Massaged Kale Salad

Good Morning, Lovers.

It sounds like many of you need some more dynamic warm-ups in your life! I used to be a 10 minute elliptical or treadmill girl but I have been getting funny looks  as I do walking straight leg kicks across the gym for years 😉

I have a new recipe for you today!


This superfood is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-cancer nutrients!

You all know that I adore my baked kale chips. They are heaven.

However, to get the full benefit of kale, without any of the nutrients getting lost in the baking process (and you don’t own a dehydrator), you can enjoy it other ways. Another way I like it a massaged kale salad.

prep your kale by slicing out the stems

Using lemon juice to massage your kale helps to soften it. Let it sit after the “massage” so it “cooks” the leaves even more.

I like to include tempeh and chick peas for some added protein!

and my beloved avocado adds some creaminess to the mix..


Massaged Kale Salad

© The Fitness Dish

prep time: 15-20 minutes

serves: 4-6 (depending on the portion size)


1 large head of kale

1 can Garbanzo beans, rinsed (I prefer Eden Food brand)

1 package of soy tempeh, optional

1 avocado, peeled and diced

2 T cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 lemon

1/2 T apple cider vinegar

just a drizzle of honey or agave {updated: or a 4-5 drops liquid stevia, I tried this and it came out great!}

salt and pepper, to taste


Slice the stems out of the middle, tear the leaves in bite size pieces then rinse your kale and run it through your salad spinner to dry (or use paper towels).

Place the kale leaves into a bowl. Juice half of your lemon and pour it over the kale. Add just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and get to work. Make sure your hands are nice and clean and start giving your kale a nice shiatsu massage.  Make sure your get rubbing throughout all the leaves. This method will soften the kale and the lemon will “cook” the kale. I massaged mine for a little over 2 minutes, then let it sit while I did the rest of my prep and made the dressing.

If using tempeh, slice it into 1/4 inch slices, brush with about 1/2 T of olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Open your can of garbanzo beans and rinse thoroughly. Add the beans to the salad. Slice open the avocado and slice and dig out both side, add it.If y ou are using tempeh, crumble it into small pieces, or grate it over the salad. I used the entire package.

To make the dressing:

Juice the other half of the lemon and add it to a bowl. Whisk in 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, a squirt of honey (or agave, vegan honey), 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Drizzle the dressing on top and mix it all up. Serve and enjoy!

You can let it sit longer with the dressing on it if you like to let the acids in the lemon and ACV “cook” it more.


Have you ever had massaged kale salad?

What’s your favorite way to enjoy kale? Or favorite green?

I also like “garlicky kale” but Michael nor Ella appreciate when I eat it 🙁


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  • Reply Keri @ Blue-Eyed Runner

    This looks delicious. I love kale and have some in my fridge right now! I always want to make kale chips but don’t have a deyhdrator. Maybe I can register for one 🙂

    September 14, 2011 at 6:22 am
    • Reply laury

      You don’t need a dehydrated for kale chips! These are incredible!

      the only reason would be if you wanted “dehydrated” kale chips…maybe you will get one for wedding

      September 14, 2011 at 7:39 am
      • Reply Julie (A Case of the Runs)

        I second this! I’ve used an oven with pretty good results, though you might need to flip em once in a while…

        September 14, 2011 at 11:51 am
  • Reply Lisa

    I love kale! ….And it’s a good thing because Joe planted a whole row of kale plants in our garden this year—it’s practically overflowing out of my house. But I did start freezing it, so I don’t think I’ll be buying kale for a good 6 months (or more)! Massaged kale is so great—and I love kale chips. I really love “dessert” kale chips–the goo is cashews and vanilla sunwarrior with a little maple syrup. Mmmm!

    September 14, 2011 at 7:45 am
    • Reply laury

      I’m jealous!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm
  • Reply Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat

    Yummm I love kale! I usually make kale chips with mine but this salad looks great, especially with the avocado. Yay for healthy fats and dark leafy greens!

    September 14, 2011 at 8:23 am
  • Reply kaitlin @4loveofcarrots

    Yummy I love kale!! This recipe looks so delicious I’m going to have to make it.

    September 14, 2011 at 8:26 am
  • Reply Holly @ The Runny Egg

    The only way I like kale (as of now) is in kale chip form. But I haven’t tried a massaged kale salad though. I wasn’t a fan of steamed kale — blech.

    September 14, 2011 at 10:12 am
    • Reply laury

      it’s all about howyour season it…I liked steamed kale with a little evoo and garlic s&p!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm
  • Reply thehealthyapron

    My favorite green is butterhead lettuce or dandelion greens. I only recenlty started liking kale as an addition to my salads! I just dice it up really small and put it in the mix of my other lettuces! Yum yum! These looks mighty tasty though! i can’t wait to try it! Perhaps I’l make it this weekend for a family party! My mom and I will at least love it! 🙂

    Thanks laury!

    September 14, 2011 at 10:17 am
    • Reply laury is def an acquired taste!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm
  • Reply Chelsea

    I’ve been looking for some ideas to put my kale to use and this is perfect! Thank you so much!

    September 14, 2011 at 11:39 am
    • Reply laury

      you’re welcome!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm
  • Reply GirlonRaw

    Oh you are killing me over here. We cannot get kale anywhere here in the Middle East so I guess the next thing is for us to try and grow it. Good news is apparently it DOES grow well in sandy soils and there is plenty of that around here in the desert. Oh be still my heart, I love massaged kale salads!

    September 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm
    • Reply laury

      I can only imagine! That would be a great idea to grow it!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm
  • Reply Trainer Kjirsten @ Balanced Healthy Life

    I’ve never had a massaged kale salad before but it looks pretty darn tasty! I really need to start buying kale so my husband and I can eat it more. I tend to buy greens that he will eat (romaine and spring mix) but I’m sure he would give kale a try!

    September 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm
    • Reply laury

      I would work him up to it..start with spinach…or at least baked kale in a spinach salad then go from there. If he likes it raw right off the bat, good for him!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm
  • Reply Cathy R

    Try massaging in half of the avocado too….and I like to add sunflower seeds or pine nuts :).

    September 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm
    • Reply laury

      Ohhh….thank you!! Great idea! I was thinking about adding sunflower seeds but I was out 🙁

      September 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm
  • Reply Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather

    My husband had his very first massaged kale salad last night! At first it was strong he said… Then he got used to kale’s bite.

    Your recipe looks great!

    September 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    Girl…we are soul sisters for sure! You could not have included more loved foods by me then you did in this salad! I love kale, LOVE avocado (like serious love there), love tempeh, love chickpeas, and the dressing sounds perfect! It almost never gets better than some simple fresh lemon and olive oil! And that is a serious healthy salad too!!! Good job chica! And THANK YOU for linking over to my honey post! <3 <3 <3 sending the love back at ya! I am right there with you on baked kale chips being one of my favorite ways to eat them, and massaged kale coming in right after that. I also love a quick sauteed garlic kale (haha, see we think alike!!) and when it comes to garlic I do not hold back. So y'all better run! hahaha
    <3 Mo

    September 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm
    • Reply laury

      Yes, yes we are 🙂

      I need you in my life. I know I can’t convince you to move to humid then cold Philly burbs…but I need you in my life 🙁

      Garlic…ummm…apparently I learned recently from Michael that even after I brish my teeth 1,273,094 times…I still stink. Eek. My poor clients. I used to LOAD up on it big time…I hold back now, esp with nursing….and I’m kinda self conscious haha

      September 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm
  • Reply Jennifer (The Gourmetour)

    Yummy, yummy, yummy!! I love kale!! I usually eat it raw in its original texture when I make it myself.
    Have you ever had the Whole Foods avocado kale salad? It’s in the salad bar and is the most heavenly thing I’ve ever had, and I know you’ll love it too!
    Yesterday, actually, I had a great kale salad from the raw food bar located a couple blocks from my office. The salad was messaged with their homemade dressing that included lemon, jalapeno and spices. It was not spicy at all, more salty. It was seriously delicious, I couldn’t stop eating the kale… and that’s usually the one thing I can stop at once I’m full!

    September 14, 2011 at 8:18 pm
    • Reply laury

      No! MY WF only has the garlicky kale, and the kale salad with carrots and a superfood salad with kale. Never saw an avocado kale salad! Sounds great!

      September 14, 2011 at 8:36 pm
  • Reply Shanna, like Banana

    Mmmmm, I like all things garlicky — yum!

    My fave way to enjoy Kale is in this BBQ white bean smokey kale and chicken sausage soup — hearty, healthy, and delicious

    September 14, 2011 at 9:07 pm
  • Reply Sarina

    I loooveeee kale. Thanks so much for this recipe – I have never had ‘massaged’ or even raw kale before – I always steam mine. But this will be perfect now that the weather will be warming up again (I’m in Australia). Throughout winter, I was addicted to a big bowl of steamed kale with a healthy tomato pasta sauce stirred through. Heavenly bowl of comfort 🙂

    September 15, 2011 at 1:59 am
    • Reply laury

      That sounds great! I love the idea of adding sauce onto it!!!

      March 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm
  • Reply tania

    I’m not a big fan of kale but after trying this recipe I’m totally in love with it. And I realized I need to learn more recipes with it.

    March 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm
    • Reply laury

      this comment made me so happy!I wasn’t a major fan of it at first but started experimenting and it’s not my favorite green.

      So glad you enjoyed it! this salad is one of my favorites! I whip one up at least once a week with different add ins! Love the dressing!

      Thank you!

      March 19, 2012 at 10:32 pm
  • Reply Charles

    Hi! I’m a chef in New York CIty and I stumbled on this site doing research into juicing–I’ve always wondered why juicing would be healthy given the seperation of fiber from fructose. Got distracted by your entry on kale and thought I’d comment.

    Kale is an amazingly versatile vegetable and really lends itself to all sorts of incredible salads. The best part about kale is that it’s virtually impossible to overdress–too much dressing in arugula, and two minutes later it’s wilted, soggy and “burnt” from the acid.

    I have never heard of a “massaged” kale salad, but as a professional chef, I love how forgiving kale is. Since I started really loving this incredible green a couple of years ago, my favorite saladsd tend to be kale, sliced toasted almonds, diced shallots, shaved hard cheese, and some kind of dried fruit–apricots are great, craisins are fantastic, dried cherries even better. Or try it with currants.

    Kale is also incredible with roasted (or raw) mushrooms, roasted squash (butternut, pumpkin, etc). Sometimes I throw in raw sliced peppers.

    I had a raw organic kale salad from “Organic Avenue” the other day that was sliced cayenne pepper, olives, celery, dried cherries, and arugula.

    Some spicy mustard is always nice in the dressing, but otherwise I tend to do exactly what you said–half a lemon, a scant tsp of honey, some olive oil, a pinchj of salt and a pinch of pepper.

    In fact, prepared as simply as you outlined here, i’ve converted many a kale hater.

    Here’s another idea to help speed along the softening, or cooking process–stead of removing all of the stem,, just take off the stem tthat extends beyond the leaf. Next, slice through the entire leave in 1/4 inch strips. If you pile leaf on top of leaf, and then roll the whole thing up, you can julienne a whole bunch of kale in no time at all, and then you’re free to just dress your salad and let it sit for a minute or two before eating it, without having to do much massaging.

    December 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm
    • Reply laury

      Hey Charles! Wow, thank you so much for your comment! Massaged kale salad is really amazing and I think you would just love it! I really love all of the tips you gave me too. In fact, I tried your tip on chopping the kale up by piling the leaves. I do that with basil and never thought to do it with kale! It worked great so thank you! I must try cherries and almonds–and cheese. Yum!

      You will have to let me know what restaurant you work at. If I am ever in NYC I will definitely have to come dine with you! You had my mouth watering 😉

      December 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm

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