Tuscan Kale Salad with Grapefruit and Torn Mint

Tuscan Kale Salad with Grapefruit and Torn Mint

Have you ever given your kale a good massage? With just a bit of agitation and salt, hearty Tuscan or lacinto kale softens into a shiny heap of greens. Add in a bit of bright citrus and a sharp vinaigrette and you have the perfect side dish. This Tuscan Kale Salad with Grapefruit and Torn Mint comes together in just a few minutes and is a personal favorite.

Grapefruit and mint are a match made in heaven and they come together beautifully in this salad. It’s all topped off with salty parmigiano-reggiano cheese and crunchy sunflower seeds. One of the best parts of hearty Tuscan kale salads is that they can easily be made ahead and nibbled on all week.

Do you need to massage kale for a salad?

Once Spring hits, I’m ready for ALL of the salads. Enter this beautiful Tuscan Kale salad with Grapefruit and Torn Mint. Grapefruit season usually begins in early January and goes pretty steadily through Spring and Summer. I absolutely love the bittersweet bite of grapefruit. It is the perfect complement to the soft massaged kale.

Let’s talk massaged kale for a minute. I know the concept of massaging a vegetable sounds weird, but hear me out on this one. If you’re going to eat raw kale, I URGE you to soften it up a bit. It will change your mind about kale salads which are usually pretty tough and can be rough on your digestive system. The act of massaging, or agitating the kale, breaks down some of those fibers and makes the kale much more palatable. Give it a try!

The rest of this salad is really simple, so it is vital to use top quality ingredients. A good high quality extra virgin olive oil, parmigiano-reggiano, and raw honey will all make this seemingly simple salad mind blowing. I’m a firm believer in less is more, and this salad showcases that idea.

What ingredients do I need for a kale salad?

Tuscan/Lacinto Kale: this is the very dark green kale you’ll see in the produce section. You can use regular curly kale, but I love the deep green of lacinto for this recipe.

Grapefruit: here I use ruby red grapefruit. I find it is a bit sweeter than the yellow version. You can use whatever is available to you.

Mint: I absolutely adore fresh herbs and my salad and mint is perfect with grapefruit. If you’re not a mint fan, you can use parsley, chives, chervil, or tarragon.

Parmigiano-Reggiano: if you can, please use this cheese. It is quite different from the American parmesan. However, if you prefer the American version, go for it!

Olive Oil: this is one of times where I suggest you use a high quality oil. The less ingredients a dish has, the more important it is that they are primo. A good Italian or California extra virgin would be perfect here.

Substitutions: to make this vegan and/or Paleo substitute the cheese with a cashew parmesan. It can be skipped altogether as well. If you want to make this more of a main dish, you can add grilled chicken or shrimp and add some fresh croutons.

This Tuscan Kale Salad with Grapefruit and Torn Mint is the perfect Spring side dish. Add a protein and some crusty bread and you have a perfect light dinner.

Looking for another Spring salad? Try my Golden Beet Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

grapefruit kale salad with mint

Effortless Tuscan Kale Salad with Grapefruit and Torn Mint

This simple massaged kale salad is brightened up with tart grapefruit and fresh mint. Salty parmigiano-regianno rounds out this effortless salad that is sure to impress.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4


Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch Tuscan/Lacinto kale washed & destemmed
  • 1 each ruby red grapefruit
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 oz Parmigiano-Regianno shaved
  • 1/2 cup mint washed and torn into pieces

Grapefruit Vinaigrette

  • 2 tsp grapefruit zest
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 each shallot finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


Massaged Tuscan Kale Salad

  • Tear the kale into bite sized pieces and put into a large bowl
  • Sprinkle the pinch of salt over the greens and “massage” the kale until it starts to soften and the greens begin to turn shiny
  • Segment the grapefruit (after zesting it for the dressing) by removing the skin and all of the white. Cut into the natural segments.
  • Add the grapefruit, torn mint, and sunflower seeds to the kale and toss together with a spoon.


  • In a small bowl combine the grapefruit zest, shallot, honey, mustard,and vinegar.
  • Whisk the ingredients together.
  • While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Whisk until combined.
  • Season with the salt and pepper as desired.


  • Pour the dressing over the kale mixture and lightly toss together.
  • Add the shaved parmigiano-reggiano and toss lightly throughout the salad.
  • Serve and Enjoy!


This salad can easily be made vegan or Paleo by omitting the cheese and using maple syrup instead of honey.
This salad keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 days.
To make a complete meal add a protein of your choice and serve with crusty bread.
Keyword easy, gluten free, grain free, nut free, paleo option, vegan option

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