Let’s Talk About Kale One More Time, Because It Really Does Need a Massage

published Jun 12, 2015
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Kale has been with us for some time. First there were normal encounters, like kale slaw and creamed kale. Then the food world got creative and started in with cheesy kale chips and chili studded with the green leafy vegetable. And just like that, kale was the new black. We tried it, we loved it, and we’ve since all sort of gotten over it. I mean, that’s cool and all — but did you know you’re still eating it wrong?

Yeah, you read that right — you’re eating it wrong. I mean, obviously I haven’t traveled to most of your kitchens to double check on this (although I’m never late for lunch if there’s an open invitation), because let’s face it — that would be super weird and creepy. That doesn’t change the fact that most folks out there, kale lovers and haters alike, are probably eating this nutrient-dense veggie wrong.

So what does “right” look like? You just make big pieces into small pieces and then, um, you eat — right? Wrong. Well, sort of. The whole reason kale is so filling is that gosh darn ribbing. The cellulose structure of the plant is quite dense, which is where all that fabulous fiber lives. The biggest beef with this green for many is this exact thing. It’s an acquired texture and there are those who aren’t big fans of that much chewing — unless it’s Hubba Bubba or Big League Chew (don’t judge, you’re never too old).

The crucial step that most folks miss is busting out the scented candles and your Barry White LP and giving your kale a rub down. Hey, hey now — let’s keep this PG. But seriously, you should be giving your kale a massage after it’s been washed and cut to size.

And yes, yes, I know that massaging kale has been around for ages — we talked about it here and asked the obvious next question here: Massaging Raw Kale for Salads: Awesome… or Just Dumb? It just feels weird, I know. But it works. So consider this one last alert for those of you who think massaging kale doesn’t quite sound right.

How to Massage Your Kale (It Will Love You For It)

Simply wash, cut, and place your kale in a large bowl. Then reach in, grab a handful, and squeeze. Don’t worry, it can take it! After 15 to 20 fistfuls (insert inappropriate joke here), you will feel the structure break and your oh-so-tough greens become soft and tender. They’ll hold dressing better, make way for ingredients so they don’t fall to the bottom of your bowl, and best of all, have a head start on digestion so your tummy doesn’t have to work so hard.

Kale Salads to Try This Trick On

So if you’re a kale hater, give this trick a try before you dig in your heels for good. If you’re already a fan, (although on the DL because we’re on to cauliflower how right?) then give this a go to enjoy these tasty greens in a more satisfying manner!