The Basics: How to Prepare Kale

by Krista on September 20, 2013 · 24 comments

The Basics: How to Prep Kale

Have you had Kale before or are you a newbie on the “Kale train” like me?  To be honest, it kinda weird-ed me out.  It reminded me of collard greens or something like that, so I tended to steer clear at all costs.  I didn’t want to eat something that had a strange texture or tasted bitter.  So when my mother-in-law told me she had this Kale Salad she wanted to make me I was a little skeptical.

The Kale definitely had a different texture to it, but to my surprise I liked it.  ALOT!  It was a little rougher than your typical romaine or spring mix.  One of my biggest pet peeves with salad is if left out for an hour or so with dressing on it, the lettuce immediately gets soggy and wilts.  Not the case with this fibrous leaf, it holds its own.  In fact, I recently made a Kale Salad and had quite a bit left over. Normally I don’t put salads in the refrigerator for leftovers but I thought I would give it a try. The salad still held up its crunch 2 DAYS later. Unheard of!  So, needless to say I am a Kale convert and you will definitely be seeing a few recipes in the near future.

One of the things I learned when making a Kale salad is that there is a way to “Prepare the Kale”.  Sure you remove it from its fibrous stem but you also massage the leaves until they are fragrant.  This makes the strong sturdy greens more tender and ready for a salad. :)

To get started, wash 1 bunch of fresh kale and pat dry. Separate the leaves from the center fibrous stem. Discard the stem.

How to Prep Kale 1

Tear up the leaves into bite size pieces, place in bowl and add 1 pinch of salt to the bowl.

How to Prep Kale 2

Massage the leaves with the salt until the leaves start to turn to a darker green and become fragrant. {about 5 minutes}

How to Prep Kale 3

All done!  Your kale leaves are all prepped and ready to be used!

How to Prep Kale 6

Please note, the massage prepping is for a salad or lighter dish in order to make the leaves tender. If you are planning on sauteing or steaming the kale you will not need to do this massage step! :)

How to Prep Kale #kale #kalerecipes #kalemassage

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Tahnycooks September 20, 2013 at 7:16 AM

My mother-in-law will love this post! They grow kale in abundance. Great info!


Krista September 20, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Awesome Tahny, I hope they find it helpful. Is kale easy to grow? I think I am addicted and would love to try and grow it, just don’t know if it will grow here in Texas. Do you cook with it alot?


Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner September 20, 2013 at 10:47 AM

I’ve never cooked with kale. Why? I have no idea how to work with it. So this post is extremely helpful and full of great info! Thanks so much. :)


Krista September 20, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Hey that was me too girl! It is fairly simple. Once you try it, you will love it. I will probably start using it in place of lettuce, it has TONS of nutrients in it!


kristina @ love & zest September 20, 2013 at 4:27 PM

yes! the massage… especially with a little garlic dressing


Krista September 21, 2013 at 3:33 PM

oh… the garlic dressing sounds yummy! If its homemade then you need to put it on the blog or send me the recipe girl! :)


Lisa@ Cooking with Curls September 21, 2013 at 2:08 PM

I worked in a restaurant back in college, and kale was used to cover the ice on the salad bar. I never even knew that it was edible until my daughter started putting it in her smoothies! :)


Krista September 21, 2013 at 3:31 PM

haha… too funny! Learn something new everyday!


Diane Balch September 22, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Thanks for removing the kale mystery for the folks on foodie friday.


Krista September 23, 2013 at 8:38 AM

Absolutely! I was super excited when I learned about it and even more after I tasted it. I just had to share the news hopefully it helps a few people out! :)


Laura @ The Rookie Cook September 22, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Huh, this is really interesting. I always thought you had to cook it! Pinned for future reference!


Krista September 23, 2013 at 8:36 AM

I did too!! Then my mother in law made this salad and it was awesome! Salad recipe to come. :)


Sarah Reid, CNP (@jo_jo_ba) September 23, 2013 at 6:42 PM

If more people did this, more people would like kale!


Krista September 24, 2013 at 7:59 AM

I know right! It was absolutely delicious after the massage. :)


Gloria November 11, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Whoa, there! You don’t really mean a bushel of kale, do you? My guess is you wrote down “bu.”for bunch.
The recipe looks great, and I will try it. I had just read recently about massaging the kale, and I’m sure that’s a good idea. It can be pretty tough otherwise.


Krista November 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM

haha… you crack me up. Wrong wording and you caught it! Thank you so much, making the change. A bushel, yes, that would be quite large and ALOT of massaging.

It really does make it easier to eat when in a salad, and delicious. I like it better this way than cooked. :) Thanks for the heads up girl! Hope you have a great rest of the day!


Barbara February 1, 2014 at 8:16 AM

Never have grown Kale but we planted some this winter and it’s ready to “harvest” Can you massage without the salt? Your tips are wonderful, will try this recipe tomorrow! Thanks so much!!


Krista February 1, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Yes, absolutely. I’ve done it before. The salt is just used as a way to “scrap” the leaves to break them down. But if you just massage with your hands I’m sure you’d be able to get the same results, might just take a tad longer. :) Hope you enjoy Barbara, you’ll have to let me know how the kale takes in your garden.


Kathy Berry June 3, 2014 at 8:53 PM

I had never had it and my husband absolutely raved about a kale dish his Mennonite grand mother used to make. He finally made contact with his 87 year old aunt who had the recipe down pat. We love it. and I guarantee it is not healthy but sooo good. Would love to share if anyone would like it.


Krista June 5, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Oh.. thanks so much Kathy! So glad you were able to find that recipe, family recipes passed down are the best!


Michelle June 18, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Kale was in my coop food basket this week. Decided since I’m trying hard to eat better that I had better try it. However had no idea what to do or how to do it. Thanks a bunch {no pun intended}!

Michelle @ On A Wing And A Prayer


Krista June 18, 2014 at 9:33 PM

OH… so glad Michelle. Kale is delicious in salad, you will love it! :)


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