Ughhh. After ten days of panels by day and parties by night thanks to SXSW, my body haaaates me. It’s been nothing but free booze and free snacks. My diet has basically consisted of KIND Bars, cheap vodka-sodas, and canned rosé. On one hand, that is living the dream, but on the other hand, I need some vegetables before I fall over dead. Enter: kale salad.

Massaged Kale Salad with Chicken and Avocado

One of my favorite ways to prepare a kale salad is to massage it. Massaaaage. Sounds kinda creepy, but it’s great. You literally squeeze and knead kale leaves with your hands, using an acid (lemon juice, vinegar, etc.) to help break down the tough leaves into tender-yet-firm, flavorful salad greens.

For this version of my fave massaged kale salad, I wanted to pack in the protein, too, so I opted for a classic lean & low-carb choice: chicken. The nice people at GoodHeart recently sent me a big box of their all-natural rotisserie and grilled chicken breast packs to try. While I’m normally a bit leery when it comes to pre-cooked meats, I was so drained after SXSW that I was glad to have such an easy option. And – the best part – unlike some other pre-cooked chicken you might find in packaged salads, etc., this GoodHeart meat is actually, well, good! Not gonna lie, it’s crazy convenient and I definitely see myself using it again in recipes like this where I have a ton of ingredients I’m throwing together for a quick weeknight meal.

Notice I started the last paragraph with “this version” – because when you begin with a base of lemon & ACV-massaged kale greens, you can really make it your own from there. I always always like to include some avocado (duh) and then a nut or seed for crunch. I use almonds here but you can sub cashews, sunflower seeds, pecans, even peanuts. And while mushrooms and tomatoes are always two of my kale salad faves, you can add as many vegetables as your heart desires! Really, you can’t go wrong here.

Favorite Massaged Kale Salad

1 bushel kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped or torn by hand
1 package GoodHeart chicken breast (or your favorite meat/protein choice!)
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds
***1 cup cooked quinoa (optional)
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste
cayenne powder (optional)

In a large bowl, massage the kale with the apple cider vinegar and lemon juice.

Drizzle the massaged kale with the grapeseed oil then add the rest of the ingredients besides your S&P – toss to combine. The avocado will slightly break down and help to provide its own creamy component to your dressing.
*** Looking for a heartier kale salad? Toss in a cup of cooked quinoa as well!

Add salt & pepper to taste, and if you’re feeling crazy, a dash of cayenne. Top with more slivered almonds and enjoy the fact that you are eating a REAL meal, not protein bars and vodka for dinner. Then wistfully think about how much you can’t wait for SXSW to come again next year.

Massaged Kale Salad with Chicken and Avocado

GoodHeart sent me product to taste and review, but the opinions and recipe are 100% my own!

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