Recipe: $5.05 | Per Serving: $1.26 | Yield: 4 | Jump to Recipe
PSA: ALL kale salad should be massaged. If you’re not massaging your kale, you are seriously missing out. Massaging turns rough greens into soft, yet firm little bites of joy.
I started massaging about 1-2 years ago, but even though I was late to the bandwagon (I have a friend who used to make massaged kale back in 2010!), there are still bloggers, restaurants, and home cooks who are not massaging their kale. MASSAGE THE KALE, PEOPLE.
I am very happy to finally present this delicious tahini dressing on this delicious massaged kale salad. (TLDR: I like it because it is easy and it is nutrient-dense and it is tasty.) Wash and massage kale, whip up dressing, add pepitas. Done! This is such a flavorful and heartier-than-it-looks salad, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and it is Whole30, Vegan, and Paleo! Checking all the boxes on this one!
Massage the Kale!
As mentioned, I took a little hiatus to focus on my clinical internship and finish my master’s degree. During this time with clients, I was again struck by how many people weren’t massaging their kale. People were constantly surprised by the suggestion, including my fellow classmates and interns. Also, if you do a quick check of some of your favorite bloggers, some of these fancy folks are STILL not massaging their kale!
Last Christmas we ordered pizza and salads to my sister’s house in northern California and they delivered the worst kale salad I’ve ever had. Nobody ate it. The next day I took 30 seconds to massage it (yes, all the toppings were already added, no biggie), and it became one of the best kale salads I’ve ever had! Let’s get the message out: massaged is better.
When you massage tough greens like kale, you break down some of the fibers and tough cellulose, making it much more palatable, more pleasant, and easier to digest. If you’re dressing your salad ahead of time or mincing it into teeny pieces, you can give it a quick 30-second massage, but if you’ve got large tough pieces that you’re serving immediately, you’ll want to massage for a minute or more.
This salad came to fruition after making a tahini-based tartar-ish sauce for lamb burgers in one of my cooking classes (my nutrition master’s program had cooking classes! It’s the best!). My group had extra sauce so we tweaked it a bit and put it on some leftover kale to present our dish and we all loved it so much. I ended up simplifying it further and making it very consistently after my January Whole30 and throughout the spring, so I knew it was destined for you all!
You will see that this dressing is made in a processor with tahini, lemon juice, vinegar, and red onions. If you don’t have a blender/processor or you’d rather not dirty it, just check the notes! You can mince the red onion and then shake everything in a jar or whisk it in a bowl. You can serve this as as side dish on its own or add your protein of choice, such as chicken, chickpeas, steak, etc. We’ve also really enjoyed it with roasted Japanese sweet potatoes and homemade chorizo to make it a complete meal.
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Dinner is massaged kale salad with tahini dressing and pumpkin seeds and some steak. So BOMB! This is one of my favorite salad dressings and I promise one day it will make it to the blog. But for now: it’s tahini, garlic, lemon juice, ACV, oil, water, and some minced red onion or shallot if you have it. Massage your kale with a little oil and sea salt first, then add dressing and toppings. ????❤️ – – – #realfood #glutenfree #dairyfree #whole30 #paleo #tasty #food #dinner #saturdaynight #adulting #raresteak #butcherbox
Paleo: Yes ma’am!
Vegetarian: Yep! And vegan!
- For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup minced red onion
- 2 Tablespoons vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 clove garlic
- 2–3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- pinch of sea salt & pepper to taste
- For the Salad:
- 2 bunches of kale (curly or dinosaur/tuscan)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- a few pinches of sea salt
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- For the Dressing:
- Mince the red onion and place in a shallow bowl. Cover with the vinegar and let soak for about 5 minutes. This takes the spicy bite out of the red onion. Once soaked, you can set aside 1-2 Tablespoons for topping the salad, and the rest will go in the dressing.
- Add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, soaked red onion AND soaking liquid to a blender or food processor. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of freshly cracked pepper. Blend until smooth – the dressing will become slightly pink, which is always kind of fun! Taste and adjust as needed, it should be slightly sweet, but with a nice mild bitter undertone from the tahini.
- For the Salad:
- Wash the kale well and strip the leaves from the stems. Let it dry (salad spinner!) and roughly chop into bite-sized pieces. (Or shred with kitchen shears!)
- To massage the kale, drizzle it with a little olive oil (2ish teaspoons) and some sea salt. Using your hands, just massage the kale for 30-90 seconds until it softens and is well coated with the olive oil.
- Toss the salad with the dressing, then add the pumpkin seeds and remaining red onion. I prefer to add half the toppings at first, toss well, then top with the remaining toppings so it looks pretty!
You can make this without a blender/processor -> just mince the garlic and onions finely (microplane works great for garlic), and then mix together. Blending the onions will make the resulting dressing sweeter, so if you don’t blend them, you can taste it and add 1/4 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup if needed. :)
Nutrition Information is for 4 servings: