When using fresh kale in a salad, mix with other ingredients, toss with a salad dressing or vinaigrette, and let the salad sit for at least one hour before serving. During this time, the kale should wilt and soften, making it tender enough to eat raw.
Salad dressings that contain oil and salt cause the cell walls in leafy green vegetables to break down and soften quickly. Since kale has a thicker cell wall than lettuce or spinach, the oil and salt require more time to break down the cell wall adequately. When preparing a kale salad, cover each strip of kale with dressing as this enhances the flavor and texture of the kale.
Ingredients such as lemon juice, cranberries, pine nuts, cherries and sunflower seeds provide additional color and flavor to the salad. Pair thin strips of raw kale with bold, spicy flavors, or add it to Caesar, Greek or garden salads. Cheese, olives and croutons complement the bitterness of the kale while helping to enhance its flavor.
To reduce the bitterness of kale, sauté the kale before adding to a salad. Season the kale with salt and pepper. Add other vegetables such as onion or mushrooms while cooking. Allow the kale to cool to room temperature before combining it with other ingredients.