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Tom's favorite massaged kale recipe with cranberries salad

Massaged Kale Salad with Sunflower Seeds and Dried Cranberries

Tom Schmidt (eatwithtom.com)
Turn that super chewy and tough raw kale into a tender treat with a simple massage. The other secret weapons of this recipe are sunflower seeds and mustard which transform these greens into a savory and satisfying dish.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Vegan Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 2 -4


Massaged Kale

  • 1 - large bunch of curly kale
  • ½ - lemon juiced
  • 1 tablespoon – olive oil
  • 1/2 cup – Sunflower seeds raw, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup – dried cranberries


  • 1 tablespoon – balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon – Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon – fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons – olive oil


  • Wash kale by floating it in a sink of cold water. Remove and give a gentle shake to remove excess water.
  • Strip leaves from the stems. This is easily done by gripping the fattest end of the stem with your left hand, press your thumb and forefinger together, creating a tight circle around the naked stalk, and then strip the curly leaves by running your thumb and fore finger down the stalk. This will remove the most turgid pieces of stalk and any remaining should easily disappear into the salad.
  • In batches, stack a handful of kale leaves together and roll to create a bunch. Use a large chefs knife to cut into ½ inch strips. This does not have to be too precise, you are just wanting to get the kale into more bite sized pieces. Depending on the size of your kale, I will often turn the knife perpendicular and chop the strips in half or thirds to make them more manageable. Repeat until all kale is cut.
  • Cut the kale into small pieces before massaging
  • Place kale into a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil and lemon juice. Use your hands to squeeze large handfuls of kale as if it were really stressed out needed a shoulder massage. You will see the kale to begin to relax within seconds as you massage it, turning a brighter green. Continue for 1-2 minutes until it becomes soft. The volume will decrease by about 2/3.
  • Toast sunflower seeds in a medium skillet over low heat. Stir frequently and cook for about 3-5 minutes until the seeds get slightly golden brown. Add toasted sunflower seeds and dried cranberries to kale.Add all dressing ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Whisk gently until fully combined and emulsified. Stir into kale mixture.
  • Let’s Eat!