The Science Behind Massaged Kale

A few years ago, massaged kale broke into the dining scene in a big way, taking the tough, chewy green to a delicate new level with a simple rub down. Massaged kale salad began popping up on every menu and on tables across the country as the superfood sprung up in popularity. By now, you probably know how tasty your kale is once you’ve given it a little TLC. But do you know why?

Simply put, massaging kale breaks down those dense, chewy fibers, otherwise known as the green’s cellulose structure. Once the structure has broken down, you’ll find silky, easy-to-chew leaves in its wake. Breaking down this structure is something your body typically has to do on its own, so taking care of this in advance not only offers up a more delicious green, but an easier time digesting.

Luckily, you don’t have to knead your greens for longŚjust a three to five minutes of rubbing the leaves with a fat or acid will do. (Tip: massaging your kale in avocado, coconut oil or olive oil will leave your hands silky, too.)

As you go, you will notice that the leaves change in color, from that bright vibrant green to a deeper green hueŚalmost as if the kale has been cooked. And similar to what happens in cooking, tenderizing the kale through massage causes the green leaves to shrink down to half their original size. The flavor changes too, going from almost offensively bitter to nutty and lightly sweet.

Eating raw kale, which is as cruciferous as its cousin the cabbage, can often lead to belly bloat, indigestion and gas. Massaging your kale before you put it on your plate nixes these issues and makes the green date-night friendlyŚso long as you can keep it out of your teeth.

So how can you add more massaged kale to your diet? Below are a fewáof our favorite recipes.

Lemony Kale Salad With Avocado Coconut Dressing



Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado + Cucumber

  • 1 bunch curly kale
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 cup cooked cold quinoa
  • ╝ cup minced red onion
  • Ż cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, rough chop
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste.

1. Wash and dry your kale, strip it from the stem and tear it into bite sized pieces.
2. Place kale in a large bowl with flesh of avocado, lemon juice and mustard. Massage for 3-5 minutes until kale begins to darken and wilt.
3. Mix in onion, cabbage, cucumber, basil and quinoa.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!


Sonia Minwer Barakat Requ
Sonia Mabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Lenore Kudaka
Lenore K3 years ago


Karen C.
Karen C3 years ago


Karen C.
Karen C3 years ago

Kale is very good, but I've only eat kale chips before

Shailja Mukhtyar
Shailja Mukhtyar3 years ago

new ideas, makes sense, but i love my spinach, soft & sweet w/ o the massage!!

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers3 years ago


mac C.
mac C3 years ago

I've not heard about massaging kale. For years, I've eaten it raw all the time and love it. So if it's better for digesting, I guess I'll try it- it will be interesting to see how better it taste after massaging. Thanks for the tip.

Janet B.
Janet B3 years ago