I'm not sure when it happened, but I've recently noticed that I enjoy eating kale. Which is weird, because last year I would only eat kale if it was baked into kale chips.
This year I've eaten a kale in salads and on top of pizzas (the Cavalo pizza at Fabbrica is delicious!), and I've been wanting more. I finally starting making kale more often at home, although I dislike the prep work that is needed to make it taste good.
This kale salad is massaged. Yes, massaged. I know some of you will be familiar with that term, but others will wonder what the heck I'm talking about. Massaging kale simply means rubbing it with oil and salt until the physical structure of the kale begins to break down. The softer the kale becomes, the better it will taste. Or at least that's what I've found.
Be warned though, this process can take a while...
I've seen websites that say to massage the kale for one minute. I tried that, and accomplished nothing. You'll see what I mean in a moment.
This is what raw, un-massaged kale looks like:
And this is what it looks like after one minute of massaging:
The leaves didn't soften at all - they just became shiny. It took almost 10 minutes for me to massage the kale to the point where it had softened. Maybe it depends on the type of kale that you use? I know that there are different varieties, but I have no idea which one I used. The label at the market just said kale.
Anyhow, despite having sore hands after making this salad, this is still a dish that I would make again. Yes, you can taste the kale (sorry kale haters) but there's so much more going on here! Those shiny red pomegranate seeds release a burst of fresh fruit flavour in your mouth. Then you've got the richness from the creamy goat cheese and crunch from the toasted pine nuts. This is how salads should be - beautiful with a variety of flavours and textures.
Sorry Ceasar salad, but you've been replaced.
This kale salad would probably be delicious with baby kale too, and I'm willing to bet the prep would be a lot faster. Have you tried using baby kale in a salad before? Let me know in the comments!
Edit: Here's a handy tip from a reader: "Sprinkle the dressing on the salad, whip on some food-handling gloves (or storage baggies) and rub the kale between your open hands. You'll have a yummy salad with half the effort!" I'll have to try that next time!
Massaged Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Pomegranate
For the Dressing:
- 6 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- black pepper
For the Salad:
- 1 bunch kale
- ½ cup salad dressing, see recipe above
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ½ cup goat cheese
To Make the Dressing:
- Add all ingredients to a clean mason jar, and screw the lid on tightly. Shake to combine the ingredients, then use sparingly on your salad. Refrigerate unused portions immediately.
To Make the Salad:
- Wash and dry the kale.
- Remove the tough spine from the middle of the kale leaves. I usually just rip the leaves off.
- Tear the kale into bite-size pieces, and place in a large bowl (something large enough to move your hands around in).
- Add the dressing and begin to massage it into the kale. Use your hands to rub the dressing into the leaves and knead it - as if you were massaging someone's shoulders.
- Continue massaging the dressing into the kale until the leaves have softened. The kale should be less bitter now too.
- Place the kale in a large salad bowl with the pomegranate seeds and pine nuts. If you are serving the salad immediately, add the cheese. Otherwise, you can refrigerate the salad at this point.
- Once you're ready to serve, add the cheese and serve immediately. If the salad has been sitting for a while, you may need to add more dressing.
Please read the blog post for detailed tips and explanations.
Nutrition Disclaimer: this nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed.
I love this kind of salad, especially in winter when it seems like all the freshness is gone until spring. This one is vibrant and you totally nailed the Christmas theme, too.
Thanks Teresa! That's a good way to look at it. Kale is a great winter vegetable 🙂
I like baby kale the best. This looks like a great recipe!
I still haven't tried baby kale. I bet this salad would be a lot easier to make with that though!