How to Prepare Kale for Salads

Kale can be a bit tough to eat raw in salads. But if you know how to pamper it and prepare it, it becomes the perfect salad green. Learn how here.

Kale can be a bit tough to eat raw in salads. But if you know how to pamper it and prepare it, it becomes the perfect salad green. Learn how here.

A kale salad for lunch sounds so good, doesn’t it? Stop right there, you salad-loving fiend. Not so fast. Your mouth will hate you if you pop in a raw piece of kale.

Kale needs to be babied, coddled even. You have to take time to prepare the kale. And only then will it repay you with a delicious salad. Here are some tips.

Cut it up

Kale has a ton of fiber. That’s one of its great health benefits. But it can also make you look like a cow gnawing on a big piece of kale. You have to tear or cut it thin little pieces.

Remove the stem

Remove the kale’s stem. Only use the leaves. Trust us. The stems are almost impossible to eat. You shouldn’t worry about hurting your jaw when eating salad.

Massage it

This sounds incredibly silly but it makes a huge difference because it breaks down some of the plant’s fibrous cells.

Massage your kale with a little lemon juice and salt until it starts to soften, usually about 3 minutes. You can instead use a bit of your dressing.  After you add just enough dressing, massage the leaves. Rub them between your fingers. You won’t hurt the kale, so go ahead press away.  After you’ve given an impressive massage, let that bad boy sit for a minimum of 5 minutes. It’ll soften the kale even more.

Choose your dressing wisely

I like vinaigrettes because they’re more acidic than other dressings. The dressing’s vinegar helps break down the leaves even more. I’ll do anything to make kale leaves more tender. Here’s our how-to guide for making your own vinaigrettes at home.

Amy Bowen

Amy had no clue how to cook until she became the food reporter for a daily newspaper in Minnesota. At 25, she even struggled with boxed mac and cheese. These days, Amy is a much better cook, thanks to interviewing cooks and chefs for more than 10 years. She even makes four cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon, no boxed mac in sight. Amy is also on the editorial team at The Cookful.