How to Massage Kale for Salad – Simple Massaged Kale Salad Recipe

For anyone else who lives by the motto “KALE NO,” a massaged kale salad is the only way to go. Learn how to massage kale for salad to make those bitter, superfood greens more palatable—even enjoyable!

This lemon kale salad with parmesan is super simple, flavorful, and perfect for meal prep. Not only does it store well for the week, but you can throw it together in just 5 minutes. Once you’ve prepped your massaged kale salad greens, just add a squeeze of lemon juice and some shredded cheese!

Feel free to jazz up the recipe with your favorite ingredients or add protein to make it a full meal. Or, try pairing your simple kale salad with a soup or sandwich to pack for lunch!

Massaged Kale Salad

Meal Prep Kale Salad Ingredients

For my easy kale salad, there are really just 3 main ingredients: kale, lemon juice, and shredded cheese. The acid from the lemon juice helps to brighten up the flavors and balance the bitterness in the kale, so it’s a must for me.

In terms of cheese, I LOVE a kale parmesan salad because of how nicely the sharp, creamy cheese pairs with the greens. But, I’ve also made this massaged kale salad with sharp white cheddar which is delicious. And I’m sure other cheeses could work well, too!

Super simple, which means it’s also a great budget meal prep recipe. But, don’t feel limited to the ingredients I’ve used! I’ll show you how to massage kale for salad and then you can use this as a base recipe for a fancier salad, if you like. Either way, the first and most important step here is giving those kale leaves a quality massage.

How to Massage Kale for Salad

How to Massage Kale for Salad

Personally, a massaged kale salad is the only kind of kale salad I’ll eat. Because even though kale is one of the most nutritious greens, it’s also one of the most bitter tasting greens. Luckily, taking a few minutes to massage your kale leaves can make a HUGE difference in the taste.

If needed, prep your kale by removing the leaves from the ribs and chopping. I prefer to use washed and ready kale because it doesn’t cost much more but it’s much easier for me to work with.

Then, simply add your kale leaves to a large bowl. Drizzle with oil (I prefer extra virgin olive oil for salads) and sprinkle with salt. Finally, toss the greens with your hands and begin massaging the oil and salt into the kale leaves.

If you feel confused about “massaging” leaves, just do your best to rub each leaf well with oil and salt. And be patient, it’ll take about 3 minutes of massaging to really loosen up the kale leaves and make them more palatable!

Lemon Kale Salad

Pairings & Serving Ideas for Massaged Kale Salad

Once your massaged kale salad greens are nice and loose, all that’s left to do is add a squeeze of lemon juice and your shredded cheese. Toss to combine, then cover that bowl with a lid and store in the fridge. You can also transfer to a different container, or portion your lemon kale salad into single-serving containers for meal prep.

For me, this is a go-to meal prep salad because it’s so versatile. There are tons of different ways to serve this massaged kale salad and fun pairings that you can try:

Pair with a homemade or pre-made soup or sandwich.

Add a dose of superfood greens to your homemade lunch by pairing it with this kale salad! Or, save yourself some time by splurging on a healthy store-bought soup or sandwich.

When I made this meal prep salad, I paired it with a pre-made soup from Trader Joe’s which made my prep work SO easy. It cost me a few extra bucks, but saved me a good chunk of time. A worthwhile trade-off for me!

Serve with meal prepped or leftover protein.

Whether you’ve got protein ready from your meal prep for the week or leftovers from a dinner out, serve it on top of this massaged kale salad for a quick and nutritious lunch.

Add your favorite salad ingredients to make a full meal.

Besides shredded cheese, there are loads of other additions to explore! Sprinkle on your favorite nuts, fresh or dried fruit, chickpeas, chopped bacon, or any protein you like.

$37 Trader Joes Budget Meal Prep | 1 Hour Vegetarian Meal Prep

Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad

Lemon Kale Salad with Parmesan
5 stars (1 rating)


  • 10 oz kale
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup shredded cheese, parmesan, white cheddar, etc.


  • In a large bowl, drizzle kale with oil and sprinkle with salt. Massage kale with oil for 3 minutes.
  • Toss massaged kale with lemon juice and cheese.
  • Serve as is, store in an airtight container for the week, or portion into individual servings for meal prep.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 110kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 9g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g
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