Greener BeeGreen LivingHow to Make a Kale Salad

Don’t you love a fresh kale salad with great mix-ins? Here’s how to make the kale salad of your dreams!

I’m always shocked when I throw together a kale salad and hear from people who love them but don’t know how to make a kale salad. It’s so easy! Let’s talk about some kale salad basics and look at some kale salad recipe inspiration.

How to Make a Kale Salad

A kale salad is really all about the technique and mix-ins. Here’s a basic step-by-step:

  1. Prepare your kale. Wash your kale, them remove the tough stems. The stems will not soften as you massage, so it’s important to get them out of there.
  2. Add your dressing. You can use any dressing you like, as long as it includes something acidic (lemon juice, vinegar, etc). To start, just add a couple of tablespoons of dressing for every two cups of kale.
  3. Massage your kale. To begin your kale salad, you want just your kale and the dressing from step two in the bowl. With clean hands, you’ll gently massage the kale. The acidity from the citrus or vinegar plus the pressure from your hands will break down the tough green leaves. Keep massaging until your kale is bright green and reaches the texture you want. The longer you go, the softer it will get.
  4. Add your toppings. This is my favorite part! Creative toppings are what make a kale salad special. I like to add: nuts or seeds, beans or tofu, sliced avocado, onion, other chopped veggies, and fresh or dried fruit.
  5. Add more dressing. Once you’ve tossed in your toppings, take a bite, and add more dressing by the tablespoon until your kale salad is dressed to your liking.
  6. Chill. Your kale salad will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, so stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

How to Massage Kale

If you’ve never massaged kale before, don’t panic – it’s easy! Just wash your hands, and dig in. You’re basically breaking the kale down gently with your fingers to make it palatable. You can read more about the science of massaged kale here.

This video recipe shows you how different the massaged kale looks from untouched kale:

See how it goes from light green to bright green? The color is a great way to know when you’re done massaging.

What kind of kale to use for kale salad?

You can use any type of kale that you like for kale salad. It’s really up to your personal taste. I used to prefer dinosaur kale, but lately I’ve been using curly kale. You can also make your kale salad with Russian red kale, or any other variety you find.

In fact, you can massage other veggies besides kale. In the video, you see that I added the green onions before massaging. That’s because I wanted them to soften and release some extra flavor into the dressing. You can also massage collard greens, just like kale.

Kale Salad Recipes

Need some kale salad recipe inspiration? Try some of these tasty kale salad recipes from Care2!

Chili Lime Kale Salad

1. Chili-Lime Kale Salad

This is the kale salad recipe in the video above, and it’s so simple to make! Serve it as a side dish, or add it to your next taco or burrito.

Lemony Kale Salad

2. Lemony Kale Salad with Avocado-Coconut Dressing

This hearty kale salad is a great side dish. You can also top with your favorite plant-based protein to turn it into a one-bowl meal.

Balsamic and Cranberry Kale Salad

3. Balsamic Kale Salad with Cranberries

Cranberries are one of my favorite kale salad additions, and it includes another one of my faves: sunflower seeds! Nuts and seeds add a satisfying crunch to any kale salad recipe.

Kale Salad with Apples and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

4. Kale Salad with Apples and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Sweet apples and crunchy pumpkin seeds are so nice with the sweet-and-sour vinaigrette in this recipe. To make this a vegan salad, use maple syrup or agave nectar in place of the honey.

Warm Kale Salad with Tahini Ginger Dressing  Avocado

5. Warm Kale Salad with Tahini Ginger Dressing Avocado

Usually, you serve a kale salad cold or at room temperature, but you can also serve it warm by either warming the kale or drizzling with warm dressing. This rich-and-spicy kale salad recipe is a good example of how to make that happen. Replace the honey with maple syrup or agave nectar for a vegan recipe.

Related at Care2

Don't you love a fresh kale salad with great mix-ins? Here's how to make the kale salad of your dreams!

All images via Care2.

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