Are You A Kale Masseuse? It’s The Secret To A Sumptuous Winter Salad

kale_avo_salad.jpgKale may be THE ultra-popular green, but it has not yet replaced front lawns in America. Nor has it been turned into a dessert (or has it?). But this leafy green’s extraordinary acceptance begs the question: when does the madness stop? Better yet, how did it all start?

Not long ago, journalist/sleuth par excellence Eve Turow of wondered how U.S. kale production grew 60 percent between 2007 and 2012. She went to kale’s roots and discovered how “kale became cool,” but the search had the twists and turns of any good mystery novel. Even Charles Muranaka at Muranaka Farm, Inc.—the Goliath of all bunched kale shippers in the U.S.—didn’t know for sure.

Read “The Strange Mystery Of Who Made Kale Famous...And Why” and discover whether or not it was a brilliant marketing campaign. Or was it Gwyneth Paltrow baking kale chips on Ellen? Was it National Kale Day?  Was it a Manhattan PR agency that created a fictional American Kale Association? Turow writes:

Perhaps it was the perfect kale storm: Gwyneth and Ellen promoted kale along with their own dietary agendas. Millennials decided to use their discretionary incomes on Juice Generation instead of cable. Gluten-free, Paleo, and vegan dieters all hailed the permissible vegetable. Dr. Drew Ramsey began to host kale celebrations where people adorn themselves in kale and dance in the streets (true story). Celebrities began to talk about kale, like their new Beats headphones. All together, kale catapulted into popular culture in a way that other healthful foods have only scratched at in year’s prior.”

Do we here at Wellness Warrior still like kale, or do we feel like the pawns of marketing gurus and toss it on the compost heap of recent food fads?

No way—we love it. Wellness Warrior founder Deborah Szekely’s health and fitness resort, Rancho La Puerta, not only massages guests’ bodies to tenderize exercise-sore muscles, but so, too, do the chefs massage the kale that’s plucked fresh from the resort’s own vegetable garden. Here’s a simple salad recipe from The Ranch:

Massaged Kale Salad with Lemon and Avocado

Source: Rancho La Puerta and



1 to 2 Meyer or other lemons

12 Lacinato kale leaves or substitute other variety

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

4 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil

1 1/2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced



Using a zester or grater with small holes, remove the zest from 1 lemon and set aside. Juice the lemon and set aside.

Chop off the long stems of the kale, leaving the ribs intact. Stack the leaves on top of one another, roll them into a long cylinder, and cut into 1/4 inch strips. Put the strips in a bowl, add the lemon juice and, with your hands, rub the juice into the kale strips for several minutes to soften them. Add the zest, salt, and pepper and mix well. Set aside. The kale can stand for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature or, if desired, refrigerated.

(Visit Wandelerr's blog for a wonderful step by step with visuals on "Why Kale Deserves a Massage" 

In a large bowl, combine the garlic and olive oil, whisking together with a fork. Add the kale mixture and toss well. Taste and add more juice and zest if desired. Toss well and divide among 4 salad plates. Top with avocado slices. Serves 4.

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  • Amy Hunter
    commented 2016-01-12 10:23:35 -0500
    Simple, powerful nutrition. It’s winter in Boulder CO or I would go out to my garden to get the lacinato.
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