Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lets get a massage.........a KALE massage that is!

Dilemma: I have a bunch of kale that is about to go bad any second, and I want to use it in a salad BUT I don't want to cook it both because I don't want to have to wait for it to cool before using it, and because raw kale is better than cooked kale. **More on this whole Raw vs. Cooked thing later. It definitely deserves it's own post, but suffice it to say that there are definite benefits to consuming certain vegetables and fruits raw. ** The problem is kale is super bitter and hard when eaten raw, which makes eating raw kale a relatively unenjoyable experience in my opinion. 

Think this sounds weird? So did I when I saw it on a restaurant menu. But then I started seeing it on many restaurant menus and began to think that there must be something to this massaged kale business.....and there is!

What is it?: Massaged Kale salad literally means you chop up and de-stem the kale, and then you massage it for a good 10 minutes. NO, this is not just me wanting to get cuddly with my kale, it actually works. In just minutes the Kale literally darkens like 10 shades of green, and becomes soft and more wilty than it originally was BUT it is still raw. After 8-10 minutes of massaging, the kale has lost ALL bitterness and is softer to chew, but definitely not mushy. It is still rich, thick, and has delicious kale flavor, but has lost the bitterness and super-crunchiness of the original raw kale. **Quick Tip** Usually, when I massage my kale I add either lemon juice or soy sauce before I start massaging just to lubricate the kale a bit. Choose whichever one will go better with the dressing you intend to use in your kale salad. 
Before Massaging
Post Massage: It is much darker, softer, and
has lost that "edgey/crunchy" look.

Massage Kale Rainbow Salad with Marinated Tempeh & Dragon Dressing:

Salad Ingredients: 
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 medium carrot
- a handful of sprouts (I used daikon)
- 1 persian cucumber
- 1 block plain tempeh (I used Westsoy)

Dragon Dressing ingredients: (this is totally optional, feel free to use whatever dressing you like)
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp yellow miso

1) Chop up the tempeh and dump it in a bowl or ziploc bag with a bunch of soy sauce. Make sure all of the pieces get exposed to some soy sauce. Let it sit for 10 minutes and pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
2) Place the tempeh onto a tinfoil lined baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. 
3) Remove the tempeh when it is a darker brown, and let cool. 
4) Wash your Kale.
5) De-stem and chop up the kale.
6) Dump the kale into a bowl and massage it for 8-10 minutes. Don't be afraid to get rough with the kale, cause the kale will be rough right back ;)
7) Thinly slice the carrot and cucumber and add them on top of the Kale. Also add the sprouts.
8) Once the tempeh has cooled add it to the top of your salad
9) Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over your salad.

Wait, never heard of Tempeh? What is it? Well let me just tell you!
Tempeh is a delicious soy product that is made when cooked and slightly fermented soy beans are packed firmly together into patties. Usually there is some type of cereal grain like rice, barley, or wheat added to tempeh. Tempeh tastes VERY different from tofu, so if you don't like tofu there is a pretty good chance you will still like tempeh. Some characteristics of tempeh are:
- mild, nutty flavor
- firm, but can be crumbled like "taco meat"
- has more fiber than tofu because it utilizes the whole soy beans rather then precipitating protein from soymilk, which is how tofu is produced
Block of tempeh (Before being chopped, marinated, or baked.)
However, since the soybeans are already cooked, it is fine to eat tempeh
 straight out of the container, it just won't taste as exciting.


  1. I am doing this for lunch tomorrow. I'll let you know how awesome it is!

    1. Great, definitely let me know what you think! You might only have to massage for 5 minutes depending on how much kale you use. I used like two whole bunches of kale because I was making the salad for a bunch of people. I hope you like it!

    2. I loved it! I eat kale all the time on everything, but never by itself because of the bitterness. This made it much bearable. Thanks a bunch!