Massaged Kale and Soba Salad with Salmon, Edamame and Avocado

In a perfect world I’d like to think I’m some kind of innovator. That after you read about my Massaged Kale “Cobb” Salad with Crispy Eggplant “Bacon” you immediately threw some paper-thin slices of eggplant in the oven to dehydrate and plunged your bare hands into a bowl of kale.
But maybe you just went on to the next blog, thinking “been there, done that.” The truth is that I never really know if I’m preaching to the choir or not. I figure a good deal of you have gone all therapeutic on your kale, because in the blogging world, it’s kind of old news. On the other end of the spectrum are people like my dear mother and best friend. Everything on my blog is new to them, and my blog is undoubtedly the best one out there.

Because it’s the only one they read.
But thankgoodness for them, calling me up and asking if I made a typo. Or if “massage” has some entirely different culinary definition that I didn’t bother to explain. Because obviously I would expect you all to know that.

The truth is, I really did massage my kale. Meaning, I worked at it with my hands, soothing, kneading, rubbing; loosening it from its rigid, tough state into a relaxed, wilted pile of tender greens.
And because it was so good, I did it again very soon thereafter; this time tossing it with buckwheat noodles, mildly sweet Alaskan salmon, creamy avocado, and a spicy, nutty dressing. 

The recipe was inspired by one in Bon Appetit for a soba noodle salad with salmon, asparagus, and avocado. The first thing I noticed was that it called for six ounces (excuse me, five and a half) of pasta for four servings. A bit skimpy, no? Naturally, I added vegetables to bulk it up. That’s where the massaged kale came in. Figuring that was enough big, bright greenery, I omitted the asparagus, and added edamame for textural contrast (as if there wasn’t enough already) and extra protein. That’s always welcome around these parts. Finally, I jazzed up the dressing with tahini and a pinch of crushed red pepper, and lowered the carbs just a tad with one of my favorite zero-calorie all-natural sweeteners. 

The result? Pasta I can eat! Pasta which is not the star of the recipe, but certainly a desirable accessory to bold, nutrient-packed vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein. All of it bound together with tangy tahini-based dressing flecked with ginger and spice.
A perfectly balanced dish in both nutrition and taste.
So this is your second chance. If you still haven’t tried massaging your kale, I hope this recipe will convince you.

Massaged Kale and Soba Salad with Salmon, Edamame and Avocado

Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2011 
Printable Recipe

12 ounces wild Alaskan salmon fillet
12 ounces coarsely chopped fresh kale
1 tablespoon tahini
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 packets Truvia, or other sweetener to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper
6 ounces Japanese-style soba noodles
1/2 cup shelled edamame
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Preheat broiler. Place the fish, skin side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Broil for 7-10 minutes, depending on thickness, until fish is just opaque in the center. Remove from oven, and tent with foil to keep warm.

Whisk together tahini, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sweetener, and crushed red pepper. In a large bowl, pour the mixture over the kale along with a big pinch of salt. Using your hands, work the dressing into the kale for about 5 minutes, until the kale has wilted down.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the soba noodles and edamame for 5 minutes. Drain and toss with the kale mixture.

When ready to serve, cut the salmon into large chunks. To assemble, divide the kale-noodle mixture among four serving plates, and top with equal amounts of the diced avocado and salmon. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 458.2
Total Fat: 19.2 g
Cholesterol: 52.6 mg
Sodium: 757.6 mg
Total Carbs: 45.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.5 g
Protein: 30.7 g

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30 Responses to “Massaged Kale and Soba Salad with Salmon, Edamame and Avocado”

  1. 1

    Tasha — May 19, 2011 @ 12:40 pm Reply

    As much as it might be  nothing new, I still haven't tried massaged kale yet. This however could very well be the recipe to get me to it. I absolutely love how this dish has so many of my favorite things- soba noodles, salmon, avocado, tahini dressing!

  2. 2

    Molly — May 19, 2011 @ 12:46 pm Reply

    Oh wow, this sounds fantastic. All sorts of yumminess in one bowl: Kale, salmon and tahini. Can't wait to give it a shot. 

  3. 3

    Amanda L. — May 19, 2011 @ 2:46 pm Reply

    I still have yet to massage my own kale, I really need to get on that. This recipe looks fantastic though!

  4. 4

    Kaytorade — May 19, 2011 @ 5:10 pm Reply

    I'm a greens girl, so massaging kale comes naturally, but even my mom is kale-illiterate. I think for many people, venturing even a step away from spinach can be intimidating.

  5. 5

    Joanne — May 19, 2011 @ 5:33 pm Reply

    I realize that I am so very behind the times, but I've never massaged my kale before (wow doesn't that sound dirty?  Hmm.)  However, you'll be pleased to note, I HAVE been halving my pasta and upping my veggies and legumes and tofu and fish!  Yup, living the Cara-lifestyle. And loving it.  Which means this is so going to have to make an appearance in my life!

  6. 6

    Dawn Hutchins — May 19, 2011 @ 5:50 pm Reply

    Very nice. I love massaged kale. In fact I never cook it any more!  It's just too easy to eat it raw.   I must try this with seared tuna.  Mmmm…

  7. 7

    Cara — May 19, 2011 @ 5:55 pm Reply

    mmm tuna.. great idea! (I just got back from eating sushi!)

  8. 8

    Carolyn — May 19, 2011 @ 6:56 pm Reply

    Okay, I am getting a kick out of the massaging.  I've never heard of it, so you are an innovater in my books!  Now, if you are willing to massage your greens, perhaps you could give my shoulders a little rub???  😉 

  9. 9

    Nicole, RD — May 19, 2011 @ 8:36 pm Reply

    I'm always looking for ways to use kale that I would enjoy…this sounds perfect 🙂

  10. 10

    Chrysta — May 19, 2011 @ 10:46 pm Reply

    ya know…i  grew up eating kale, but I never massaged it! Never gave my kale some love. Its sad…I think Im going to have to try out this technique. Im a firm believer that everything is better after a massage! (Myself included=) Have a great day!

  11. 11

    Jen — May 20, 2011 @ 12:46 pm Reply

     I will have to try this, sans fish. Maybe with chicken. Do you think that shirataki noodles would be a good replacement for the soba noodles? that would lighten it up quite a bit.

  12. 12

    Cara — May 20, 2011 @ 12:49 pm Reply

    Hi Jen,I have yet to try shirataki noodles, though I am very curious about them.

  13. 13

    Kerstin — May 21, 2011 @ 2:59 am Reply

     I love soba noodles, this sounds great! I actually don't like kale chips, but I want to try kale again prepared another way like this!

  14. 14

    Cara — May 21, 2011 @ 3:20 am Reply

    I figured I was the only blogger who didn't like kale chips! I tried themtwice too, wanting to like them, thinking that I should like them. But, Idon't like them. Massaged kale, on the other hand, love!

  15. 15

    megi — May 21, 2011 @ 11:32 am Reply

    I loved  your post Cara. 🙂 I do massage my kale but never made a pasta dish that looks as pretty and as delicious as this one. Gorgeous photos!

  16. 16

    Alicia — May 21, 2011 @ 12:39 pm Reply

    Hi Cara,I've been massaging my own kale for some time now, but this recipe is a revelation. I love this!

  17. 17

    shannon — May 22, 2011 @ 5:38 pm Reply

    i've been massaging my kale like nobody's business lately 🙂  lol.  love this dish!!

  18. 18

    Jenn M. — May 22, 2011 @ 5:47 pm Reply

    This looks delicious! So glad to find new blog to follow after fitbloggin. Can't wait to make some of your recipes. 

  19. 19

    Gretchen — May 23, 2011 @ 12:14 am Reply

     This looks delicious! It was awesome meeting you this weekend, Cara. Can't wait to be inspired by more of your amazing looking recipes!!

  20. 20

    Bianca Garcia — May 23, 2011 @ 1:10 am Reply

    This sounds amazing. Salmon and avocado together are great, and adding kale makes it an even healthier (and yummier) meal!

  21. 21

    grace — May 23, 2011 @ 5:49 pm Reply

    it seems unfair that a bunch of kale is getting a better massage than i am, even after a hard day of work.  then again, it got eaten afterward, so i guess i win. 🙂

  22. 22

    Anita — May 24, 2011 @ 12:15 pm Reply

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I made it with a few modifications to make it easier. I used silverbeet instead of kale, peas instead of edamame and hot smoked salmon instead of fresh salmon. I also left out the truvia. My husband loved it too! I will definitely be making this more often.

  23. 23

    Cara — May 24, 2011 @ 12:45 pm Reply

    So glad you liked it, Anita! I'm not familiar with silverbeet, I assumethat's a type of green?

  24. 24

    Alanna Kellogg — May 24, 2011 @ 4:48 pm Reply

    It took a "massage" to turn me in to a real kale fan, despite what everyone says, this is a great way to use it for more than just a salad, great job, Cara. PS Have just been reading review of the new Bon Appetit, lots of folks are saying they found the April issue un-inspiring, glad you found somethign so good@ 

  25. 25

    Alicia — June 1, 2011 @ 2:00 am Reply

    Hi Cara,I've been massaging my own kale for some time now, but this recipe is a revelation. I love this!

  26. 26

    Anita — June 6, 2011 @ 9:24 am Reply

    Yum! Made this again tonight for dinner. It's delish! Yes Silverbeet is a leafy green. Just did a google search and apparently it's also called Swiss Chard. 

  27. 27

    Aldentepasta81 — September 20, 2011 @ 5:53 pm Reply

    It's me, Monique from Al Dente Pasta company. I will try this recipe with either our spicy sesame linguine or whole wheat fettuccine. looks so good.

  28. 28

    Cara — September 20, 2011 @ 5:56 pm Reply

    ohh that spicy sesame sounds delicious! Bet it will be great with this.

  29. 29

    Keri — January 5, 2012 @ 2:41 am Reply

    I just made this tonight with seared ahi tuna and it was AMAZING! Just the noodles, etc. without the fish was awesome too. Thanks for posting this!

    • 29.1

      Cara — January 5, 2012 @ 2:47 am

      Oooh, tuna sounds fabulous! Glad to hear you enjoyed it 🙂

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