Massaged Raw Kale Salad with Balsamic

March 17, 2013

I used to always sautee kale with butter and olive oil – always. But, recently I learned how to prepare it raw, and since then I’ve been discovering a whole new world of delicious kale based salads.

Kale is a hardy, slightly bitter green so the trick is to “massage” the dressing into the leaves (Yes, kinda weird, but actually pretty fun). When you do this, a chemical transformation takes place and the leaves become tender and sweet – it is really amazing. For those who are skeptical that kale can taste good – try it prepared this way. You can use any dressing you like.

For this Balsamic Raw Kale Salad recipe, the sweet acidity of the balsamic vinegar balances the slightly bitter flavor of kale. The addition of salty parmesan makes for a perfect side salad. You could also top with grilled chicken or salmon for a complete meal.

Eater’s Note:¬†Kale is a hardy green so it can last a few days with dressing already on it, unlike regular lettuce which wilts in a few hours. Leftovers can easily be taken into work for lunch or eaten the next evening. I also recommend chopping the kale into small pieces before adding the dressing. It’s an extra step, but it makes for an easier eating experience. For nutritional information about kale, check out this NPR story.

Massaged Raw Kale with Balsamic
  • 1 bunch kale (removed from stem, washed, dried, and chopped)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
  • sea salt (to taste)
  1. In a large bowl, add balsamic vinegar and salt. Add olive oil in a slow drizzle while whisking continuously.
  2. Add kale, and with clean hands, massage the leaves in the dressing until bright green, shiny, and reduced by about half.
If you have a particularly large bunch of kale, you may need to adjust the amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar you use. It should look and taste like a dressed salad.