Articles » Nutrition » Healthy Recipes » Raw Kale Salad Recipe: Sweet & Healthy

Raw Kale Salad Recipe: Sweet & Healthy

While kale is a superfood with impressive nutrition benefits, eating kale raw can be difficult for some to enjoy. Don’t let its sometimes-bitter, tough texture intimidate you from using it in its simplest form.

I’m going to let you in on a huge secret on how you can transform the flavor and texture of these leaves to your liking. It’s simple – just give the leaves a massage.

I know what you must be thinking, but experienced kale lovers take kale massaging very seriously. Just like people in a tense and bitter mood, this cruciferous vegetable responds very well to a deep-tissue massage.

Wondering how you “massage” kale? After breaking the kale leaves up, grab a bunch in your hands: massage and roll them together for a few minutes. You should actually feel the tough leaves breakdown and become tender. If you taste them, you’ll notice that the bitterness that some find displeasing magically mellows.

Massaged kale is not only more pleasant on the palate: breaking through the tough fiber barrier allows for easier digestion so that the plentiful vitamins K, A, C, minerals calcium, and manganese is absorbed more easily into the bloodstream. Something great about a vegetable like kale, full of nutritious fat-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble phytochemicals, is that it can be paired with a healthy oil, like olive oil, which helps the body further absorb and utilize these compounds.

Now, all that’s left is finding the perfect toppings to complement the kale for a tasty and nutrient-dense salad. Sweet citrus fruits stand up well next to kale, and creamy avocado is a great addition of healthy fat that will further mute any residual bitterness.

Raw Kale Salad Recipe | Ingredients

*Makes 2-3 servings

Raw Kale Salad Recipe | Preparation Instructions

  1. To make the dressing, squeeze the juice of one whole orange into a cup or bowl and add the olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Mix thoroughly and set the dressing aside.
  2. To prepare the salad, put the washed, chopped, and massaged kale into a large bowl. Add in the sliced avocado and sliced almonds. Peel the second orange and after removing as much of the white pith as possible, cut up into large chunks and add to the salad.
  3. Pour some of the dressing on the salad and enjoy! (A good tip to remember when making a kale salad is to let the dressing sit on the greens for at least 5 minutes, up to an hour; this allows for the greens to continue to soften and absorb some of the flavor).

Raw Kale Salad Recipe | Toppings

Hope you enjoy trying this recipe and find some new enjoyment of kale now that you know all it needs is a little bit of TLC to make a super tender and delicious raw kale salad! We’d love to hear what you think of massaging kale…and what you choose to include in your salad.


  • George says:

    Here is my favorite recipe for Kale salad:


    1 large bunch of raw, rinsed, stemmed and chopped kale (yields about 6 cups)

    1/2 cup canola oil

    1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

    1/2 cup orange juice

    1/8 cup soy sauce

    1 tsp minced onions (in lieu of shallots)

    1 tsp ground ginger

    1 handful craisins or dried cranberries

    1 handful roasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

    1 handful chopped or slivered almonds (roasted or raw)

    pinch of salt & pepper

    1/2 tsp salt

    Optional: slivers of candied ginger to taste (I don’t like it, but it’s in the original salad)


    Mix all of the ingredients except for the cranberries and seeds together in bowl with a whisk until well combined. Pour on top of kale and mix well until all leaves coated. Sprinkle on the cranberries, almonds and pepitas. Let salad sit for at least 1 hour in the fridge so that kale softens up a bit. Best if eaten the next day!

    • Jessica Zack, HHC says:

      Mmmhm. That sounds like a great Kale salad recipe! Thank you for sharing with all of us. I do agree---most kale salads happen to taste even better when eaten a few hours later or even the next day..the kale does soften up and absorb all of the great flavors of the ingredients!

  • uncadonego says:

    Jessica, since I found BUILTlean on the web on September 2 of this year, my appreciation for your articles has slowly built up to where I now very much look forward to them. They've become one of my favourite parts. Your contributions are great. I'm definitely going to try this one as well.

    • Jessica Zack, HHC says:

      I really appreciate the positive feedback!!...
      Support from the BuiltLean community means a lot and continues to drive my passion for writing and sharing my recipes & knowledge of nutrition with you wonderful readers!
      I won't let you down! ;)

      Happy Holidays to all!

  • Grenville says:

    Agree! The amount of amazing FREE information you all provide is so appreciated. You folks are always so helpful and so quick to respond to questions.
    Would you ever be interested in reader suggested recipes?