Massaged Asian Kale Salad

Kale – the trendy new health food that’s sweeping the nation. Along with quinoa, greek yogurt, and chia seeds, kale is featured heavily on any healthy living blog.  It’s a pretty remarkable vegetable. It has vitamin C, vitamin K, omega-3, and much more. So why doesn’t the average American eat kale?  It’s likely that it can seem a bit daunting compared to other vegetables. I don’t think many of us look at kale and want to eat it. Let’s face it, it looks like something I’d feed my rabbit.

TopKaleIt’s okay if you’re not a kale person; I’m not either. When preparing kale, the goal is to mask the flavor or totally change the texture. Basically, kale sucks on its own. The first way to disguise kale is by baking it to a crisp. You then eat it and pretend it tastes as good as potato chips, even though you know it doesn’t. The second way to disguise kale is by blending it into a smoothie. You add banana and lots of peanut butter. Voila! Now you can’t taste it at all.

KaleAngleThe third way to disguise kale is by massaging it. I wouldn’t say this is really a way to disguise the flavor, but to slightly mellow it out. To massage it, just put a hand in the bowl and toss it around until it’s wilted. This allows the kale to really absorb the kick-ass sesame garlic dressing you’re about to pour on it. You see? Kale doesn’t  have to be scary at all. At least not if you massage it.


Massaged Asian Kale Salad  (Makes 2-3 servings)

3 cups finely chopped curly kale

1 carrot (coarsely grated)

1 tbsp. sesame oil

2 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tbsp. soy sauce (scant)

1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1/2 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tsp. sesame seeds


  1. Heat a small saucepan to medium heat. Once hot add sesame oil and garlic. Saute garlic for 1-2 minutes, or until cooked slightly. Pour oil and garlic mixture into a small ramekin.
  2. In the small ramekin add soy sauce, vinegar, and maple syrup. Add more soy sauce to taste. Set aside sauce.
  3. Put kale in a medium to large sized bowl . Time to get dirty! Use your hands to massage the kale. The kale will start to wilt and reduce in size after 2-3 minutes. Add sauce and grated carrot. Give it a few more good tosses with your hands. Now put the salad in the fridge.
  4. In the same saucepan used to heat the oil and garlic, reheat to medium heat. Add sesame seeds. Toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, and let the sesame seeds cool a bit. Take the salad out of the fridge. Stir in cooled sesame seeds. Serve lukewarm or cold.

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