Massaged Kale Salad

This isn’t your average bland massaged kale salad with dry, tough leaves! This kale salad is massaged gently to break down the tough texture of kale, coated with a creamy homemade dressing and topped with toasted breadcrumbs.

This is THE BEST salad I have ever had and it’s so simple to make!! ~ Maddie ★★★★★

Before you read the name of this recipe and move on, take a second to hear me out! I know exactly what you’re thinking- KALE TASTES BAD! Take a second to read this with an open mind and I promise you will forget everything you know about kale and you will fall in love with this recipe! I was personally someone who steered clear of green smoothies and raw veggies, but trust me when I say that this recipe is life-changing! For years, I also frowned at even the sight of tough, bitter kale. Trust me on this though, when you properly massage your kale, thoroughly coat it in a creamy homemade dressing, and top it off with toasted breadcrumbs, kale is pretty damn delicious. Once you try this massaged kale salad, you will become just as obsessed with kale as I am!

How To Massage Kale

Curly Kale is a very tough green and has an enzyme that can be hard to digest. If you are eating kale raw, like in a salad, always massage it first! Let’s break it down what that means :

  1. Get Rid of the Stems. Run your hand along either side of the stem to save the leafy bits and separate the hard, fibrous stem.
  2. Sprinkle the leaves with a pinch of salt and some lemon juice, olive oil or vinegar and then start crunching them between your hands.
  3. Scrunch the kale in your hands for 1-2 minutes. You should feel them get softer as you massage it. There is such a thing as over-massaged, mushy kale! Your kale is ready when it is less tough but still has a bit of a crunch to it! This massaging technique will give your kale a crunchiness rather than a rubbery feeling.

You only have to massage your kale if you are planning on eating your salad right away. If your salad is going to sit in the fridge, allowing the acids in the dressing to break down the cellulose in the leaves on its own, then you shouldn’t massage the kale as it will only double the effect leaving you with a mushy heap of kale.

Kale Salad Dressing From Scratch

Finding the dressing that is “just right” for your kale salad can be a stressful task. In my opinion, most store-bought dressings are either too pungent, too tangy, too sweet, or just too blehh for my liking. Making a homemade salad dressing is not only easy but also the perfect chance to create a flavor profile that compliments your salad toppings! The ingredients in mine are mustard, light mayo, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. It’s made up of some pretty simple ingredients that come together to create a bright flavor that’ll leave you wanting more! This perfect blend of creamy goodness is the perfect complement to this crunchy Kale Salad.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup Light Mayo
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 cup parmesan Cheese
  • 5-6 tbsp water
  • 1 sundried tomato or roasted pepper (optional)

The Crunch Factor

The layering of multiple textures in your salad is important to make the overall experience enjoyable. The most popular way to incorporate flavor is with croutons, but I prefer toasted breadcrumbs a lot more. Croutons can be calorie-dense and big, so you only get a few pieces in the whole salad. Toasted breadcrumbs are small and coat all the kale evenly, so you get crunch in every bite!

Pair This Salad With:

Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo (No Cream!)

Halal Cart Style Chicken over Rice

Tuscan Cajun Spaghetti

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The BEST Massaged Kale Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs

  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 Large Bowls 1x


This Kale Salad actually tastes good – even if you aren’t a salad person! Massaged Kale is topped with a creamy homemade dressing and perfectly toasted breadcrumbs.


  • 1 large bunch of curly kale
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 apple, chopped or sliced
  • 28 g feta cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs


  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard

  • 1/4 cup Light Mayo

  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice

  • 1/3 cup parmesan Cheese

  • 5-6 tbsp water

  • 1 sundried tomato (completely optional)



  1. Prepare the Kale : Rinse the kale and pat dry. Remove the leaves from the thick stem by pulling away. Then, use your hands to rip into smaller bite sized pieces.
  2. Massage the Kale : Add your kale to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle on 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp olive oil. Use your hand to scrunch/massage the kale for 1-2 minutes. The kale should start to feel softer and reduce in volume. Don’t over massage as that will make it mushy!
  3. Make the Dressing : To a blender, add all the ingredients under “Dressing”. Blend! If the dressing is too thick, add 1 tbsp of water at a time. If the dressing is too thin, add 1 tbsp of parmesan at a time.
  4. Toast the Breadcrumbs : Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add your breadcrumbs to the pan and sauté with a spatula. You do not need any oil, just make sure to continuously keep the breadcrumbs moving in the pan. Once golden, pour into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Serving : Pour the dressing into the mixing bowl with the kale. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to toss until evenly coated. Spread the dressed kale on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs, feta cheese and apples. Feel free to add in your choice of toppings and proteins. Enjoy & be sure to send me a picture @eatsbyramya on Instagram!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes

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  1. Fathima Afsal says:

    The only way to salads for me was by using lettuce as a base, and to be honest I was getting bored of it. Omg this recipe was so delicious! The tangish flavour from lemon and the crumbs and sweetness from apple- it comes out really good! I have made this recipe multiple times and it always worked out really well!

  2. This is THE BEST salad I have ever had and it’s so simple to make!! I’m in college and I don’t have tons of time to make complex meals, so this salad is my go-to: the recipe is so easy to follow, the ingredients are affordable, and it is super filling and refreshing especially in the summer. MAKE IT MAKE IT MAKE IT!!

  3. I have made this salad about 4-5 times now and it’s good. Every Single Time. This salad made me realize I actually prefer kale for how it keeps its crunch and flavor in a dressed salad. It’s so easy to make and makes me feel like I can competently make something because of how well it turns out. 10/10 recommend.