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Massaged Kale Salad with Rosemary Walnuts and Blueberry Vinaigrette

Superfood kale salad with homemade blueberry vinaigrette, goat cheese, and rosemary candied walnuts. The perfect side dish for a summertime BBQ. Just add chicken to make it an entree!

How much kale massaging have you been doing lately? While I admit I don’t aaaaaalways massage my raw kale when tossing it into salads, I tend to enjoy the result more when I do take the time to caress my greens. For those of you who are new to the concept, massaging lemon juice into kale leaves makes for softer, more supple greens for a tenderer, more chewable experience.

Massaged Kale Salad with Creamy Blueberry Vinaigrette


Remember this salad? I posted it a few years back (see original post here). It comes straight out of the Salads section of my cookbook, Let Them Eat Kale! I thought I’d re-visit this salad because 1.) It’s one of my all-time favorites, 2.) It’s hot as hades outside and in, and 3.) Just add strawberries and you’ve got yourself a festive side dish for your Independence Day BBQ.

Kale salads.  I eat A LOT of kale during the summer. Not because I’m trying to impress the beach brodies with my ripped abs and cut biceps (I have neither, not even close), but because consuming anything above room temperature makes me sweat crocodile tears.

While I actually do love to sweat in appropriate settings, excreting while eating is not my jam. Just FTR.
But raw kale salad? Crisp, cool, anti-inflammatory, chock full of nutrients salad just makes life more pleasant when the thermometer is in it to win it. Don’t let it win. You beat it…beat it good.

Did you know kale season runs mid-summer through December? It’s a long one. Although the leafy green is avail year-round, we have even more reason to hop to kale salads to beat the summer heat given the superfood will be in its prime.

Massaged Kale Salad with Creamy Blueberry Vinaigrette


This is fancy, let’s talk. We start by massaging the kale leaves in order to relieve stress…err..I mean to break down the tough fibers, making the leaves easier to chew. All this requires is some lemon juice and elbow grease.

While the kale is marinating in it’s lemony massaged state of relaxation, you toast up some walnuts with fresh (or dried) rosemary and pure maple syrup to give the salad something extra special. Toss in some goat cheese (feta works too), fresh blueberries, and tie it all together with homemade creamy blueberry vinaigrette and you’ve got yourself a pretty savage shake down with the Queen of all greens (kale that is).

Options for Change-ups:

  • Need protein to make it an entree? Just add egg (hard boiled, fried, poached, or sunny side up), grilled chicken, or tofu.
  • Prefer raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries over blueberries? Do a little 1:1 swaperooski.
  • Use pecans, almonds, or cashews in place of walnuts.

Massage thy kale!

Massaged Kale Salad with Creamy Blueberry Vinaigrette
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5 from 1 vote

Massaged Kale Salad with Rosemary Walnuts and Blueberry Vinaigrette

Nutrient-dense kale salad with blueberry vinaigrette and toasted walnuts will delight all who try it!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Lifestyle
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 Servings
Author: Julia


Massaged Kale Salad:

  • 1 large head kale chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 cup rosemary candied walnuts recipe below
  • ½ cup goat cheese crumbles
  • Blueberry vinaigrette recipe below

Creamy Blueberry Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries makes about half cup of syrup
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey to taste
  • 1/3 cup whole milk plain yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Rosemary Candied Walnuts:

  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of ground ginger


Prepare the Creamy Blueberry Vinaigrette:

  • In a saucepan, heat the blueberries and honey over medium heat, covered until blueberry juices are seeping out and bubbly.
  • Mash blueberries with a fork to help get juices out and cook an additional 5 minutes but don’t allow the mixture to boil over.
  • Remove from heat and strain blueberry syrup using a fine wire strainer.
  • Discard the blueberry pulp and place blueberry syrup in refrigerator to cool.
  • Once cool, combine blueberry syrup with all other ingredients for the vinaigrette and mix vigorously with a whisk until smooth and creamy (or place everything in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy). Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Prepare the Salad:

  • Place the chopped kale leaves in a salad bowl and drizzle the lemon juice over the leaves. Massage leaves with your hands about 2 minutes and let sit about 10 minutes in order to allow leaves to soften. Add all other salad ingredients to salad bowl and set aside.

Prepare the Rosemary Candied Walnuts:

  • Using a small skillet, heat the grapeseed oil, honey and rosemary over medium low heat.
  • Add the walnuts and stir to coat.
  • Sprinkle a touch of cinnamon, ground ginger and salt over the walnuts and allow nuts to continue to toast another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Don’t allow nuts to sit without stirring because the honey will burn onto the nuts quickly when unattended. The nuts are ready when they are soft yet toasty, warm all the way through and have a nice sweet glaze on the outside.
  • Sprinkle the walnuts over the salad and drizzle blueberry vinaigrette over everything to taste. Toss with your hands or salad tongs to ensure everything is evenly coated. Enjoy!


Use leftover Creamy Blueberry Vinaigrette for other salads! Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and stir before using.


Serving: 1grams
Recipe Rating

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Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness

Monday 27th of June 2016

I love the salad combo of kale + goat cheese + fruit... so good! I HAVE to massage kale when I use it as a salad base, otherwise I totally don't like it. Definitely worth the effort!


Tuesday 28th of June 2016

Cheers to massaged kale! It really does make the kale more edible, ha! So glad you like the flavor meld that's going on here :)

Becky Winkler (A Calculated Whisk)

Monday 27th of June 2016

I just did some kale massaging the other day! I am all about it. There weren't any rosemary candied walnuts in my salad, though, so I'm going to have to try again.


Tuesday 28th of June 2016

Oh yeah, get them rosemary candied walnuts! Life changer!


Monday 27th of June 2016

I get so lazy with massaging kale - even though I know what a difference it can make!! haha This salad sounds fantastic - that blueberry dressing???? Perfect for the extra blueberries I always seem to have around this time of the year


Tuesday 28th of June 2016

I hear ya, smalls. Rather than massaging it, sometimes I just chop it suuuuuuper small...6 and one half dozen the other, I guess ;) So happy you like the recipe!

Sarah | Well and Full

Monday 27th of June 2016

I eat a lot of kale in the summer too... there's nothing like those huge bunches of green kale straight from the farmer's market! :D And what better way to use kale than in this salad, it looks delicious! I love the combination of a sweet vinaigrette with walnuts!


Tuesday 28th of June 2016

Yeeeeesah! Farmer's market kale is marvelous! Hope you enjoy the recipe, Sarah!

Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health

Monday 27th of June 2016

Caressed kale is the only kale that I put into my mouth, hehe. ;)

You have no idea how bad I wish I had this salad right now. I'm staying in a hotel next to a shopping mall by the highway and there isn't a sliver of kale in sight. I had to eat at the Olive Garden last night for the first time in a decade. Bleh.

I need this salad and that creamy blueberry dressing in my life PRONTO.


Tuesday 28th of June 2016

I had to LOL at the Olive Garden statement. If they put as much energy into making a salad healthy as they do bottomless, just imagine how great it would be! I hope you had a marvelous time in NH, m'dear! Let's kale it up as soon as humanly possible. xo

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