The Basics: How to Prepare Kale

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How to Prep Kale #kale #kalerecipes #kalemassage

A tutorial on how to prepare Kale for a lighter dish, techniques on kale massage and how to tenderize this fibrous leaf.

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

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Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football!

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26 Responses
  1. Charles

    Is it really the salt that makes the kale leaves turn greener? I don’t see how a smidgen of salt for hundreds of leaves separated from their stalks makes this happen. But I will continue you massage.

    1. Krista Rollins Professional Photos-5

      haha… yes it helps them turn greener but it’s more the granules rubbing up against the leaves that essentially “tears” the kale and breaks it down so it’s not so tough.

  2. Rachel

    Love the info on the Kale! I have little knowledge about it and am glad to know that I’ve been doing it right by separating the leaves from the stem (yay me!). I’ve only ever added it to soups or sautéed it with garlic and olive oil, and have been dying to try it as a salad! Although massaging it sounds weird to me… do I ask it how it’s day was while doing it? HaHa! Thanks for the tips!!

    1. Krista Rollins Professional Photos-5

      hahaahaha… totally cracked me up! Yes.. how the day was and get to know it for sure. 🙂

      Can’t wait to see what you think about kale in a salad. I was against trying it for the longest time but once I did I loved it, the texture was what won me over. It doesn’t wilt like lettuce. Score!

  3. Michelle

    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

  4. Kathy Berry

    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.

  5. Barbara

    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!!

    1. Krista Rollins Professional Photos-5

      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.

  6. Gloria

    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.

    1. Krista Rollins Professional Photos-5

      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!

    1. Krista Rollins Professional Photos-5

      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! 🙂

  7. Lisa@ Cooking with Curls

    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! 🙂

  8. Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner

    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. 🙂

    1. Krista Rollins Professional Photos-5

      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!

    1. Krista Rollins Professional Photos-5

      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?

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