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Massaged Kale Salad With Apple and Cranberries

Looking for a different way to enjoy raw kale without the scratchy mouthfeel? Then this massaged kale salad is for you! A simple technique will transform tough kale leaves into a delightful salad.

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You like the taste of raw kale but don’t care for the scratchiness of curly kale? Then you will love this!

The recipe for this massaged kale salad is simple and easy to follow. And actually – you may wanna sit down for this – much loved by some of my kids!

In this article, I’ll show you how adding the small step will transform tough leaves into a soft bowl of green happiness.

How to make massaged raw kale salad

With stems removed, cut or tear your kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. Then, add salt to your big bowl of curly kale leaves and get ready for a little workout:

  • start kneading the kale with clean hands
  • continue to work it for about 1-2 minutes
  • take breaks whenever necessary

You’ll notice that the volume of your kale leaves reduces down to about a third. And that’s when you know your work is done.

Now just add a simple vinaigrette but with one difference:

Leave out the salt!

For this reason, using a ready-to-go dressing from the shop is not an option with this technique.

Adjusting the salt

With less than 20 large kale leaves, start by using only half the salt.

If you are sensitive and prefer your food on the less salty side of things, then use half the amount of salt with only half of your kale and add more leaves once the first bunch has reduced in volume.

Alternatively, add more lettuce and other greens once the kale has been massaged. This will dilute the salt content further.

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Notes about the massaged kale salad

The original recipe suggests adding gorgonzola cheese which I’m not too keen on. But if you love blue cheese, then definitely give this a shot.

Alternatively, some feta cheese would be a nice addition of protein. But we are delighted with this salad as it is.

You might also enjoy:
Red cabbage slaw with walnuts and raisins

I used to add honey to the dressing and leave out the shallot so get a slightly sweeter, more fruity salad. If this sounds good to you, go ahead and add a tablespoon of honey to the dressing.

Substituting red onion very finely chopped works just as great as shallots.

You can definitely skip the step of toasting your sunflower seeds. However, if you do have the energy, it will make this salad that much more delightful.

The Simple Balance Tip

If you are low on time and energy, buy kale leaves that have the stems removed. It’s worth paying someone else to do it if you are thinly stretched.

But also, you can live a happy life without eating kale… 😉

So there you have it. Now go and get a big bunch of beautiful curly kale leaves. And then see for yourself how massaging will transform your salad.

If you love kale, then I’m sure this salad will become a new favorite very quickly.

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Yield: 4 servings

Massaged Kale Salad With Apple and Cranberries

Massaged Kale Salad With Apple and Cranberries

If you love kale but find raw curly kale too scratchy, this recipe is for you! Massaging the leaves with salt beforehand leaves you with a smooth and delicious bowl of green goodness.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • a very large bunch of curly kale, about 20 leaves with stems removed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1 small red onion*, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup cranberries*
  • 1 large apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar


  1. Wash kale, remove stems and cut or tear into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Add kale to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Massage and knead the salt into the leaves for about 1-2 minutes until the leaves feel soft and volume has reduced to about a third.
  4. Chop red onion and apple. Add to kale with cranberries.
  5. Lightly toast sunflower seeds in a hot pan until they begin to change colour and add them to the bowl.
  6. Finally, add olive oil and apple cider vinegar to the bowl and stir well to get everything mixed evenly.
  7. Enjoy!


Dried currants could be substituted for cranberries. Shallots can be substituted for red onions. Feel free to add 2 ounces of blue cheese or feta cheese for extra protein. For a slightly sweeter, more fruity salad, omit the onion and mix the olive oil and apple cider vinegar with 1 Tbsp of honey before adding it to the salad. You can omit the step of toasting the sunflower seeds if you are crunched for time.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1367mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 16gSugar: 15gProtein: 15g

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