It’s the beginning of the week.  The time when we start out with all our high expectations and all the best intentions.  To work out every day, to eat good-for-you foods all week long, to organize every digital file on your computer into a fabulously streamlined system, etc. etc.  Whatever your goals for the week may be, starting things off with a hefty dose of leafy greens that also happens to taste crave-worthy sounds like a great start to me.

Massaged kale salad is really nothing new, but this is the first time I’ve been compelled to make one immediately upon seeing the recipe.  I have a major thing for Caesar salad and I like almost every version I try.  Whether the dressing is thick or thin, classic or jazzed up, it’s all good to me.  This one especially intrigued me because it has all the deliciousness I expect from a Caesar, but with a nice nutritional boost from using kale instead of lettuce.  We enjoyed this for lunch yesterday and it was such a hit, I couldn’t wait to share it with you.  I have a feeling this is going to become a frequent weekend lunch and quick dinner around here.  We are definitely satisfied with just the bowl of greens and some garlicky croutons but I’m sure this would also be excellent with the addition of some grilled chicken or shrimp.  So go ahead and start the week off right, and if by Friday you want to enjoy this alongside a glass of wine that’s okay too.  More likely than not, I’ll be right there with you.


For the dressing:
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
3-4 anchovy fillets
2½ tbsp. mayonnaise
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated

For the salad:
1 bunch curly kale, about 8-12 oz.
1 tbsp. olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  • 01

    To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and garlic in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup.  Blot any excess oil from the anchovies, then smash repeatedly with the tines of a fork until a paste has formed.  Add to the olive oil-lemon juice mixture.  Add in the mayonnaise and whisk briskly until a smooth emulsion has formed.  Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.  Stir in the grated Parmesan.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

  • 02

    Rinse and towel dry the kale leaves.  Remove and discard the ribs from the leaves, and tear the curly green portions into bite size pieces.  Add the kale to a large salad bowl with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and toss briefly.  Massage the kale leaves for a few minutes until the leaves have become shiny and a deeper green color, about 2-3 minutes.  Add croutons to the salad as desired.  Drizzle about half of the dressing over the salad and toss lightly to coat.  Taste and add additional dressing as necessary, a little bit at a time.  Top with additional grated Parmesan and serve.

  • Looks perfect! Love how light and healthy it is!

  • LisaR @ Who Stole My Baby?

    Ah, what a nice way to start the week. New intentions and all. Me – I cry a bunch and whine about how short the weekend was. But I think I can pick myself up long enough to make a salad, at the very least.

  • Angela

    I love kale. Kale salad is just the ticket.

  • Caroline L.

    Kale has always intrigued me so! This sounds like a perfect intro to the veggie! Also, my goal for Mondays is usually to just get up & go to class, ha. :)

  • This sounds daaaang good! Yum!

  • Sara Lapidus

    Annie, how much anchovy paste do you think 3-4 anchovies equals? Also, do you think this could be made ahead for a week’s worth of lunches if the dressing was left to the side?

  • annieseats

    I would try looking online or possibly on the container to see if there is a conversion. I think the flavor of anchovy paste may be more concentrated than the paste I make by smashing them up (not totally sure on that though.) I haven’t yet tried making massaged kale in advance to see how it holds up, but I’m planning to do so this week because I already want more of this. I’ll let you know how it goes! I do think in general the kale holds up better than lettuce when prepped in advance, just because it is firmer to begin with.

  • Oooh I could eat this salad all day every day!

  • Rayna W.

    Kale has to be one of my favorite dark leafy greens! I’m excited to use it in a salad, because steamed is getting a little boring…

  • Tasha

    Sounds so yummy. Thanks for sharing this. I never had Kale..but will try it now

  • yanksgurl613

    looks so good! have been really loving kale lately. will def. be trying this. xx. gigi

  • sweetsugarbelle

    Okay…I’m going to ask what I hope isn’t a stupid question…I read twice to make sure I didn’t miss it…is the massaging to tenderize the kale?

  • annieseats

    Yep, that’s the idea. Since the kale isn’t cooked, it just needs a little TLC before it’s palatable :)

  • sweetsugarbelle

    Interesting! Thanks for the tip!

  • Consider me a kale convert! For the past few days at work, I’ve been looking forward to going home just so I could eat this salad with dinner.

  • Caitlin Miller

    This recipe was really easy and delicious! To make it vegan, I used capers instead of anchovies, vegan mayo instead of regular mayo, and nutritional yeast in place of the parmesan. It still came out great!