“Happy Ending” Massaged Kale

by spiceaholic on May 15, 2011

Thanks to my friend Kelly for the dirty twist on the name!

I felt like trying something new today, which is how I ended up with a bunch of kale and looking up different ways to try it.  I prepared it Bengali-style once for a BSI contest long ago, but wanted to do something else.  Those oven-baked kale chips I keep hearing about were definitely at the top of my to-try list and will probably be tried out later today.

And then I stumbled across massaged kale.  Massaged. Kale.  Yeah, it sounded weird enough that it piqued my curiosity.

From what I’ve read, when you massage kale, especially with lemon juice and salt, you break down the fiber and structure of the kale and in essence are cooking it raw.  It wilts down as if you’d cooked it and makes it much easier to eat and retains all the nutrients.  I’m enough of a science geek that I had to see this for myself.

I used this recipe as my how-to, and now I give you:

“Happy Ending” Massaged Kale


1/2 a bunch of curly kale, torn into bite-size pieces

1/2 lemon

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp minced garlic

salt, crushed red pepper to taste


Take the kale and rinse several times to get any kind of grit out.  I ran the pieces through the salad spinner a few times after this to get as much water out as possible.


Get the olive oil, lemon, crushed red pepper, garlic, and salt ready.


Guess the salt was camera shy.

Place the dried kale pieces in a large bowl.


The Coke Zero to the side was for me to drink, has nothing to do with the kale! 🙂

Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice over kale. Then add the oil, garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper.


Note how the kale comes up to the top of the bowl pre-massage. Now, take both hands and have at it. Pretend you’re massaging the kale. Or kneading dough. You want to incorporate the oil, lemon juice, and salt into the kale. Do this for a few minutes and you’ll start noticing the kale softening and wilting right away. And then you’ll end up with this:


See how much it shrank?  Look how tender it looks too.

I tried a taste and REALLY tasted the lemon juice, but not in a bad way.  So maybe cut down on the juice a bit next time.  I realized that with the lemon juice, oil, and salt, I was on my way to a dressing.  Which gave me the idea to use the massaged kale as a dressing for my lunch-time salad.


Brilliant idea!  This is a great way to incorporate more kale into my diet without having having to slave over a stove.

I’m already thinking of other flavor combos for this like an Asian-style one with sesame oil and lime juice.  Yum, stay tuned for new variations!

And a massage sounds like a really good idea now . . .

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Aiman Masud May 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Great idea for salad or a greens side dish in place of spinach. Healthy too.

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