gluten free,  salad dressing,  vegan,  vegetables + sides,  vegetarian

Curly Kale + Tandoori Chickpea Salad (and a lecture on massaging the Queen)

Do you enjoy a really good massage?

If you answered yes, you know how revitalizing a massage can be. Relaxing yet invigorating; a bit painful at times but always worth all the tissue manipulation.


Now apply these same principles to your kale.

No, I am not kidding. You are going to give your kale a massage. Massaging your kale will break down her cellulose or woodiness.

Kale is the Queen of Greens, after all. She deserves it! You know why? She is the OG of superfood cred. For the price of a 2 minute massage, she has a lot to offer in return:  

  • 5 grams of fiber per serving
  • a good deal of RDA calcium and magnesium
  • Omega-3, iron, manganese
  • and (hold on to your seat) cancer-fighting antioxidants: more than 1000% of vitamin K, 300% of vitamin A, and nearly 90% of vitamin C.

You may say, “Hey! Naked Epicurean! I could use a good massage. The kale can take a number!”

Yes, I hear you.

But hear me when I say your kale is working hard for you. She deserves a good rub down. Besides, you will feel so darn good after eating your kale. You’ll start massaging her without my prompting as a token of advance appreciation.  A pay it forward, if you will.

I mean, we’re not talking Swedish, hot stone,or shiatsu. Just some medium-pressure fingering and squeezing will make your kale feel less shrubby and taste a bit brighter. You are simply unlocking her magic. All it takes is a little lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Massage for 2-3 minutes until she starts relax under your touch (read soften and wilt).

Besides, when you massage your kale with coconut, avocado, or olive oil, your hands are getting something akin to a paraffin wax. (A bonus for you.)

Not sold on the kale massage? Well, there are options. You probably will have to do something in order to soften the kale a bit before eating it. That something doesn’t have to be a massage. You could chop the kale into smaller pieces. You could also choose one of the more tender kales such as lacinato kale or baby kale. Or you could pre-dress the kale and let it sit before eating. The acid in lemon juice or vinegar of your dressing  will work on those tight spots that massages usually fix. (I have dressed my kale up to 2 days ahead and yielded wondrous results.)

This bowl of utter goodness will get your gitty-up-and-go going again.

Take advantage of this opportunity to add “kale masseuse” to your resume.


If you try this recipe, I’ll love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below or tag your photos #nakedepicurean on Insta!

Curly Kale + Tandoori Chickpea Salad

  • 1 bunch curly kale, roughly torn or chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 1 bag Saffron Road™  Bombay Spice Crunchy Chickpeas
  • 1 head garlic
  • ¼  cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil*
  • 2 medium lemons, juiced and zested*
  • 1-2 tablespoons agave, maple syrup, or honey
  • 1 pinch each S&P

* use ½ teaspoon of each for your kale massage

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Separate garlic cloves, leaving the skin on. Place cloves to a baking sheet lined with aluminum oil. Drizzle garlic with a bit of olive oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until fragrant and slightly browned.
  3. Once it has cooled just a bit, squeeze garlic out of skins and smash in a medium bowl. Add all remaining dressing ingredients and whisk vigorously to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside.
  4. Add kale to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. Using your hands, massage the kale.
  5. Toss kale with dressing, top with chickpeas and serve. Kale salad will save beautifully for a couple of days, even when already dressed.

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