Your kale needs some lovin’ too. There’s a good reason for it too, so massage your kale for your next salad.


There are two types of people: those who love kale and those who are terrified of it.

The latter of the two is largely because this dark leafy green can be intimidating, especially with its rough and tough leaves and thick fibrous stem. Kale looks like a lot to handle.

However, this Simple Kale Salad recipe is the perfect foundation recipe to build upon. It’s super easy, uses only a few key ingredients to balance out the natural bitterness of kale and requires only a few seconds of grip strength (yes, grip strength, we’ll get to that part later).

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about the good stuff kale has to offer. Why are people naming their children after this dark leafy green (name this reality TV show reference!) and why everyone and their mother are sporting kale inspired tees?

Simply put, kale is a nutrient KING.

This cruciferous vegetable is full of so many nourishing nutrients including Vitamin A, C, K, B-vitamins, calcium, iron, folate, potassium, phosphorus, copper, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, flavonoids, carotenoids, and dietary fiber. Chock full of the good stuff.

But first, let’s clear up a few things.

You may have heard that kale can detoxify the body. Although no one food can “detox” the body (your liver, kidneys, lungs, and skin were made to do that for you), the nutrients found in kale can support certain enzymatic reactions that naturally occur within the body’s detoxification process.

You may have also heard kale can inhibit thyroid function, otherwise known as a goitrogenic food. This is true, but only for some people with hypothyroidism or thyroid dysfunction if eaten in large quantities…as in, more than the average kale salad. Eating kale cooked can reduce thyroid interference, and certainly eating smaller quantities of raw kale is a smart choice. Enjoying kale in a smoothie, baked into chips, or as a salad green is perfectly safe.

Why the heck do I need to massage kale?

It may feel weird to literally manhandle your kale, but it’s perfectly normal to do! Massaging raw kale, especially with citrus or an acidic dressing, helps to breakdown the cell walls, making the leaves more digestible, enhances nutrient absorption, and ultimately makes kale leaves easier to chew. Try a mouthful of un-massaged raw kale and I doubt you’ll ever want to eat it again!

Take my advice and give your kale a rub down with this recipe. Plus, nutritional yeast is a great source of Vitamin B12, and the Vitamin C from lemon juice makes kale’s iron more bioavailable for your body to use!

  • 1 bunch organic kale, stems removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast

Dianna Sinni Dillon, RDN, LD is a Registered Dietitian based in Kansas City, MO with a passion for all things whole grain, green, and homegrown. She focuses on empowering and inspiring others to take charge of their wellness through simple plant-based recipes and science-powered advice.