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How to Massage Kale

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Learn with Jackie How to Massage Kale to ensure every salad is the perfect one. This tutorial is quick and easy and will ensure that your kale is never stiff and boring again!

You’ve probably heard the buzz about massaging kale and thought, “Really? Does my kale need a spa day?” But trust me on this one, it’s not just a fancy fad. Massaging kale is a transformative technique that elevates this green from a tough, sometimes bitter leaf, to a tender, almost sweet delight.

Just like kneading dough makes bread airy and light, massaging kale breaks down its fibrous structure, mellowing out its robust flavor and giving it a softer, more palatable texture. 

So, if you’ve been on the fence about this leafy green, or if you’re just looking to elevate your kale salad game, understanding the art of the massage can be your kitchen game-changer. Let’s dive in and dig into the magic that is kale!

how to massage kale

Step 1: Choose Your Kale Wisely

The first step to the best-massaged kale is choosing the right type. Lacinato kale, often known as Dino or Tuscan kale, takes the cake. It’s sweet, tender, and prime for a good massage.

Step 2: Olive Oil Matters

Don’t just go with any olive oil, aim for greatness! Opt for organic, cold-pressed, and supremely fresh olive oil. My go-to? @freshpressfarms. Their olive oil is not just ethically sourced and sustainably packed, but it also boasts a flavor that’ll make your tastebuds dance.

Step 3: The Citrus Kick

For that zesty punch, nothing works better than fresh-squeezed lemon juice. It really makes a difference, trust me.

Step 4: Get Handsy with Kale

Now for the fun part! Drizzle your choice olive oil and lemon juice over the kale. Roll up your sleeves and start massaging. Rub, scrunch, and knead until the kale turns darker, softer, and beautifully tender. Within minutes, you’ve transformed this green leafy veggie from tough and bitter to soft and delicious.

And here’s a nifty tip: if you’re not into using oil you can substitute it with tahini, mashed avocado, or vegan yogurt work!

Also, for those of you who have my *The Clean Vegan Cookbook*, yes, this technique’s the same one on page 80! So go ahead and give this a whirl, and I guarantee kale will go from being “that rough leaf in the salad” to the star of your plate. If you have any questions at all feel free to comment down below!

Jackie Akerberg

Author of the Clean Vegan Cookbook, Food Blogger and Recipe Developer from Des Moines, Iowa. 

Jackfruitful Kitchen has proudly been featured in Forks Over Knives, Vegan Bowls, Vegan Food and Living, and DSM Magazine.

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How to Massage Kale

So, if you've been on the fence about this Kale, or if you're just looking to elevate your salad game, understanding the art of the massage can be your kitchen game-changer. Let's dive in and dig into the magic that is kale!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Course Learn with Jackie
Cuisine Learn with Jackie


  • hands


  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • juice of 1 medium lemon
  • ½ tsp cold-pressed olive oil
  • tsp salt
  • tsp black pepper


  • Select Your Kale: Opt for Lacinato, also known as Dino or Tuscan kale.
  • Determine Massage spread: olive oil, yogurt, tahini or mashed avocado
  • Add Lemon Zest: Freshly squeeze lemon juice over the kale for zest.
  • Massage Time: Drizzle kale with olive oil and lemon juice, then knead until the leaves darken and soften.
Keyword how to massage kale, learn with jackie, making kale good, massage kale
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