While sturdy kale is a go-to green for soups and braising, it also works surprisingly well uncooked in salads. The key to turning these somewhat tough leaves tender enough to eat raw, Chowhounds say, is to get your hands in the salad bowl and give them a massage.

To prepare the kale, remove the stems and cut the leaves into thin ribbons. Then add dressing ingredients and massage them into the greens thoroughly, which will “relax” them, Cynsa says. Some hounds like to let the kale marinate in its dressing for a bit following this step before serving.

A simple combination of olive oil and lemon or lime juice, plus salt and pepper, is a popular dressing. Cynsa’s favorite salad—which she calls “surprisingly great”—uses avocado instead of oil. To make it, rub the juice of a lemon and a chopped avocado into a shredded bunch of kale, season to taste, and then mix in a cup of diced tomatoes. Chris VR is another fan of this preparation: “It really is magical what happens to the tough kale when the avocado and lemon juice come into play,” she says. “Love this salad!”

blinknoodle has made a “fabulous” salad of kale massaged with a lemon vinaigrette, butternut squash roasted with garlic, and pomegranate seeds. “It was a hit over the holidays,” blinknoodle says.

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