Before I urge you to go massage a kale (I admit it does sound a little naughty), let me tell you that not in a million years I would think this step to be necessary. In fact, I used to go into compulsive eye-rolling while reading recipes that call for “massaged kale”. I was not the only one, the lovely Kelly from Inspired Edibles had this to say about the process:

When I first encountered the term ‘massaged kale’ I found it not only pretentious but kind of silly too.
Had kale been elevated to such a precious status that it now required massaging?
I couldn’t just eat the stuff, I needed to pet it too?

I could not have said it better. But, surprisingly enough, she decided to give it a try, and was blown away by the outcome. You should definitely stop by her site to read about her experience.  I was skeptical, but after her endorsement, I dimmed the lights, put some music on, and fully engaged in the role of masseuse.


(slightly modified from Kelly’s Inspired Edibles)

for the salad:
1 generous bunch kale leaves, washed and torn into smaller bite-sized pieces
1 (15 oz) chickpeas, thoroughly rinsed and dried
6 fresh apricots, sliced
1/3 cup shaved almond, slightly toasted

for the spice mix:
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp curry powder
pinch smoked paprika
pinch of ground cinnamon
sea salt to taste

for the Massage Oil (aka salad dressing):
2 Tbsp olive oil
juice of one lime (about 2 Tbsp)
1 tsp honey
sea salt and coarse black pepper to taste

Warm a dry skillet over medium-high heat and toss chickpeas in warmed skillet for about two minutes to remove any residual moisture. Be sure to shake the pan and/or stir the chickpeas.

Sprinkle the chickpeas with seasonings of choice. including salt and pepper.  Stir seasoned chickpeas to mix the spices. After about two minutes, drizzle a little bit of coconut or olive oil over the seasoned chickpeas and toss to combine. Keep stirring the chickpeas and adjust seasonings as desired. When the chickpeas are well saturated with flavor, remove from heat and reserve.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine salad dressing ingredients and whisk well.

Place kale pieces in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with dressing. Simply use your fingers to work the oil/dressing into the kale leaves – watch and feel the color/texture transformation. After only two minutes your kale is beautifully seasoned and softened and all set to eat. You will also find that it’s easier during the massage stage to remove any excessively hard pieces from the center rib of the kale. The leaves will fall off the rib quite easily and your fingers will be in place to feel it happen and facilitate the process.

Place massaged kale in large serving bowl, or on individual serving plates, and dress with seasoned chickpeas, fresh apricot and almonds.


to print the recipe, click here


Doesn’t that look pretty amazing?
I wish I could massage my face in the morning and have that type of improvement!


 Even though the star of this show should be the kale, I have to say I fell in love with Kelly’s skillet chickpeas. In fact, I’ve been making them this way quite often, varying the spices according to my mood. Those are better than roasted, with the added bonus of being ready in minutes, and without turning the oven on.  I had a hard time not munching on half of them before assembling the salad.


I suppose this recipe will please even hard-core kale haters.  The massage mellows down the harsh texture of kale, bringing it closer to a butter lettuce, but with a more assertive taste.  Of course, joining fresh apricots with the incredibly tasty chickpeas made this salad a complete winner!

I hope you twill try it either as we did, or using different spices and fruits.  I think fresh peaches or even strawberries could be fantastic substitutions.

Kelly, thanks again for another super creative and fun recipe!

ONE YEAR AGO: Black Berry Cherry Sorbet

TWO YEARS AGO: Asparagus Pesto

THREE YEARS AGO: Chocolate and Chestnut Terrine

FOUR YEARS AGO: Under the spell of lemongrass

FIVE YEARS AGO: Greens + Grapefruit + Shrimp = Great Salad!


  1. My parents used to ‘massage’ some of their greens and I always thought it was yucky. Now I’m a grownup and I still find it a bit unsettling but I may give it a try one day.


  2. The first thing that came to mind when I saw your title was food porn lol! But this is the right kind!! Look at that kale?? I want my face to be that bright indeed in the morning. But I have to agree with you, I’m swooning over the warm spices in that chickpea and just want a bowl for lunch!! Will be trying those for sure!! Thanks for a great recipe!!


  3. Since Kelly’s post I’ve massaged the kale as well! 😉 It does make a huge difference. I don’t remember seeing the skillet chickpeas. Those will be perfect! Mr. N loves to snack on those during the school year. I hope you had a fabulous trip to Colorado Sally. Was thinking of you all out there.


  4. Heeheeh, love the dimmed lights and the music for the full experience 😉 — so glad it worked for you Sally (wink) and that you enjoyed this recipe including the spicy chickpeas. What a nice surprise to find myself here too this morning 🙂 thank you for the generous words and the write-up. Who would have thought we’d be giving so much care to our greens? if it works, it works :O).


    • Hello there! Glad you stopped by, so I can thank you again for the inspiration and the lesson…. as you can see from Mike’s reply, we shall now get even more intimate with kale and go for the avocado rub. I am afraid it is all downhill from here…..


  5. Love the recipe . . . must copy yours exactly soonest! Actually ‘massaging’ or handrubbing makes a lot of sense with stiffish large leaves such as kale . . . the dressing nestles so much easier into the folds. Really like those chickpeas which would taste great on their own as well . . .


  6. Haha Sally! I’ve been skeptical about massaging the kale too. Well, now I’m just going to try it. I trust you and this salad looks so very good! Thank you for sharing it!


  7. Sally, I’m happy to hear you’ve finally realized massaged kale is where it’s at 😉
    No but seriously, massaging is the way to go.
    Have you ever tried massaging it with avocado? If not, that’s really something you don’t want to miss!


    • Well, well, well… the avocado rub is next. I can see it could be amazing, albeit at the limit of the messy I can stand. Some ladies rub avocado in their faces, I might share half and half with the kale and see what happens. Let’s hope hubby won’t enter the kitchen at that very moment. 😉


  8. Ha! Love this. It really is funny how much of a difference massaging makes! Now this is one beautiful salad. You know I love all these flavors!

    Also, the chemical burn WAS phenol. Thankfully, her eye seems to have made it unscathed but there might be some permanent scars on her cheeks, though we’re remaining optimistic!


  9. What a great and funny post! I’ve somehow missed seeing anything about massaging kale. What an incredible phenomenon! I can’t wait to do it, because it might make me enjoy kale more.


    • too bad you cannot find kale – back in Brazil they have a similar green, called “couve”, which is a classic side with feijoada, the Brazilian black bean concoction. I don’t think it’s the exact same species, but it would work in this recipe – maybe you can find a substitute?


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