How To De-Stem and Thinly Slice Kale

How to de-stem and thinly slice kale

Ok, so I have a lot of kale salads on the blog, (20 if you’re counting) so I thought it might be nice to share a post on how to de-stem and thinly slice kale, instead of always linking you all to my lactinato kale salad recipe where you have to scroll down the post just to get the info. I’ve also created a video where I show you how to make my lacinato kale salad, as well as show you in person how to wash, de-stem and thinly slice kale. Check it out below…

I already did a post on how to keep kale and other greens fresh, and since then I have received a lot of positive comments from readers and friends saying that those simple tips have made their lives so much easier when it comes to preparing a salad at the end of the day. Kale is one of those lettuces that keeps well. If washed and stored properly, it will keep up to 2 weeks. Most kale salads last up to 3 days in the fridge. That means if you make a kale salad on Monday, you will have leftovers Tuesday and Wednesday.  I mean who doesn’t like a salad that you can make ahead or better yet have leftovers of?

A note about purchasing lacinato kale:  Don’t purchase lacinato kale that feels tough and paper-like.  It will not breakdown and thus will not absorb the dressing even when you massage it.  Kale is best when its soft and pliable, (feels like regular lettuce) as it absorbs the dressing and is tender when eaten.

Ok, here are the step-by-step photos for de-stemming and thinly slicing kale.

First off, whenever I wash my kale, I de-stem it at the same time over the sink, and then throw the de-stemmed leaves into the salad spinner to dry off.  Then all I have to do is slice up the dry kale leaves.

To de-stem kale, grab a stalk of kale, hold it by the stem with one hand and place the pointer or middle finger and thumb of your other hand around the stem just above the leaves. Pull your fingers along the stem, tearing the leaves off.  You can do this step right above the sink after you wash your kale leaves.

Taking stem out of kale

See how easily the leaf pulls away from the stem? This step gets easier each time you do it.  At this point you can wrap the kale leaves in paper towels and store them, or continue on below if you’re making a salad.

Kale stem removed

Here is how to cut your kale into thin strips. You can also use this technique for any sort of lettuce and herbs.  Take 3-4 kales leaves and lay them on top of one another, and then roll them up tightly.  If you’re using curly kale, it’s easier to just tear it apart into small pieces after you de-stem it, as it’s a bit unruly to roll up and cut into thin slices.

Roll kale

Roll kale

Take your knife and slice the kale into thin strips until you get to the end.

Cutting kale

Cutting kale

Aren’t the kale slices so pretty?  Throw your kale slices into a large bowl and top with your favorite dressing.

Beautiful cut kale

Here are some links to some of my favorite kale salad recipes.

Lacinato kale salad

Kale Salad

miso kale salad with miso roasted tofu

Miso kale salad with miso roasted tofu

Kale salad with delicata squash, almonds and aged cheddar

Kale salad with delicata squash , almonds and aged cheddar

Vegan, kale, cranberry, apple and toasted almond salad with lemon dressing

Kale, cranberry, apple and toasted almond salad with lemon dressing

kale and ricotta salata salad 

Kale salad

I hope that this post was helpful for you all. I feel like I’ve become sort of a kale expert, so if you have any questions about kale, ask me!

With love Jackie

Nourish your inbox!

More to explore

15 thoughts on “How To De-Stem and Thinly Slice Kale”

    1. Thanks Michelle! Yes, it’s a cutting board that actually needs some mineral oil rubbed into it. I picked it up at Sur La Table.

  1. I love the tutorial and love your kale salad round-up. I’m having kale salad tonight! Hey, it’s Mama’s night off so have a great dinner out wherever you go, and have a great weekend! I saw you commented on my posts too so will go over there, but yes, we are both post crazy this week with 3 posts! When you’re feeling inspired, you’re feeling inspired. Teehee! xoxo, Sharon

    1. Hey Sharon! I’m so glad you’re having (or had) some kale salad tonight! Marin mama actually ended up cooking tonight. We’re heading out to dinner tomorrow night, so I decided to cook. For some reason I have an abundance of energy this week. I hope it lasts because I’m getting so much done! Have a great weekend girl! xoxo, Jackie

    1. Hi Kepanie! Yes, try raw kale, it’s really not as scary as people think. The lacinato kale really tastes like lettuce. The curly kale is the one that gives kale the bad rap for tasting bad. Curly kale is more bitter and leaves a chalky aftertaste.

  2. I’m so glad to find this (via link at Becoming Gezellig)! I already had figured out these strategies and have to some extent described them verbally in some of the posts of my many kale recipes, but I rarely post photos because I do most of my writing during lunch break at work–so it’s great to find a photo tutorial. I am linking to it in my big post of kale ideas and the recipe for Green Ribbon Lentils, which uses lacinato kale sliced exactly like this.

    1. Ha Ha! I’m super happy to help Jake and I’m glad you got to enjoy a “stemless” kale salad! 🙂 xoxo, Jacquelyn

  3. I had no idea the stems were to be removed from kale! I find it unpleasant in my mouth. My fresh kale from my patio now looks edible!!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top