You may be wondering how do I prepare kale?
Because I am sure you have all been told or have read that it is good for you! 

Kale is chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. But oftentimes, it is not finding its way onto our tables. In its raw state, it can be considered quite tough and fibrous, making it less than palatable. By preparing it the right way, kale can be a great addition to any meal! Here are some tips to cook with kale.

How to prepare kale:

Here are a few tricks for using kale in a salad:

First and foremost, remove the ribs!

The ribs are tough and quite unappetizing. I bought a giant bag of chopped kale, which happened to be the same price as a small bunch of kale. Unfortunately, this is typically meant for cooking or juicing, so the ribs were still intact. I saved some money, but it did take a little extra prep work to use the kale. Once the ribs are removed, chop the kale into small pieces or slice into thin ribbons.

Remove the ribs first!

Remove the ribs first!

There are different types of kale to prepare 

Typically you will see either large, flat leaves known as dino kale, or tough curly leaves, known as curly kale. Dino kale is typically less fibrous and may be better for salads. However, there are ways to soften curly kale enough for salads!

Kale greens ready to go for salad!

Kale greens already chopped!

One way to soften the leaves is to marinate the kale

If you have all night, toss the kale in your dressing, then let sit in the fridge overnight. If you’re short on time, you can also toss in olive oil and a little salt and let sit for at least 30 minutes, then add desired dressing when ready to serve.  

Kale marinated for a salad

Kale marinated for a salad

Another way to soften the leaves is to massage the kale

Yes, you heard that right. Give it a little massage. Toss chopped kale in the dressing of choice, then massage for several minutes until leaves soften and start to wilt.

The quickest way to prepare kale for a salad is to microwave for 30 seconds!

This breaks down the leaves just enough, giving it the perfect texture for a salad.


Of course, kale is great for other things too!

  • Add kale to your soups for an extra serving of veggies! Kale is a great addition to a sausage and bean soup (hello fiber!).
    Kale soup

    Kale soup

  • Use it as a base for pesto! With walnuts and olive oil, this recipe is full of heart healthy fats! Toss your favorite pasta or zoodles in the pesto and serve with roasted chicken!
  • Baby kale works well in smoothies! My favorite is made up of baby kale, diced apple, fresh ginger, and lemon juice.
    Add kale to your smoothie

    Add kale to your smoothie

  • And finally, you can sauté the greens with garlic, olive oil, and spices! Check out this recipe.


Pile the kale high in the pan, it will cook down a lot!

Pile the kale high in the pan, it will cook down a lot!


Looking for more meal planning tips and tricks? Check out our Mayhem to Mealtime program, created specifically for clients looking to make meal planning a reality. Give us a call at 301-474-2499 with any questions or to set up an appointment with Kaitlin!

+ posts

An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.