Massaged kale salad tossed with pine nuts and dried cranberries in a delightful oregano lemon salad dressing and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese. 

Massaged kale salad tossed with pine nuts and dried cranberries in a delightful oregano lemon salad dressing and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese. 

I’ve had a couple kale recipes on the blog. If I want it warm, my go-to recipe is an easy sautéed kale. As for a raw kale recipe, I’m going to share my favorite way of making it in this post, plus some ideas to transform your simple kale salad into super clean and healthy meals.

Let’s dive in.

What Kind of Kale Should I Choose for This Massaged Kale Salad Recipe?

Any kind. There are four types of kale: curly kale, Lacinto kale (aka Dinosaur kale), Redbor kale, and Russian kale. Curly kale and Lacinto kale are green kale whereas Redbor kale and Russian kale are red kale.

Red kale is said to have a much sweeter and delicate flavor compared to green kale. But they are sometimes not easy to find. Therefore, in this recipe, we use the two most popular green kale, curly and Lacinto kale. This is one of these uber healthy green salads except uber delicious!

If you are concerned about the raw kale leaves being bitter, don’t worry. We’ll get rid of the bitterness by massaging the kale.

How Do You Massage The Kale and Why?

To massage the kale, simply add some olive oil and salt to your raw kale leaves. Use both of your hands to rub the leaves for a couple minutes. You’ll notice your kale softened up after the massage.

The reason why you want to massage the kale for this recipe or any other kale salads is because: 1) it helps soften the kale and remove some bitterness from the raw leaves; 2) by rubbing the olive oil and salt into the raw leaves helps make sure that the whole salad is well-seasoned instead of having a bunch of tasteless, bitter, and tough leaves in your mixing bowl and a puddle of salad dressing at the bottom.

Massaged kale salad tossed with pine nuts and dried cranberries in a delightful oregano lemon salad dressing and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese. 

Which Salad Dressing Do You Recommend for This Recipe?

Homemade, my friend! Always homemade.

The oregano lemon vinaigrette I came up with a while back works wonders for raw kale salads. It’s a creamy dressing that’s infused with fresh oregano leaves, Dijon mustard, garlic, and fresh lemon juice for the refreshing sour taste, maple syrup for a bit of sweetness, and red pepper flakes for a little kick. Hmmm… Yum!

If you want to pick a store-bought salad dressing, any vinaigrette with herbs should work.

Can I Mix In Other Nuts and Dried Fruits?

Yes, of course! Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, roasted walnuts, dried berries, prune, apricot, etc are all great choices for your massaged kale salad. I encourage you to mix different type of nuts and dried fruits. There’s one ask from me – tell me what combination you tried and you liked the best in the comments below, so other street-smart cooks and I can try it too. 🙂

Massaged kale salad tossed with pine nuts and dried cranberries in a delightful oregano lemon salad dressing and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese. 

What Are Your Ideas to Transform It Into Healthy Meals?

Let’s see.

  1. Add well-seasoned toasted chickpeas on top of the salad for some extra protein to keep you satisfied. This will be an extremely clean meal packed with dietary fiber and vitamins.
  2. Mix in cooked quinoa to turn it into a superfood bowl. If you are not afraid of carbs, this is a perfect workday lunch that you can pack to go. The added quinoa offers good carbs, loads of fiber and protein.
  3. Last but not least, toss in some Romaine lettuce, salad greens, or even grilled chicken to transform this delicious recipe into an amazing Caesar salad. You might want to double the dressing for this one!

All of the above healthy meals are gluten free and vegan-friendly. What do you think? Got some other ideas for a one-dish full meal using this massaged kale salad? Leave a comment and share. I look forward to hearing from you.

Massaged kale salad tossed with pine nuts and dried cranberries in a delightful oregano lemon salad dressing and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese. 
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Massaged Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Dried Cranberries

Massaged Kale Salad with Pine Nuts & Dried Cranberries


  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Sides, Vegetables, Gluten Free, Vegetarian
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Massaged kale salad tossed with pine nuts and dried cranberries in a delightful oregano lemon salad dressing and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese.


Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of curly kale, stems removed and torn
  • 1 bunch of Lacinto kale, stems removed and torn
  • Olive oil & Salt
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Oregano Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Place prepared kale in a large bowl, rinse and drain. Add some olive oil and a pinch of salt and massage kale with both of your hands for about 5 minutes. (This step will help reduce the bitter flavor of the kale. Set aside.)
  2. Clean hands. Make the vinaigrette by adding Dijon mustard, lemon juice, oregano leaves, salt, red pepper flakes, maple syrup and garlic in a blender. Blend until smooth, then slowly add extra virgin olive oil, continue blending until well combined.
  3. Add pine nuts and dried cranberries into the large bowl with the kale. Pour the vinaigrette over and toss all ingredients together. Transfer the kale salad to a large serving bowl or small bowls for individual servings.
  4. Use a vegetable peeler, shave some Parmesan cheese on top and season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 252
  • Sugar: 8.7g
  • Sodium: 304.4mg
  • Fat: 19.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.2mg
  • Fiber: 4.7g
  • Protein: 6.2g
  • Cholesterol: 3.2mg

 

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