For the longest time, I used to think kale and I would never be friends. Don't get me wrong, veggies and I have a beautiful relationship, and I love them deeply. Nevertheless, this large and tough leafy green never caught my attention. It's too large and too green-tasting, I I had backed out, as I'm sure a lot of people can relate.

Obviously, it was meant to be for me to make peace with this olive-colored plant, because there got to a point where I felt like I needed kale in my life. After hearing about all its amazing nutritional benefits, I couldn't say no to trying it! In particular, the mere fact that it is overflowing with minerals such as iron and calcium, as well as vitamins A, C, and K, sucked me in like a bee on a flower. (The thoughts of a nutrition student, am I right?)

Not Love at First Bite

Now, I wish this story had a happily ever after from the very beginning, but it didn't. As I expected, the taste wasn't too bad; it pretty much tasted just like all its other green and leafy companions, such as spinach and Swiss chard. However, I couldn't get over how tough it was. Biting into it was one thing, but then chewing on its overly fibrous nature was bordering on tedious. I almost backed out again.

vegetable, cabbage, broccoli, kale
Katherine Luo

Thankfully, the internet is a lovely and easily-accessible thing, because without it, I wouldn't have found out that really, all it takes to make kale taste 100% is giving it a nice and relaxing massage. Kale yeah, you heard right. 

So, Kale Gets a Massage, and I Don't? 

Pretty much. All this plant wants in order to be able to be palatable when eaten is a free massage in a nice, tasty oil or dressing and a blend of your favorite spices. Turns out, by massaging a dressing into the kale with your hands for a couple of minutes, and really working it deeply, its tough and fibrous cell structure breaks down, leaving you with a soft and even more delicious green. Talk about magic in the kitchen!

I made a meal and documented the proc... | HD photo by Laura Johnston (@lauramakoj) on Unsplash

Unsplash on Unsplash

After experimenting with a couple of dressings that would make my kale taste divine, I finally found an extremely simple yet nutritious recipe for the most perfect massaged kale you'll ever try. This is an incredible way to get more veggies in your diet in a way that your body will crave and enjoy -- and beg you for more; don't say I didn't warn you. 

This tahini-based dressing will provide nutrients such as B-vitamins, Vitamin E, iron, calcium, and plant-based protein, as well as healthy unsaturated fats to support your heart health. In addition, it has a delicious taste from Trader Joe's ever-so-famous Everything But the Bagel seasoning. However, if you don't have it, any blend of your favorite herbs, spices, and seasonings will work. 

Tahini Massaged Kale Recipe

If you have two ingredients and ten minutes, then you're ready to make kale your new BFF. You'll need about 2 tablespoons of your favorite tahini (make sure it's unsalted and has no other ingredients in it besides ground sesame seeds), and 1 teaspoon of Trader Joe's EBTB seasoning or your preferred seasoning blend.

Whisk that all up in a bowl, thinning it out with a splash of water if it is too thick for your liking. Next, add it to a bowl filled with a bunch of washed and de-stemmed kale leaves, and start massaging...literally. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. Slowly massage the kale for around 5 minutes with your hands, making sure that you go deep enough, yet are gentle enough, to break down the tough fibers. After about five minutes of infusing the greens with the tahini dressing, you'll notice your kale becoming softer and even slightly reducing in size. That's how you know it's ready to eat!

How to Eat

Massaged kale goes great as a salad base; I love adding sweet potato chunks, pumpkin seeds, shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, and avocado chunks. However, it can definitely be incorporated in any way you feel best eating it, adding your favorite fruits and veggies as you wish.

kale, broccoli, salad
Eleanor Challenger

You can also use the tahini dressing for any other salads you make, kale or not, or even top a savory oatmeal bowl or avocado toast with it. The options are endless as long as your creativity is running. 

And if you're looking for other great ways to get some kale in your life, these recipes will make you crave this veg every. single. day.

kale, cabbage, broccoli, vegetable
Amanda Olivero

Once you start sharing this recipe with friends, they won't believe how easy it is to build a loving relationship with kale. And if they try it and still aren't into it, kale 'em with kindness, and make them try it again. They're bound to love it.