A Lesson In Kale

A Lesson In Kale

Kale is trendy. Kale is cool. Kale is healthy. Everybody loves kale. But I feel like people don’t exactly know what to do with kale when they are at home. Not to fret, I am going to explain exactly how to get that restaurant worthy kale.

My favorite type of kale is the common curly kale picture below due to its more mild flavor. In my experience, curly kale tends to be the least tender and require the most attention – which is why this post was created. But you can definitely follow this process if you are using lacinato (aka tuscan, dinosaur) or other types.

First, you start with your massive head of kale that probably seems a bit daunting like an overgrown weed. Is this edible? Are we sure?

Time to remove the stem. The easiest way to do this is to hold the end of the stem in your dominant hand, starting at the base quickly pull the leaves away from the stem with your other hand. The leaves should pull off easy. If any stem gets left behind just pull it away from the leaves. We don’t like stem. Sorry stem.

Wash the leaves well and put them through a colander. If you don’t have a colander, just lay them on a kitchen towel to dry. But it is important the kale isn’t wet. Also – do not skip the washing step. Kale tends to have a bit of a film on it, so give it a seriously good wash.

Now we chop! My preference is to slice kale super super fine, almost shredded. The best way to do that is gather a few of the leaves and roll them together tightly, using your knife carefully slice down in 1/2cm width – the smaller the better. You can go back over it a few times. You could totally leave it in bigger leaves (in some salad situations that will make more sense) I just prefer kale processed super fine. **If you are making the Cavolo Nero salad on my site, slice the kale super fine.

Now for the most critical step – the massage. Per big head of kale I use: 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and the juice of half a lemon. Use your hands and go to town! Massage the kale for a solid minute or two. You will actually feel the kale get soft and tender – at that point you know it’s done. I could honestly eat the kale just like this. It should taste well seasoned with a touch of acid from the lemon. You don’t want it overly oily or wet because you will likely still be dressing it at some point.


The massaged kale will last in the fridge for a few days. I often do this on Sunday and use it through out the week. If you are making salad for a party, I always massage the night before. A romantic bedtime massage if you will. Voila! Now you have perfectly tender kale to make all your kale salad dreams come true. You’re welcome 🙂

**Check out Cavolo Nero salad on my site for kale salad inspo

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