful antioxidants which help prevent inflammation while helping with detoxification. Massaging actually makes it easier for your body to break down and digest the kale which means that you’ll get more nutrition from it. And if you’re looking to add a little more protein into your life, one cup of raw kale has 3 grams of the stuff!

Since you’re probably dying to get your hands on some kale to massage, check out the Steak with Mango Pepita Kale Salad or the Toasted Bread and Kale Salad! And if you’re not yet cooking with AHP (what are you waiting for?) you can sign up here.

Happy Kale Massaging!


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