Tender kale salad

Massaging your kale for a couple of minutes may sound a bit decadent, but it can make a world of difference.

Contributed by Benjamin Maring, MD

Tender kale salad

It seems like kale continues to be the “it” leafy green, if there is such a thing. While I love sautéing and braising kale, I had yet to make the “massaged” kale salad I kept reading about and seeing on restaurant menus. Once I actually took the 2 minutes at home to try massaging it myself, I realized how easy and delicious it was, and what a textural transformation it makes.

With a little hands-on TLC, the kale goes from tough to tender in no time. This task is also really great for a young family member to take on.

Servings: 6


  • 2 bunches kale, Lacinato, curly, or a mix
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 small head of fennel
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Strip the kale leaves off the stem by hand and roughly chop them. Wash and pat dry the chopped kale.
  2. In a large bowl, add the chopped kale, olive oil, and a large pinch of salt. With clean hands, rub the oil and salt into leaves, massaging it until it tenderizes, about 2 to 3 minutes. 
  3. Cut the apple into matchsticks and thinly slice the fennel and red onion. 
  4. Add these, along with the dried cherries and apple cider vinegar to the kale. 
  5. Toss to combine and season to taste with black pepper and additional salt if needed.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 110
  • Total fat: 3 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 150 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 19 g
  • Dietary fiber: 4 g
  • Total sugars: 6 g
  • Protein: 3 g