Massaged Kale Salad with Mango, Walnuts and Goat Cheese

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Although I’ve been eating kale for a long, long time (Marcella Hazan’s excellent Tuscan Peasant Soup was my “gateway drug” to this dark, leafy green), I’ve been firmly resisting the kale salad trend.   And so kale always found three other eventualities: kale chips, soup, or green juice/smoothies.

While I’m usually pretty good at resisting fashion trends (high-wedge sneakers, I’m talking to you), I tend to cave to food trends pretty quickly… curiosity always seems to win out.  And unlike the Luther Burger or Double Down,  kale salad seems to have some serious staying power.   And so I finally caved.  I only wish I’d done so sooner.

KaleMassaged Kale Salad with Mango 1While kale is tougher and more bitter than your average salad green, there’s a couple of tricks for making it work.  First, a quick massage of the leaves will help soften and break down kale’s tough structure.  And pairing the kale with something extra sweet–like mango– will help balance the flavor.

I made a couple iterations of this salad, using whatever fruit I had on hand.  Peaches and mangoes were my favorite, but any sweet, ripe fruit should work well.

Massaged Kale Salad with Peaches

Massaged Kale Salad with Mango, Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Total Time: 10-15 minutes


 1 Bunch kale, tough stalks removed and cut into thin slices
2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
3 Tablespoons lemon juice, divided
Sea salt
2 teaspoons honey
Black pepper
1 mango, cut into chunks
1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese


In large bowl combine the kale, a drizzle of olive oil, a Tablespoon of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of salt. Use your hands to massage the leaves until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, honey and some freshly ground black pepper. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss to combine. Transfer the kale mixture to four individual plates and top with the mango chunks, walnuts and goat cheese.

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