Massaged Kale, Orange and Pomegranate Salad (+ 2 tutorial VIDEOS!)

Massaged kale, orange and pomegranate salad

I know what you might be thinking: enough with the kale, already! Kale, kale, kale; it’s everywhere. You’re right, of course, but what can I say? I love kale, and ever since I learned how to massage (yes, massage) it, I have created one delicious salad after another using this wonderful leafy green.

Say what?! Massage kale? You think I’m kidding, right? Nope. It’s true. To get the most out of kale, you have to massage it! A non-massaged kale salad is tough and bitter, and just doesn’t have a nice mouthfeel. But a properly massaged kale salad? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother story, altogether.

Now, I could go into a whole series of dirty jokes on how to and not to massage kale, but I’ll spare you my iffy humor for today. Let it only be said that if you don’t like kale salad, and if you’ve never massaged your kale, well, maybe one explains the other. Try it. You might just change your mind.

One of the beauties of kale salad is that, unlike butter lettuce or more fragile leaves that wilt after a couple of hours, kale salad actually keeps, even after it’s been dressed, for at least 24 hours. Which means that if you have leftovers, don’t throw them out, just have them for breakfast or lunch the next day.

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Kale’s list of nutrients is sky high. Without citing them all, which nobody would remember, anyway, just know that as part of the cruciferous vegetable family, all the varieties of kale are powerful anti-cancer foods that help fight inflammation and support the body’s detoxification.

Should everyone be eating loads and loads of kale, then? Well… kale is very high in Vitamin K (which helps with blood clotting), so people on blood-thinning medications (like Warfarin or Coumadin), need to be cautious when consuming it. Kale also contains goitrogens, chemicals which have been found (in some animal studies) to inhibit the proper functioning of the thyroid gland in people that have already been diagnosed with thyroid issues. This means that kale will not cause damage to a healthy thyroid, but only that some studies show that it may worsen the functioning of an already weak thyroid, or in the case of a significant iodine deficiency. That being said, cruciferous vegetables are loaded with health supportive properties, and I believe as Dr Joel Furhman does, that the benefits greatly outweigh the hypothetical risks (however, always consult your health care provider for any advice related to your unique situation).

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Pomegranates and oranges are still in season, so I’ve been enjoying them in many recipes before they disappear again. In this recipe, the oranges will need to be supremed. For instructions on how to supreme an orange, refer back to the Arugula, Mung Bean, Beet and Citrus Salad recipe here.

To seed a pomegranate, simply slice the pomegranates in half widthwise. Hold each half in turn over a large bowl, face down, then hit the skin firmly and repeatedly with a mallet (watch your fingers!) or the back of a metal spoon until all the seeds have popped out. Remove any of the white pith that might have fallen out.

I could write out instructions for the kale massage, as well, but because it’s a lot easier just to show you how to do it, I wanted to share with you these two tutorial videos. I filmed them a little over a year ago, for a project that I am currently working on (more on that at a later date).

In this video, I show you how to easily de-stem kale:

And in this video, I show you how to massage the kale:

Have you ever massaged kale? Please share your experience and thoughts in the comment box below.

Love and health!





Massaged Kale, Orange and Pomegranate Salad

Servings: 4


1 cup pecans
3 large bunches kale, about 2 lbs, de-stemmed, cut into bite-size pieces, massaged
8 oranges, supremed, juice reserved
3 very ripe pomegranates, seeded, white pith removed, juice reserved
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt
black pepper


Toast the pecans: preheat a sauté pan on medium heat. Add pecans and toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant and browned in places, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk in olive oil, 1/4 cup reserved orange juice and about 3 tablespoons reserved pomegranate juice.

Add kale to a large bowl. Mix in dressing. Taste and add more sea salt, olive oil and juice if desired.

Add 1/2 of the supremed oranges, pomegranate seeds and pecans. Mix well.

Serve immediately, topping the salad with the remaining 1/2 of the oranges, pomegranate seeds and pecans.

Salad will keep refrigerated for 24 hours. Just add more olive oil and orange juice when you are ready to serve it again.


12 Responses to Massaged Kale, Orange and Pomegranate Salad (+ 2 tutorial VIDEOS!)

  1. Adrienne says:

    Just for clarification, do you massage the kale in the dressing, or do you massage it in olive oil and salt before you add the dressing?

  2. Jill says:

    I am going to try this for a Thanksgiving side dish. Thanks,

  3. Luisella says:

    Hi Nathalie,
    thanks for the delicious recipe!
    I’ve tried it with walnuts instead of pecans because we don’t easily find pecans here in Italy. I have another recipe with raw kale, it’s a sort of kale spread. You just need a handful of almonds, a clove of garlic, some salt, some olive oil, and of course some de-stemmed kale. Put everything in the food processor and serve it on toasted whole-wheat bread or on a slice of toasted polenta.
    Bye, Luisella

  4. M. Drot says:

    Ce serait sympa si tu post la video complete de la recette avec arrangement dans les plats! La totale!!!!

    • Oui, je n’ai pas fait beaucoup de vidéos complètes, surtout des courtes qui donnent des instructions ponctuelles. Comme tu l’imagines, les vidéos c’est pas trop le truc des introvertis, mais je songe à en faire plus si ça peut être utile xoxo 🙂

  5. M. Drot says:

    J’adore le titre et le commentaire de Georges!

  6. George says:

    In my next life I want to come back as kale…

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