Made with seasonal produce and ready in minutes, this Massaged Kale Salad with Blueberries is a simple recipe full of flavor. Prepare it ahead of time for quick meals or a nourishing side dish!
Part of our Minimal Ingredient March series, this Massaged Kale Salad with Blueberries is made with simple, fresh ingredients for a wholesome blueberry salad that comes together in minutes!
Power Salads – Kale Ya!
Does anything say spring quite like a big ole bowl filled with a fresh salad? Whether it’s a Strawberry Spinach Salad, Melon Mango Avocado Salad, or Peach Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Salad, as soon as the weather turns warm, I can’t get enough! Plus, unlike the heartier meals of winter, which often require more ingredients and time in the kitchen, salads take virtually no time at all. Just toss your favorite ingredients in a bowl and WAM. BAM. DONE! Dinner is served. Plus, it’s a super easy way to sneak tons of nutrients into your day.
The only problem I’ve found is that salads made with lettuce tend to wilt super quickly, meaning they’re not the greatest option for meal prep. Then, I remembered kale! Honestly, how could I forget about this green superfood? It’s the perfect solution to all my salad making struggles. You see, not only is kale crazy good for you (we’ll get into that later), but it also gets better after a day or so in the fridge. That means that tossing together a massaged kale salad can have your meal prep done in minutes! Plus, when combined with healthy fats and seasonal produce, it’s super tasty!
Kale Blueberry Salad – Superfood Ingredients
For this massaged kale salad, I tried my best to use as many fresh items from my local farmer’s market as possible. That being said, feel free to swap out and add in whatever you have access to and like best to make this recipe your own. I love trying out new veggies to include and different berries!
- Optional Dried Unsweetened Cherries or Cranberries
- Crumbled Feta Cheese
- Pine Nuts or Roasted Sunflower Seeds
- Chopped Spring Veggies (Zucchini, Broccoli, Asparagus, or Celery, etc.)
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Fresh Mint
Foodie Swap: Looking for a vegan alternative? Try swapping out the crumbled feta for chickpeas or avocado!
Don’t get me wrong, this kale blueberry salad is delicious all on its own, but if you want to bulk it up for a complete meal try adding in a protein source like shredded chicken, grilled shrimp, or even tempeh!
Power Food Combinations
Obviously, kale is the main superfood ingredient in this salad, and we’ll get more into the different types of kale, health benefits, etc. in just a minute. However, first, let’s get a little nerdy and talk about why kale helps create the perfect POWER salad!
KALE + BLUEBERRY = FOOD SYNERGY –
Did you know that dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and collards contain iron? It’s true! However, it’s not super easy to absorb without the presence of vitamin C.
That’s where fresh veggies, citrus, or berries come in handy! To get the most out of your greens, try combining them with a splash of lemon juice and berries (such as in this blueberry salad) for better non-heme absorption.
Health Benefits of Kale
Did you know that kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet? It’s true! There are 10 different kinds of kale available for consumption, and they’re all incredibly good for you. No matter what kind you use, it’s guaranteed to be full of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, and more! As a result, kale can:
- Reduce the risk of cancer
- Help build strong bones
- Improve digestion
- Improve skin health
- Improve eyesight
Important Note: There are a few instances for which kale may not be a great food for certain individuals to consume such as those: using beta-blockers, with kidney disease, taking blood thinners, or with thyroid issues. Read more here, and consult your doctor about specific concerns.
Pro-Tip: By adding a fat source such as the nuts and cheese used in this recipe to your kale blueberry salad, you can more easily absorb the fat soluble vitamins in not only kale but blueberries, too!
The Best Kale for a Massaged Kale Salad
As mentioned, there are 10 varieties of kale available for consumption. However, the top 5 most common options include Curly, Lacinato, Redbor, Baby, Chinese. You can use whatever kale you like best for your massaged kale salad! However, I don’t recommend opting for baby kale. It’s already so tender it doesn’t need to be broken down like other varieties.
Personally, I prefer to use Curly kale! Not only is it the most common and budget-friendly variety, but it also has a slightly peppery taste that adds depth to all your recipes. Or, if you prefer a slightly sweeter option, Lacinato kale works great for massaged salads, too!
Why Do We Massage Kale?
The answer is simple. Kale is tough! Ever bitten into a salad that’s hard and difficult to chew? Yeah, that’s likely because the kale hasn’t been massaged. Just like you and me, it needs a little TLC to relax and loosen up.
By massaging kale, we infuse it with oil and often lemon juice (or a similar acid). This breaks down the fibrous leaves making them easier to chew and digest. Plus, it adds flavor to this feta salad before we even add any dressing!
How to Massage Kale
As strange as it may sound, massaging kale is similar to any other massage you might give. For now, we’ll keep things short and sweet with a quick breakdown of the process below. However, if you want a more in-depth guide, we have a whole post about how to soften kale HERE. So be sure to keep that handy!
- Wash, and dry your kale.
- Remove the ribs (hard centers and stems), and chop the leaves.
- Add olive oil and salt.
- Massage the leaves until they’re soft.
- Add lemon juice, and enjoy!
Yes! In fact, I recommend it. By massaging your kale in advance and letting it sit in the fridge, the leaves will become even more tender and have a less bitter taste.
Once prepared, this recipe will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Sure, if you prefer, swap out the kale for spinach leaves or arugula instead. Just note that the taste and texture of the salad will change.
No! Unlike other salad recipes that are topped with additional dressings and sauces, the oil and balsamic vinegar used to massage the kale is all you’ll need for incredible flavor!
If you think you’re not a fan of kale, I dare you to try giving it a massage first! When combined with fresh fruit and veggies like this Massaged Kale Salad with Blueberries, it’s truly delicious. If you do give this recipe a try I would love it if you let me know in the comments below!