Tenderize Kale (Without Heat)

Kale has been popping up in grocery stores and on menus around the country for months now, and I’d have to admit, I wasn’t a huge a fan of kale when I first started eating it. Its super crunchy texture and strange mouthfeel can be very off putting if it isn’t prepared properly. But when it is done right, it is packed with health benefits and is amazingly delicious.

Roasting kale in the oven with some olive oil or sautéing some up with a little garlic helps break down the greens’ fibrous texture so they are more tender and easier to eat. On the other hand, eating kale raw and in its natural state makes it very hard to chew and enjoy. Is there a way to tenderize kale without the use of heat? Well it turns out, there is (and it’s super easy)!  Now you can enjoy kale in salads or simply on its own without ever cooking it. So here’s how to tenderize kale without heat!

1) Clean
– Start by washing one small head of kale under cold water, and dry thoroughly with clean paper towels. Once clean, remove the thick ribs and stems from the leaves. The ribs are very fibrous and hard to eat, so only the leaves of kale should be used.

2) Massage
– Now that it is clean, cut the leaves into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lime and add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to the bowl, and massage into the kale leaves meticulously. It’s important to mix the kale well so each leave has some juice and some salt on it. If the leaves are not coated well, then they won’t tenderize properly.

3) Tenderize
– Once the kale is thoroughly massaged, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Let the kale sit for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Kale will look more wet and softer in appearance once it has tenderized. The leaves will also have a softer mouth fell once fully tenderized. Enjoy!