Massaged Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin Seed Dressing

by on October 7, 2012
FavoriteLoadingAdd to Recipe Box

Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin Seed Dressing

When it comes to kale, I always seem to be lagging behind the cool kids. Though I’m crazy about kale in soups and casseroles and skillet dinners, I haven’t loved the more trendy ways of eating it. I was one of the last food bloggers to try kale chips, and when I did, I was unimpressed. And though for the last few years people all over the planet have been rubbing their kale like deranged massage therapists, every time I tried a massaged kale salad, I wound up wanting to put the whole thing into a steamer. But this week I became a massaged kale convert when I finally realized what I was doing wrong.

Basically, I wasn’t massaging the kale hard enough or long enough. [Insert husband joke here.] You might think that’s because I’m one of those selfish people who prefer getting massages to giving them (don’t we all?), but the real reason I’ve treated my kale too gently is that I’m always thinking ahead to the photo. Massaging takes the perkiness right out of kale leaves, leaving them limp and less attractive to the camera lens. But the harder you rub, the more the cell walls break down, making the kale more tender and less bitter. So don’t be afraid to rub kale the wrong way; you can’t, unless you just don’t try hard enough.

Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need oil to massage kale. Any salad dressing will do, whether it contains fat or not, and, as Nava Atlas points out in Wild About Greens, you can even use salt, though you have to be very careful not to add a salty dressing on top of it. In this recipe, I made a dressing from pepitas, shelled pumpkin seeds, and used it both as my “massage oil” and as a final salad dressing. I liked the contrast of the tangy lime and jalapeno flavor of the dressing with the sweetness of grilled sweet potatoes, and I added pinto beans to make this a main dish salad. Both the dressing and the salad were a hit with my husband, who was probably wondering what he’d have to do to get the kale treatment.

Speaking of erotic treatments of kale, my friend Julia at SnarkyVegan is doing a “50 Shades of Kale” theme for VeganMoFo; check out her Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado and Marinated Beans, which is hilarious to read and, I’m sure, delicious to eat. It’s the fourth in a series of posts, so be sure to start at the beginning to follow the story.

Massaged Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin Seed Dressing
Note: I’ve added a small photo to the printable recipes; if you want to print a recipe without the photo, simply go to the printer page, select only the text, and choose “Print Selection” as your print option.

Pumpkin Seed Dressing
Note: I’ve added a small photo to the printable recipes; if you want to print a recipe without the photo, simply go to the printer page, select only the text, and choose “Print Selection” as your print option.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. When you buy something through them, I receive a commission that helps support this site. Thank you for your purchase!

Susan

Never Miss a Recipe!

You'll keep up to date with new recipes and old ones you might have forgotten when you subscribe to NewsBites, the new FatFree Vegan newsletter. It's free, so sign up today!



Leave a Comment

Thanks for visiting my site! All comments are read and appreciated, and if you have a question, I will try to respond within a couple days. Note: If you are leaving a comment for the first time, it will be held for moderation. Be patient and it will appear as soon as I have a chance to approve it.

Want to have your photo alongside your comment? Sign up for a Gravatar!

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Solveig Berg Vollan @ Gluten-free-vegan-girl October 7, 2012 at 7:44 am

Looks delish as always Susan! Cannot wait to try this one out :)

Reply

2 Alexandra October 7, 2012 at 10:53 am

I’m definitely going to make this as it looks and sounds delicious. I’m a fan of kale particularly the organic Lacinto variety. I use kale several times a week in smoothies which is another healthy and delicious way to go with this fantastic vegetable. Thanks for this recipe!

Reply

3 moonwatcher October 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

Hi Susan–

This looks fabulous! Three of my favorite tastes–kale, sweet potato and pumpkin seeds altogether. And the post is very funny, too. I look forward to reading the other one you recommended. I massaged my kale this summer in just lime juice and it worked well enough. I am going to ponder on playing with the dressing to make it soy free. Thanks for the inspiration! And the photo is gorgeous–the kale looks very vibrant after its massage! LOL

xo

moonwatcher

Reply

4 Betty A. October 7, 2012 at 11:35 am

Thanks for including a photo with the printable recipe!

Reply

5 Muriel October 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm

How do you massage the kale? Do you roll up and squeeze the whole leaves several times?or do you slice up the leaves and squeeze? Or do you you. Hold the who,e leaves in your hands and rub back and forth? If the latter, how do you know when it is enough?

Reply

6 carol October 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I massaged my Kale for other salads by mixing it by hand in the same way you would mix a meat loaf by hand. (before I turned Vegan) Firmly squeezing it through your hand and fingers…Use the biggest, widest top bowl you have and dig in and squeeze with both (clean) hands.

Reply

7 Susan Voisin October 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I second everything that carol said and add that one way you know it’s enough is when it’s reduced to about 1/3 of the volume it was when you started. But of course, the best way of knowing it’s done is when it tastes good to you.

Reply

8 NottinghamKate October 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Hi Susan, this looks like another amazing recipe, thank you so much for everything that you have shared.
I have a question about kale. Here in England I can only buy it pre-packed and cut/washed so have no idea how much is in a bunch. Could you give me a rough guide to how many grams or cups that would be?
I’m going to go ahead and just try this out anyway, but it would be great to know amounts too.
Thanks again,
Kate

Reply

9 Susan Voisin October 8, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Kate, I believe a bunch is somewhere between 10 and 12 ounces, so I’m guessing that 300 grams might be an amount to shoot for.

Reply

10 NottinghamKate October 9, 2012 at 1:17 am

Thanks!

Reply

11 urbanvegan October 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Agree about the oil. I think I little salt helps any raw veggie!

Reply

12 moonwatcher October 7, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Hi Susan,

I couldn’t wait 24 hours even–I just had to try making a soy free version of this with what I had on hand. I had a Japanese sweet potato all baked so I mashed a
little of that up with a little hazelnut milk. It tasted great, but made
the dressing a little thicker, so I added a bit more vinegar and lime
juice. I didn’t have jalapeño so put a little tomatillo salsa in, and
smoked paprika and extra roasted ground cumin seeds for a similar but milder
smoky flavor. I ate it with baked delicate squash cubes done the way you
suggested doing the sweet potato. I added a little red cabbage for crunch.
Very pretty and delicious! I will keep fiddling with this. It’s a very impressive salad to serve people who aren’t sure they like raw kale. And for those of us who love it, it’s yet another wonderful way to eat it!

xo

moonwatcher

xo

Reply

13 Billie St. Marie October 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Well Well Well…I so never knew or even heard of massaging kale! Thanks for the heads up on that! :)

Reply

14 Charul @ Tadka Masala October 9, 2012 at 11:42 am

That pumpkin seed dressing is amazing.
First time here, loved your blog and pics. :)

Reply

15 Tina October 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I’m so glad you confessed to not loving kale chips; I thought I was the only one! Actually, 2 of my family members were pretty underwhelmed as well.
Thanks so much for adding the photo to the recipes. I’m in awe of you and how creative you are. In my imagination, you are in the kitchen about 12 hours a day creating, tasting, and the dreaded clean-up.

Reply

16 Lee at Veggie Quest October 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm

That looks amazing! I haven’t made a massaged kale salad since I (mostly) jettisoned olive oil from my recipes; I figured using an oil was a prerequisite for kale massage. So, glad to know kale can be massaged with a whole-foods dressing! Will definitely be trying this one.

Also, for people who don’t want to get their hands dirty, baby kale is always an option (usually comes in tubs). It can simply be tossed with dressing, as it’s already very tender.

Reply

17 heidi kokborg October 10, 2012 at 1:35 am

Mmmm… It looks so delicious! And I love sweet potatoes so this sala is a must-try for me!

Reply

18 Michelle@HappyHeart October 10, 2012 at 6:31 am

Definitely pinning this one! Sweet potatoes and kale…where could you go wrong! Beautiful pics btw!

Reply

19 Valerie October 10, 2012 at 10:38 am

I just came across your blog this weekend and subscribed. This recipe looked so appealing that I went ahead and made it last night, and it was super delicious! Thank you!

Reply

20 veganamericanprincess October 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Great post! The recipe looks great (can’t wait to try that pumpkin seed dressing) and your little jokes about massaging were funny! I usually don’t go for these type of kale recipes, but I will give this one a try!

Reply

21 Sarah October 12, 2012 at 8:40 am

Would using regular balsamic instead of white affect the flavor a lot? Would a wee bit of apple cider vinegar(or some other type) mixed with regular balsamic approximate the flavor of white balsamic? Thanks!

Reply

22 Susan Voisin October 12, 2012 at 8:46 am

I would use straight apple cider vinegar rather than regular balsamic just because the dark balsamic will make the dressing muddy looking. Try using a little less than the recipe calls for and add more to taste.

Reply

23 Mjere October 16, 2012 at 10:57 am

Hi Susan! I plan to make for my friend’s birthday this evening… Do you think the salad would hold up well enough if made 8 hours beforehand, or should it be served immediately?

Thanks, Mjere

Reply

24 Susan Voisin October 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

Just keep it refrigerated and I think it will keep just fine.

Reply

25 Angela W October 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I Love this recipe! The flavors and textures are great togethrr. I think I will be eating more kale now. You are a riot, too! I think I like your sense of humor as much as your amazing recies!

Reply

26 Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie October 17, 2012 at 9:14 am

This looks delish, I can’t wait to give this one a try. I love these kinds of recipes because you can easily adjust things based on what you have on hand!

Reply

27 misscruciferous November 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I got my family to try kale with this dish and it’s definitely a keeper. Thank you for another stellar recipe.

Reply

28 Mike December 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm

The photo on the printable recipe page is just what I was hoping for! Is it possible to add that on all of them?

Reply

29 Susan Voisin December 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I’d love to, but that would be a lot of work! I’ll be adding them to all the new recipes, and any time I edit an old recipe I’ll add a photo.

Reply

30 Karen August 30, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Made this for supper tonight. Use blanched and chopped kale, just can’t handle the bitterness of raw. The dressing was wonderful and really liked the combination of flavors.

Reply

31 anne desjardins November 6, 2013 at 8:01 am

I really laughed my heart’s content when I read this; first, because I feel the same way about kale: to me it’s an acquired taste to say the least! Second, because the image of massage therapists furiously rubbing the kale leaves was hilarious! This recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it for lunch. Thanks again for this fantastic website…

Reply

32 mackemom December 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Didn’t have white balsamic so used rice vinegar , I didn’t even know there WAS white balsamic! Looks good–actually doubled the salad dressing recipe since I had such a Huge jalapeño! Looks great–chilling the salad for later. Healthy! :D

Reply

33 Texas Ann March 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Made this for lunch today. Followed recipe exactly. It was great. Even my husband who does not like kale loved the salad. The dressing would be great on any salad. Really love your site. Thanks,

Reply

34 Sara April 27, 2014 at 4:35 am

I just made a massaged kale salad today for the first time. I was scared to eat it as I hate the taste of plain kale. It came out great. I didn’t massage it as long as you say but I did cut up the kale very finely so I think that helped a lot.

Reply

Previous post:

Next post: