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Massaged Kale Salad with Cranberries and Oranges

I am in love with this new kale salad I made and just had to name it a Delightful Kale Salad. Delightful and kale in the same sentence? I kid you not, this is the best salad ever. I made this recipe recently for a group of wonderful people in a cooking class and one person there announces “I don’t like kale, but I love this salad!” Then for the next hour and a half keeps asking me how I made it, what I did to take away the bitter flavor and what my secret was to this “amazing” salad. Totally made my day. It’s also reinforced what I tell people; “You DO like vegetables, you just haven’t found a way to prepare them that you like.” It’s really true, you do like all vegetables just depends on the way it is prepared. Try this recipe and I am willing to bet you find that it’s the best kale salad you’ve ever tried. Or at least, one of the top 5. 🙂

Kale is so nutrient dense that there is a National Kale Day. No lie. All dark leafy greens contain a ton of nutrients, however, kale is incredibly high in calcium. One cup will give you 9% of the recommended daily amount. Not only is it high in calcium, it’s high in all the other nutrients needed to be able to absorb the calcium. It contains iron, magnesium, and phosphorus as well, which are necessary for the utilization of calcium. It’s also high in vitamin K1, A, E, folate and other B vitamins. All this and only 33 calories per cup. Low calorie and high nutrients always gets my vote!

I love kale in soups, salads, smoothies and as a wonderful, crunchy snack. To be able to absorb the fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) you have to pair kale with a healthy fat, such as extra virgin olive oil. Fat doesn’t make you fat, it makes you full. It also adds flavor, promotes nutrient absorption and promotes satiety. The extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) in this recipe not only does the above, but also helps stabilize blood sugar, gives a great dose of healthy fats, reduce inflammation, and quite possibly can help reduce the risk of developing cancer. Not bad huh?

Pairing the kale with lemon boosts your health even more. Lemon is extremely alkalizing and when our bodies are more alkaline viruses, harmful bacteria and cancer cannot thrive. On top of this, it’s high in vitamin C.

Orange pairs really well with kale as the flavors really balance each other. In this salad I massage the kale. I do this because raw, kale is tough and bitter but when you massage it, it becomes tender and slightly sweet. It only takes about a minute and the result is worth it.


  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale
  • 2 oranges
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (any chopped nut or seed will work too)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • salt, to taste


  1. Take the leaves of the kale off of the stalk and finely chop into thin strips. Then, using both hands, scoop up enough to fill your hands then massage several times until the leaves soften. Place into bowl. Repeat until all the kale is done.
  2. Peel and chop 2 of the oranges and add to salad. Also add cranberries, pine nuts, onion, oil and lemon juice.
  3. Take the third orange, cut in half and juice one half. Add to the salad.
  4. Mix very well and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Salt to taste and mix well. Remember, you can always add more salt later but you can’t take away. So less is more at this point.

Voila! A fabulous kale salad. Perfect as a side for parties, lunch or a side to your favorite entrée.



13 thoughts on “Massaged Kale Salad with Cranberries and Oranges”

  1. This is great! We are huge kale fans in our house, so I’ll be sure to give this a go. I love how you tell people who say they don’t like veggie that they just haven’t learned a way to prepare them that they enjoy. This is so true! Nice job!

  2. I love this. I JUST wrote a post for my work blog about the secret to great tasting kale salad – massaging it! LOVE that you included a video. I am definitely going to have to start doing that.

  3. yum- this sounds amazing! I think lately my favourite kale dish has been just slightly sautéed with a bit of ACV and cayen…but moving into summer I will pull out this recipe for sure!! thanks!

    1. Marian Mitchell

      I haven’t tried kale with ACV and cayenne, I’m totally going to try that with the kale I have in my fridge. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Ha! I love the video and the spa effect!!!! I love dinosaur kale better also. Its easier to clean to me. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

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Hi friend!

I’m Marian Mitchell, Health Coach, Chronic Illness Warrior, Mom, and Food Lover. I help you navigate the food and lifestyle side of Chronic Disease Management with coaching, meal plans, recipes, podcast, and this blog. You can thrive without eating the same 4 things every day. I’m here to show you how.

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