Kale, Dude, Kale

I should probably preface this by saying that I generally read and then do not follow recipes. I tend to think of recipes (other than for baked goods unless you want some tyrannically swelling monstroid trying to liberate itself from the clutches of your oven while you pace around, flip the oven light on and off, curse frequently, and wonder what the fuck you should do now) as a list of potential ingredients (if I have that) and a general guide for proportions. Given that fuck the man attitude towards the learned teachings of better cooks than me, I’m going to present this recipe the way that I think about it. This also means the instructions below the list of ingredients is going to be long as fuck. Be patient. I made this last night and it was awesome.

Trendy As Fuck Massaged Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch of kale (whichever kind is cheapest or organic)
  • Kosher salt
  • Balsamic Vinegar (alternatives below)
  • A carrot or two
  • Some olive oil
  • An apple?


1.  First you need to separate the kale leaves from the stems. Some folks like to slice the stems up and include them in their massaged kale. I’ll eventually try this, but I didn’t for this outing. Don’t worry about getting perfect leaves. This is still step one
Rinse all the earthy gnarliness off your leaves. I’m pretty quick about this. Big stuff off and a stray bug turd likely won’t kill me unless it’s some exotic kale slug with toxic mucus or something. Hasn’t happened yet so I’ll assume this is okay. Get the leaves as dry as you can. If you’ve got one of those salad spinner things that would probably work more awesomely than my invert washing container and squeeze the leaves method. I also dumped mine onto a paper towel covered sheet to soak up some of the excess moisture.

2.  Rip the leaves into smaller pieces. I’ve seen a lot of massaged kale recipes that call for thinly slicing the leaves into strips. I’m not on a cooking show so I tear the leaves into quarter and dime sized pieces.

3.  Now would be a good time to slice up some of the other ingredients. I used a couple of carrots. Don’t be stupid and use three like I did. I did small thin slices of carrot. Set your sliced additions aside it’s time to rub some produce.

4.  Throw your mostly dry kale into a mixing bowl that is large enough to fit all of your washed kale and accommodate your gently massaging hands. Spend your time after the salad is completed eating instead of picking pieces of kale off the kitchen floor. Decision time: do you want salty kale, oily kale, or both kinds, country and western? Salt also helps remove the bitterness so even if you’re going the vinegar route you might throw a couple sprinkles of salt in to contribute to that.

5.  After you’ve chosen your destiny you can either toss 3/4 of a teaspoon of kosher salt in your greens or introduce the olive oil portion of your vinaigrette. If you’re going the oil and vinegar route, plan ahead and measure the amount of oil you intend to use and remember that the magic ratio for vinaigrette is 3:1 oil to vinegar. Imagine your dry ass raw kale or your kale and oil soup before making your final decision. Dump your ration of oil on the kale. If you’re using salt and oil, throw the salt in too.

6.  Start your rubbing. You’re basically aiming for 2-3 minutes of hand movements approximate the kneading bread dough. No need to bust out your useless massage certificate or anything. Your kale will shrink a lot and the color will change from the paler green that uncooked kale usually is to a deep, rich, radioactive green. Massaging the kale makes it a lot less leathery and weird. Rub, rub, rub.

7.  Once you’ve massaged the crap out of your kale, throw your other ingredients in. With apples and carrots, it’s pretty easy to eyeball the ratio. I made the mistake of adding far too many carrots and it made eating my salad more like eating a bowl of Grape Nuts. Baaaaaad.

8.  Vinaigrette time. If you measured your oil like a good kid then you’ll just need to dump 1 unit of vinegar to 3 units of olive oil. I’m not a mathemagician so you’ll need to calculate that yourself. I use balsamic vinegar, but you can also use cider vinegar. If you want, mix the two. Or make your plain old cider into mock balsamic by adding some sugar to it. Mix everything around. If I told you to toss your salad you’d start giggling.

9.  Fucking eat. If you’re fussy, you can throw the salad in the fridge for a few minutes. I think colder is a bit more refreshing for a raw salad, but do what you want cowboy.

We all know kale is good for us. It contains an inordinate amount of calcium and vitamin C as well as a bunch of minerals. The nice part is that you’re going to get more of them if you don’t char them out over a burner. Here are some more sanely presented nutritional facts on kale. There’s also some talk in the health food world about kale having inflammatory properties. I’ve yet to find any real information about this that points to causes and potential symptoms so I’ll leave that up to people who have medical conditions and food allergies to figure out.

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