Kale salad with cherries

Kale Salad

If you are planning meals for a long motorhome trip — or trying to limit grocery store visits during a pandemic — consider a kale salad for the second week of your trip. Fresh kale will keep for a week or two in the refrigerator. Since kale stems take a lot of space, cut off most of the stems before you store them in the fridge. When you are ready to use the kale, do a more thorough job of tearing out the smaller stems and ribs.

Curly kale is tough and fibrous compared to other, more delicate salad greens. There are three ways to prepare kale for salads: by massaging it, lightly steaming it, or baking it with a light olive-oil based dressing. I have three recipes for kale salad, one for each preparation technique.

Massaged Kale Salad with Fresh Cherries

When a friend first told me about massaging kale, I thought it was a joke. I envisioned this pampered veggie being served only at fancy spas. When I finally tried a massaged kale salad, I was impressed.

Kale gets massaged for two reasons. First, it gets rid of the bitter taste of raw kale. Second, the leaves get softer, making them easier to chew and digest.  This makes perfect sense to me. I feel sweeter and softer after a massage too.

Active time: 15 minutes   Total time: 15 minutes

Specialized Kitchen Utensils

  • Nothing special for this one

Serves: 2


  • 1/2 bunch curly kale, stems and ribs removed, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp flavored white balsamic (Venice Olive Oil Cranberry Pear is my current favorite)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cherries, sliced in half and pitted
  • 2 tbsp sprouted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or slivered almonds
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese


Combine olive oil and balsamic in a small jar and shake until blended. Pour the dressing over the kale pieces. Gently massage the kale for 3 to 5 minutes. Kale should be glossy and reduced in volume by about a third. A taste test will tell you when it’s done.

Add cherries, seeds or nuts, and parmesan to the salad and toss.

Steamed Kale Salad with Green Apple Dressing

If you are cooking for two, there’s a good chance you’ll make more dressing than you need. I tried to cut the salad dressing recipe in half, but it didn’t provide enough substance to be pureed in my food processor.  You have three options: save it for another salad, load up the two salads with extra dressing, or eat the leftovers right out of the food processor while no one is watching.

Kale salad with green apple

Active time: 20 minutes   Total time:  20 minutes

Specialized Kitchen Utensils

Serves: 2


For the salad:

  • 1/2 bunch curly kale, stemmed, thinly sliced and lightly steamed
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 green apple, cored and chopped
  • 2 tbsp Marcona almonds (if you can find them; slivered almonds or other nuts are tasty too)

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 green apple, cored and cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (use a garlic press if you have one)
  • 1 pinch ground ginger

Put kale in a microwave-safe bowl. Add 1 tsp water, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Poke a small hole in the plastic wrap. Microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. Drain water and let steamed kale cool to room temperature.  Add the carrots and green apple.

To make the dressing, add apple pieces, vinegar, peanut butter, olive oil, garlic, and ginger to the food processor and blend until combined. Pour over salad and toss to coat.  Garnish with almonds.

Roasted Kale Salad with Coconut Flakes

After Nancy Bentley described this yummy salad to me, I bought the ingredients on the way home. I’ve adapted this recipe for RV cooking.  It would be difficult to make a salad large enough for more than two people since there is only one oven rack. The original recipe uses cooked barley to garnish the salad, kind of like a crouton. If you are on a strict gluten-free diet, omit barley since it contains gluten.Baked Kale Salad with Coconut

Active time:  10 minutes   Total time:  20 minutes

Specialized Kitchen Utensils

  • Pizza stone for even heating in RV oven
  • Rimmed baking sheet (lined with parchment paper for easier cleanup if desired)

Serves: 2


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp regular or gluten-free soy sauce, or tamari
  • 1/2 bunch curly kale, stems and ribs removed, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup (or less) cooked barley (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easier cleanup if desired.

In a small jar, add olive oil, sesame oil, and soy sauce.  Shake until well blended. Spread kale evenly on the baking sheet. Drizzle the dressing over the kale and gently massage to evenly coat the leaves.

Bake 7 to 8 minutes, or until kale is soft and loses its bitter flavor.  If you don’t have a pizza stone to evenly distribute heat, keep an eye on things to see if you need to shake the pan or stir the kale with a spatula to keep from overcooking the center.

Transfer kale and coconut to a serving bowl.  Toss with barley if desired.  Serve warm.



  1. Marylin warner

    Not only is this a delicious recipe, but I immediately texted my granddaughter and told her I had learned to massage kale. That earned a funny, immediate response.

  2. These sound great! I’d never heard of massaging any vegetable before, but now I can’t wait to massage some kale.

  3. Try my broccoli salad ,  beet salad, watermelon salad, or Greek salad, or any of these 37 favorite salads next! This happy, feel-good kale salad recipe is packed with colorful vegetables, crispy chickpeas, avocado, cranberries, and pepitas. Great for lunch!


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