Seven Things: Eat your kale

About a bazillion years ago I was talking to my mom and mentioned how kale was a relatively new food for me – I had never even heard of it before 2009, and then I think it took about a year before I actually tried it. Now it is a staple in our house. Anyway, my mom mentioned she just didn’t really know what to do with it, so I told her I’d put some of my favorite uses together in a blog for her. Unless specified, any variety of kale will work well in these recipes.

1. Just make the kale. Most of the recipes start out with sauteing the kale, and it is great to eat this way when you just need some greens on your plate. Generally what I do is prep the kale by washing it, cutting out the thick stalk, and then giving it a rough chop into about 1 inch by 1 inch pieces. Saute in olive oil until tender. Sauteing with garlic makes it better.

Pro tips:

  1. Kale that has been picked after a frost is so tender.
  2. Kale has some chew, it is a hardier green, so sometimes, when I want it softer, I throw in a little water and cover the pan to let it steam for a bit.
  3. Add a pat of butter for the last minute or so of sauteing and get it all melty and mixed in with the sauteed greens.
  4. If you find kale to be a bit too bitter for your tastes, add a couple tablespoons of vinegar while you are sauteing. I use apple cider vinegar or balsamic. The acid will help cut the bitterness.
  5. Some people recommend sauteing with bacon. But I find bacon to be disgusting. So this is not my pro tip.

2. Kale and mashed sweet potatoes. Saute kale as above or in your favorite way. Boil and mash sweet potatoes just like you would to make mashed potatoes (with butter and milk if that’s your jam). Add red pepper flakes to mashed sweet potatoes to your taste. A little heat goes really well with the sweetness. Dish up some sweet potatoes, top with a healthy serving of sauteed kale, eat together.

Pro tip:

  1. Sprinkle with pepper jack cheese and let it get a little melty.

3. Kale enchiladas. My go-to enchilada recipe, oddly enough, can be found at Show Me the Curry, and I just add a little sauteed kale in with the beans and cheese when I’m rolling up the enchiladas.

4. Kale Caesar Salad. This one works great with locinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale. De-stem kale, chop into thin strips. Mix with your favorite caesar dressing, chopped hard boiled egg and grated Parmesan cheese.

5. Kale salad honey balsamic dressing. De-stem kale, chop into bite size pieces. Toast some pine nuts or almond slivers (or whatever else kind of nutty crunchiness you have on hand, sunflower seeds would also work well). Chop prunes (yes prunes, they are delicious) into raisin size pieces. Mix together with a honey vinaigrette similar to this one.

Pro tip:

  1. This salad is also delicious served warm. Saute kale, and then add all the fixings.

6. Kale chips. There are about a billion different recipes for kale chips out there, they all essentially boil down to this: Cut kale, add seasoning of choice. Roast until crispy. Be warned, kale chips are delicate and will crumble to dust if you don’t put them straight into your mouth. (Although Deb suggests using kale chip dust as a popcorn topping.) Also, if exposed to air for too long (like over night) they get a bit soggy. So eat immediately.

7. Kale and whatever else you have around fritata. Fritatas are delicious and versatile. I basically put whatever veggies I have in the fridge that might not last another day into my fritatas. Add a ample serving of your favorite cheese, and voila, a protein and veggie packed meal. Kale obviously makes a good add in here, in fact earlier this week we had a caramelized onion, kale and tomato fritata.

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