Kale is one of those foods that can be utilized in soooo many ways: blended into smoothies, sautéed as a side dish, cooked into soups, used as the base for salads, and incorporated into egg bakes. Kale can even be baked into chips! However, even though the kale boom has hit hard in the past few years, I feel like it’s a dark, leafy green that people either love or hate. And I’m going to tell you a little secret. If it’s not prepared properly, I actually hate it. Seriously! It tastes bitter and earthy to me, and it’s just not that pleasant to eat… unless I take a few key steps to prep it ahead of time.
A couple of weeks ago I sent my email insider group my exact method for prepping kale so that it actually tastes good, and I have received so many thank you messages from people for this process that I felt it deserved its own blog post! Today I am sharing my five step process for prepping kale, regardless of the variety you buy, so that it actually tastes GOOD. All in all, I’d say that once you get the hang of it, this kale prepping process takes about five minutes max to complete.
Kale Salad

My Exact Five Minute Process for Making Kale Taste Better

1. Cut off the stems.

Use a knife to cut off the stems at the bottom of the bunch of kale. I do this in one slice, so this step should literally take 2 seconds.

2. Remove the ribs.

Once the stems are removed, you’ll then want to remove the tough ribs from the leaves. You can do this by using a chef’s knife to or just by pulling the leaves right off with your hands like I do. Discard the ribs.

3. Chop the leaves.

After the ribs have been removed, you’ll be left with pretty big pieces of kale. You’ll want to chop the leaves up into bite sized pieces so you don’t have to eat awkwardly large pieces of kale in your salads or whatever dish you’re making. My favorite way to chop is by clumping as many pieces as you can into a big pile/circle and pretend you are cutting the kale into strips. I usually do this 3-4 times per bunch so that I can really get in there and chop away.

4. Sprinkle with salt.

Transfer the chopped leaves into a bowl, and sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt. This is optional, but the salt will help cut some of the bitterness out of the kale.

5. Massage the leaves.

In my opinion, this is THE most important step in making kale enjoyable to eat. Drizzle a small amount of lemon juice, olive oil, or coconut oil into the bowl. Reach in with clean, bare hands, and get to work! You’ll want to scrunch up the pieces of kale in between your palms (basically rub your hands together), and release. Repeat this over and over (show your kale no mercy!) until all the kale leaves become fragrant and turn dark green. This part should take less than 30 seconds to complete all together. Don’t think you have to massage each piece one by one! I have a friend who did this once and asked me why it took her so long to massage her kale. We laugh about this now!
Turkey and Kale Quinoa Bowl
A couple of extra notes:
  • For kale salads, you’ll want to add a sixth step: dress the leaves. The other reason I think people often don’t like the taste of kale, especially in a salad, is because without an appropriate dressing, it just tastes bleh and dry. This will change from recipe to recipe, but just make sure your salad is evenly dressed. Kale does really well when you add acidity to it, so don’t be shy on the lemon or vinegar in your dressing of choice.
  • No matter what you are making, make sure to wash and dry your kale ahead of time. If you have a salad spinner, definitely rinse and spin the leaves after chopping. Otherwise, make sure to rinse the bunch at the beginning of the process.
  • Finally, one last kale tip is for when you have kale in the fridge, and it’s starting to look a little wilted. Don’t throw it away! Instead, you can revive the kale by shocking it in a bowl of ice water. Just chop about a half an inch off the stems, plop into the bowl, and your greens should come back to life within the next half hour. This has been a huge money saver for us and helps us be less wasteful! This tip can also apply to any leafy greens that look a little sketch, not just kale!


I personally tend to make a lot of kale salads year round. Aside from the crazy nutritional value kale has, dressed kale salads also tend to keep well in the refrigerator for a few days, unlike other salads made with more delicate greens.

Here are three of my kale salad recipes that you can make to get practicing with your newly learned tips:

Kale and blood orange salad

Kale salad with honey apple vinaigrette

Quinoa salad with kale, beets, and pears

Shredded Brussels sprouts, kale, and quinoa salad with toasted hazelnuts

For more kale salad recipes, food prep tips, and more, download my FREE Salads That Don’t Suck guide!