Tender kale salad

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

Tender kale salad

Kale is a popular leafy green choice, often appearing on restaurant menus and praised for its versatility. While sautéing and braising are common cooking methods, the "massaged" kale salad has continued to gain popularity. This recipe explores the simplicity and transformative power of massaging kale.

With just a few minutes of hands-on effort, the kale transforms from tough leaves to a tender and delicious salad base — a task even young family members can enjoy.

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