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Massaged Kale Salad with Butternut Squash

Updated on September 17, 2013
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Kim is a holistic health coach and a toxic-free lifestyle consultant. She obtained her studies from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.


Massaged Kale Salad Recipe

Kale salads make me smile. They make me feel vibrant. They are a staple in my kitchen. Best of all, they are seriously so delicious.

Kale is one of the most healthiest vegetables on the earth, with an amazing nutrient profile. It's not exactly the most attractive or even appetizing-looking vegetables, with its thick and tough leaves, but it's extremely healthy, delicious, and versatile.

While there are many ways to enjoy kale, such as in soup, raw kale will provide more nutrients than cooked kale. One of my favorite ways to enjoy this green leafy vegetable is to make a massaged kale salad.

Did you just say "massaged?!" Yes! Read on to learn the benefits of massaging kale and why this technique will change your opinion about this vegetable.

Just use your hands and rub it!
Just use your hands and rub it! | Source

Why Massage Kale?

While this type of treatment of other leafy greens is usually not recommended, kale prefers to be massaged down. When you give it a nice massage with your hands, kale goes from bitter and rough to soft and sweet.

Breaking down the kale with your hands will also help you digest it better.

How to Massage Kale

  • Just take the fibrous leaves and rub them together with your fingers. And don't worry about damaging it. Seriously, just give it a good rub down. You'll notice that the leaves start to change to a darker green color. The size of the leaves will shrink and wilt too.
  • The tough cellulose fibers that are found in a plant's cell wall will start to break down. So the harder you rub the leaves, the more of those fibers will break down, making the kale more tender and sweeter.
  • I usually don't time myself but, 2-5 minutes is probably good enough. If you want to know when it's finished, just take a quick bite. It should taste sweeter.

Now pour your favorite dressing and toppings on it and you have yourself a nice healthy salad.

Watch this Quick Video

Read more about kale and it's amazing nutritional properties.
Read more about kale and it's amazing nutritional properties. | Source

Kale Health Benefits

According to Dr. Joel Furhman, author of Eat For Health and Eat Right America Nutrition Handbook, kale has and ANDI score of 1000.

The ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) score is assigned to whole foods, from 0 to 1000, with 1000 being the most nutrient dense. Nutrient density is formulated based on minerals, vitamins, and antioxidant capabilities of a certain whole food.

The higher the nutrients per calorie, the higher the score. Now that is a great reason to start incorporating this super food into your diet!

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How to Make a Massaged Kale Salad

Ingredients for Salad

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 small banana nut squash**
  • Small handful toasted pumpkin seeds

Ingredients for Dressing

  • 1 organic lemon or 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • Sea salt and black pepper to season

Let's put the salad together:

  • Cut the banana nut squash into small cubes. Toss about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast it in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F until cooked.
  • In the meantime, strip the leaves from the thick stem. Wash the leaves and discard the stem. Use your hands and tear the leaves into small pieces. Massage it with your hands by rubbing the leaves. This is the most important step as your hands are helping to break down the leaves and ultimately changing its flavor.
  • Set aside while you make the dressing.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the honey. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking.
  • Add the dressing to the massaged kale. You can massage the kale a bit more with the dressing if you want to break it down even more!
  • Add the pumpkin seeds, or your nuts of choice. Enjoy!

**Alternatives: Instead of butternut squash you can also add your favorite combinations like cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, sprouts, berries, etc.

Try another kale recipe!

Kale Chips - A crunchy and tasteful snack that you will seriously be addicted to!

Glowing Green Smoothie - A delicious smoothie with kale and fruits to jump start your day. It's full of antioxidants and cancer-fighting properties.

More Dressing Ideas for Massaged Kale Salad

**For more dressing recipe ideas, check out my other article on 10 Dairy-Free Salad Dressings**

Creamy vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Pumpkin Maple

  • 2 tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste


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