kale saladI pretty much always make the same salad to go with whatever meal I happen to be cooking for dinner: spring mix, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and red bell pepper. It’s good, but it’s starting to get rather boring. Last night I decided to have a go at the oft-derided leafy green that’s become the butt of many a hipster joke as of late: kale.

Years ago, I considered myself a bit of a music snob. I recall discussing said snobbery with a friend of mine one day, explaining my disdain for “popular” music, when he said something to the effect of, “I think there’s a reason why popular songs are popular: They’re good.” I fired back with some snarky retort about the idiocy of the masses, but in retrospect, I have to admit he had a point. And I think the same thing holds true for kale. Its popularity—particularly in certain mustachioed, plaid-bedecked, craft-beer-adoring circles—has made it something of a gastronomical punchline, but there’s a reason for its popularity: It’s good.

I’ve cooked with kale in the past, but I’ve never tried it in a salad because I thought it would be too tough. But I recently learned that you merely need to massage it for a few minutes and it will graciously, deliciously bend to your will. There are various methods, but here’s how I did it:

Remove the stems, cut the leaves to your desired size, sprinkle with a dash of sea salt, and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top. Then massage the leaves for about two to three minutes until they wilt slightly and turn dark green.

Before:

kale before massageAfter:

kale after massage

To this, I added halved yellow cherry tomatoes, chopped avocado, and toasted pine nuts. I finished it off with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

kale saladkale salad

Great success!