Monday, January 16, 2012

Massaged Kale Avocado Salad

I had felt inspired this week by meeting the charismatic, sweet and enthusiastic raw chef Lisa from Vegan Culinary Crusade. We had a few meals together and I watched her give a talk on the healing power of plant foods. While I knew a lot of the info and references such as the china study. I still learnt a lot about new research into the benefits of vegan diet, and the horrible health consequences of eating dairy and animal protein. Both the talk and general conversations with her had me reflecting on all sorts of things, like my current diet.

It's coming up to my 10 year anniversary of being vegan in a few months. I started out as a pretty healthy vegan but as more and more processed vegan foods become available, they started to become part of my regular diet. I really have become a bit of  junk food vegan. I get how it happens, I guess I want to show myself and others that you don't need to miss out on fried foods, creamy ice creams, decadent cakes etc. But we really are doing a bit of a disservice to ourselves. If we are eating large amounts of sugar, fat, oil etc we can still end up with some of the diseases of affluence. Not only can it make us unwell but also gives veganism a bad name since if a vegan gets sick, veganism always gets blamed.

I took Lisa to radical grocery and she got the last bunch of kale and told me about the salad she was going to make for dinner. I was intrigued about it as she explained that by massaging the kale with certain ingredients it becomes wilted almost like it has been cooked. With the hot heather returning to Melbourne today, I couldn't resist giving it a try. I know kale salads are big on overseas vegan blogs but kale is still a pretty rare ingredient here and I think in the past I overlooked these recipes as I wasn't interested in what I thought to be boring and bland salads.

I massaged the kale as I watched project runway and was so amazed at the change in texture and size, it decreased by almost half. If you are looking for kale in Melbourne you can sometimes find it at radical grocery, and fruit peddlers. I have also been told that it is available at  psarkos in Thornby and LaManna Direct in Essendon.

Anyway, the salad was great, the avocado adds a bit of creaminess, the massaging takes away the bitterness of the kale, the capsicum provides a tiny bit of sweetness. Its also quick and doesn't require turning on the oven/stove on hot days. I'm certainly going to make this again and am going to experiment with other massaged kale salads. Do you have any fav kale salad recipes?

Kale Avocado Salad  from Vegan Culinary Crusade

1 bunch of kale
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 (or 2) Avocado/s
1/2 red pepper (I used a whole one), juliened
2 spring onions, chopped

1. Tear up the leaves from a bunch of kale into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl
2. Add olive oil, sea salt and lemon.
3. Massage everything together for a couple of minutes (the kale should change texture to become almost wilted)
4. Peel and pit an avocado/s. Mash the avocado flesh into the kale, to coat the leaves.
5. Top with red pepper and spring onion.

Serves 4 (as side)

I'm labelling this as raw, as you just need to sub the olive oil.


  1. How interesting, this massaging technique! I must try that sometime...

  2. Also I know it's sometimes available at Friends of the Earth.

    I'm always really intimidated by it!

  3. i LOVVVVVE massaged kale salads! i'm so happy you were finally able to experience one ;)

  4. The salad looks great! I have been really intrigued by these massaged kale salads. The only time I have bought kale was at the organic stall at the Vic market but it was quite limp and I didn't feel it was good value for the price.

  5. Mashing the avocado to coat the leaves is a great idea. And I think it's so funny, the thought of someone sitting there, watching project runway whilst massaging leaves.

  6. I have so many kale recipes bookmarked that it's not funny, but pretty much *never* see it anywhere in Canberra.

    Oh, I'm so envious of how many meals you had with Lisa! I wanted to kidnap that wonderful woman so that she'd never leave :)

  7. This looks good! I have never had kale before & always tend to skip over recipes for it too.

  8. I'm so glad you enjoyed the salad. Massaged kale is such a staple for me at home. It was quite a treat to enjoy on my last two days in Melbourne. I hope it will become a comfort food for you as it is for me.

    Thank you again for being such an incredible ambassador for Melbourne. I really enjoyed spending time with you and trying the fantastic flavours of your city. I really hope we find ourselves across a table again soon.


  9. I've seen those sort of salads but the idea of wilted kale in a salad doesn't enthuse me much - but I can tell you that you can get kale from the vic market and also from the fruit and veg shop near the corner of lygon and elgin streets in carlton - my problem is that is still seems a luxury item that I feel I have to have a special dish for it. Having said that I have a kale plant in a pot in the backyard that is out of control so I need to cook with kale soon as I get a bit of time and energy.

  10. I got some kale at La Manna Brunswick yesterday but it's already getting wilted. Going to try this recipe tonight! Generally I just steam it with other green veggies to use in whatever.

  11. I tried this - just without the avocado as I didn't feel like anything creamy. Result: YUM! Great technique :)