Love veggies but don’t see what all the fuss is about raw kale? Well, we’ve got a kitchen tip for you. The secret to delicious, tender raw kale salads may be unorthodox, but it’ll change the way you think about these dark, bitter greens. So next time you bring back a bag from the grocery store, give them a little extra attention — we promise, it’ll be worth the wait.
Greens like kale are notoriously hearty, with thick leaves and strong flavor. Although you can obviously cook greens such as kale and collards, we prefer them straight up raw in salad form. They stand up well to pretty much whatever other else they are paired with, and their versatility means you can try endless combinations of ingredients and flavors.
Eating kale raw also means we get the full nutritional benefits of this green, since nutrients get leached out of fruits and veggies during the cooking process. Loaded with antioxidants, kale is incredibly healthy and good for you. Packed with Vitamins A, C and K, it has been shown to support heart health, prevent inflammation and help detoxify the body, among its many health benefits. Long story short: If you’re not making kale part of your healthy diet, you should be.
So what's the secret to the best kale you've ever tasted? Massaging. Hear us out.
After washing and drying hearty greens like kale, strip the leaves away from the stems. While the stems are edible, they are also quite tough, so we prefer not to eat them raw. Keeping the large leaves intact, place them in a bowl and prepare for your next step: the massage.
Yes, we know it sounds weird but massaging raw kale is the thing to do — especially if you don’t really like raw kale. Knead the leaves similar to how you would bread dough or how you would mix a meatloaf. The leaves can take a good amount of pressure, so don’t be afraid to push hard, without crushing them completely of course.
Which begs the question, why massage kale? In addition to making the leaves softer and silkier, massaging breaks down the cells that cause them to taste bitter in the first place, according to Eating Well. The result is a tender, succulent leaf absolutely made for delicious salads.
Once your kale is massaged and ready to go, proceed with tearing or chopping it as you normally would. Then transfer to a large bowl, toss with your favorite ingredients (we love sundried tomatoes for a sweet kick) and serve.