By Lynn Gamwell
You have heard it many times. Eat your greens! Eat more kale! But some days if I have to face one more kale juice or smoothie or plate of steamed kale I think I will just quit! Fortunately I have a few tricks up my sleeve for turning one more bunch of kale into a quick and yummy salad that is beautiful and exciting enough even for guests. Get ready for massaged Kale!
Health Benefits of Eating Kale
Kale is one of the most nutrient dense but low calorie foods around. This cruciferous (cabbage family) leafy green is packed with flavonoids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in which many diets are deficient. Containing exceptionally high levels of vitamins K, C, and beta carotene, kale also delivers potent B vitamins, protein, and omega 3 fatty acids. It provides high levels of the minerals potassium, calcium, manganese, and magnesium, as well as others at lower amounts. All this nutritional power translates into lower cholesterol, increased eye health, prevention of atherosclerosis, decreased susceptibility to tumors, and many more benefits. These unassuming looking green leaves have everything your body needs to boost immune health, decrease inflammation, and prevent disease. Suffice it to say that adding kale to your diet is like taking your daily multivitamin in whole food, bioavailable form.
Massaged Kale Salad
Kale leaves are tough and fibrous so it is often cooked (which can sacrifice some of the vitamin content), juiced, or blenderized into green smoothies. Surprisingly, few people seem to know that Kale can be massaged into tender, delicate deliciousness. The combination of salt and a couple of minutes of working the kale tissues with your hands will break down the chewy fibers leaving you with a smaller bunch of slightly wilted looking leaves. It is this salty, softened kale that becomes the base for your ingredients. I am giving you my favorite additions below with more complete instructions for how to turn your tough raw kale into tender, sublime, and still raw salad!
- 1 large bunch kale
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (toasted or raw)
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries (preferably fruit juice sweetened)
- 1 apple, diced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 TBSP natural and unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- Handful of sliced almonds (optional)
- Gorgonzola or feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
- Use a large bunch of kale, ideally around 20 big leaves. If you have less, adjust salt accordingly.
- Wash kale leaves and de-stem. Pat dry with a towel.
- Shred leaves into long slices or chiffonade.
- Put kale into large bowl with the salt.
- Massage the kale with your hands, working the salt into the fibers. You will know you are done when the quantity has reduced by approximately 1/3.
- Move kale to a clean bowl getting rid of any excess liquid.
- Stir in onion, sunflower seeds, apple, and cranberries, and (optional) almond slices.
- Toss with oil and vinegar to taste. Adjust salt if more is desired.
- Top with gorgonzola or feta cheese crumbles if it pleases you!
We Have Options!
Now you know the secret for serving healthy raw kale without all the tough fibers to chew through. A little massage and it melts into submission!
Some days are super busy, so I make this salad ahead of time. It keeps really well for several days in the refrigerator. Or for days when kale preparation is not possible, try Perfect Fermented Kale Powder rehydrated in the liquid of your choice. You will get all of the vitamins and antioxidants in kale with the added benefits of fermentation which makes it easily digestible and absorbable. Or Catie’s Organic Greens smoothie powder will supply your kale along with other green super foods. It’s always good to have options! So now there is no excuse not to “Eat your kale”!