I wrote this post for Stone Soup, the blog of Food and Nutrition Magazine. This recipe is one of my favorite ways to prepare kale so I could not resist republishing it on my website.

Kale proudly stands up out among its cruciferous family members by being a truly super vegetable. Just one cup of it, raw and chopped, provides more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamins A, C, and K. In addition, kale—like other brassica vegetables—is very high in sulforaphane, a potent cancer-fighting chemical.

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There are many different ways to prepare kale, from adding it to soups and stews to making kale chips, but the easiest cooking method is giving it a special treatment by preparing a massaged kale salad. Young tender kale and the “dinosaur kale” variety work especially well for this simple-yet-delicious recipe. Making a massaged kale salad can be a fun cooking activity for your children too. Getting their hands dirty in the kitchen is always fun for the little ones.

I adapted this recipe from Eating Well magazine. I typically use it as a base to which I add a variety of ingredients depending on my mood and the contents of the refrigerator.

The best thing about the recipe is that the lemony, pungent dressing offsets the bitterness of this super-vegetable. Even kids will be willing to give it a try.  My children’s favorite variation of the basic massaged kale salad is Number 3, the one with bacon, mushrooms and eggs. This combo can be a perfect lunch or a lighter dinner for the whole family.

Massaged kale recipe with variations
Serves: 4-6
  • 2 bunches kale
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 minced anchovy fillet (optional)
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  1. Strip leaves from the stems, and discard the stems. Wash and dry the leaves.
  2. Tear the leaves into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add oil, lemon juice, anchovy (if using), pepper and salt. With clean hands, firmly massage and crush the greens to work in the flavoring. Stop when the volume of greens is reduced by about half. The greens should look a little darker and somewhat shiny.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning with more lemon juice, and/or pepper, if desired.
Variations of the Basic Recipe
Number 1
Add 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, ½ cup chopped shallots, and ½ cup crumbled goat's cheese
Number 2
Add 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Number 3
Add 1 cup sliced and sautéed mushrooms (made with 2 cups or ½ pound fresh mushrooms), ½ cup cooked bacon pieces (made with 2 slices of uncooked bacon), and 4 boiled eggs that have been chopped roughly.


Tell me, what is your favorite way to eat kale?