I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been served a kale salad, and despite being reduced to glitter sized particles in a food processor… I still find myself choking down each forkful. While raw kale can be a wonderful addition to your diet, it can wreak havoc on your digestion because the leaves are thick and tough.
My solution has always been to massage my kale before adding it to any raw dishes. It’s also a good idea to remove the stems first. I have no issue using the stems in cooked dishes, but I’m not a fan of what they do to my digestive functions when ingested raw. For me, even the size of the leaves is a non issue if the kale is massaged. By contrast, no matter how small you chop raw virgin kale, it’s still going to be tough going down.
First I remove the stems by lightly running a sharp knife along the stems to remove all of the leaves. Then I package and refrigerate the stems for cooked dishes (I’ll often cook and puree them as part of a sauce). Then I cut the leaves into manageable pieces and put them in a bowl. I add seasonings, and a little oil and vinegar… then I grab, squish and squeeze the leaves together until they soften up and reduce in size.
I will usually eat the kale just like that, just seasoned and massaged. But I also do this if I’m making my favorite Kale & Shiitake Salad. I find that massaged kale goes down and processes in my body so much easier. While this step is not necessary in the general sense, it’s non-negotiable for me when ingesting raw kale.