Raw Sesame Kale Recipe

by katerina on May 2, 2011

Raw kale is pretty strange, but most definitely worth trying. If you haven’t yet tried a massaged kale salad why not use this recipe as your excuse? You see, kale is naturally very bitter. But after using salt to coax the acrid water out of the leaves it becomes far more mild and is quite lovely eaten raw.

However, it does still have a bitterness so it pairs very well with sweet and tangy tastes. This recipe is inspired by the Japanese dish gomaee which is made from sesame paste and a base of cooked spinach. Because of the kale’s strength, serve it with a hefty flavoured main dish and alongside sweet accompaniments like kabocha squash.

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Raw Sesame Kale Recipe

(serves 2)

1 very big bunch kale
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoons brown sugar

Wash the kale and remove any thick stems. Cut into 1 cm long ribbons and place in a strainer. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and rub the salt in vigorously. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile make the dressing. In a small frying pan toast the sesame seeds over low heat until fragrant. Combine with the remaining ingredients. If you want something much more similar to gomaee you can put the mixture into a food processor.

After twenty minutes, give the kale a good squeeze and release any of it's liquid. Rinse under cool water and squeeze dry again. Toss with dressing. This can be made ahead.

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 5 minutes | Total Time:30 minutes
Calories(approximate per serving): 80

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Belinda @zomppa May 2, 2011 at 5:32 am

Massage it, eh? I like that!


natalie (the sweets life) May 3, 2011 at 10:12 am

I need to try this! I love kale cooked but have only tried it raw a few times!


Kalynskitchen May 3, 2011 at 10:20 am

I like this idea. This year I’m growing Red Russian Kale again, which is quite a bit milder.


FoodFitnessFreshAir May 9, 2011 at 8:49 am

Love this. I didn’t like the first few raw kale salads I tried. But then I made my own, and learned the key is really massaging the dressing and making sure the bitter leaves are coated with a sweet olive oil or savory dressing.


katerina May 10, 2011 at 9:33 am

Belinda – seriously, rub, rub rub.

Natalie – I think I still prefer it cooked, but I liked it raw too, they both have their place.

Kalyn – This kale was from my garden too!

FoodFitnessFreshAir – I really like a sweet dressing, I think it helps complement the bitter quite well.


Govind April 8, 2012 at 6:41 am

Absolutely delicious – served it yesterday with hake and sweet potato. Made two kale dishes and this was unanimously preferred.
Only changes I made were: (1) used rice wine instead of rice wine vinegar, but the wine was so old it had probably turned to vinegar anyway and (2) added a small amount of miso paste.
Thanks for a great yet simple recipe and I will definitely be making this one again!


katerina April 8, 2012 at 9:46 am

So glad it worked out for you Govind! Love the idea of miso paste.


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