These days, kale has come to be known as the queen of greens—one of the richest, most nutritious foods you can eat.
Why not try these five great ways to cook with kale? Incorporating it into your weekly menus will add healthy variety and great good taste to your meals.
Bet you can’t eat just one! If you binge too often on potato chips, why not try this version using baked kale?
1 bunch of kale, washed and thoroughly dried (use a salad spinner for best drying)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt, or use your own favourite seasoned salt.
Use a knife to cut the leaves away from the stems in your bunch of kale and discard the stems. Tear the leaves gently with your fingers to create bite-sized pieces. Pour the olive oil over the kale leaves and toss them with your fingers to coat all the leaves evenly. Sprinkle them with the salt you’ve chosen.
Bake at 175 degrees Centigrade or 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-12 minutes. Check to be certain they don’t burn, as they will finish baking very quickly. The edges should be browned slightly. Remove and serve. This serves a few people…without leftovers.
Cooking kale doesn’t have to be complicated. Just slice up garlic—or squeeze some through a press into a pan sizzling with olive oil. Tear off the leaves and drop them into the pan. As with all kale recipes, discard the stems. Assuming you’ve washed the leaves, they’ll carry a little bit of water into the pan; cover with a lid, and it will be enough water to steam the leaves. Cook just a few minutes until it’s the texture you like.
Kale has about 34 calories per serving and 2.5 grams of protein—good stuff! However, some people, especially the youngsters in your household, may find the taste to be a tad bitter. Try blanching kale before you use it in salads and soups:
4 bunches of kale—if you’re blanching it, you may as well do a huge batch at once!
1 large pot of boiling water
1 large bowl of ice water
1 salad spinner, if you have one, or towels set out on your table
Tear kale into bite-sized pieces and drop them into the boiling water, discarding the stems. Don’t bother changing the water between batches; the deep green colour won’t hurt. Boil the kale for three minutes. Remove the kale with tongs and drop it into the ice water immediately. The ice water is necessary to stop the cooking process, and that’s how blanching occurs. Just imagine the polar bear people that jump into the ice every year on New Year’s Day—that’s how the kale feels at this point. Let it soak in the ice water for a couple minutes. Spin it dry, or if you’re using the towelling, lay the leaves on the towels and pat them dry. Package the kale in plastic freezer bags and freeze it for use as needed.
Lasagne With Kale
Because kale contains the afore-mentioned protein, it has added value in vegetarian dishes. If you’d like to make a lasagne dish without the meat, give this a try:
9-12 pieces of cooked lasagne pasta, enough for three layers of pasta in your baking dish
12 ounces of ricotta cheese
4 ounces of bleu cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 jars of your favourite pasta sauce
8 ounces kale, torn from stems and into pieces, boiled and then put into ice (blanched)
On the bottom of your baking pan, put in about 12 ounces of pasta sauce. Cover this with a layer of lasagne pasta. With the egg, ricotta cheese, bleu cheese, and 1 cup of mozzarella mixed, cover the lasagne pasta with a layer of this cheese mixture. Sprinkle a layer of kale leaves. Repeat layering of sauce, lasagne, cheese mixture, and kale. Finish with a layer of lasagne covered with sauce. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese. This lasagne will have a serious flavour bite with the combined bleu cheese and kale. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 degrees Centigrade for 40 minutes covered with foil. Remove the foil and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Serves 6.
Option: You can add extra flavour to this dish by dicing green peppers and an onion, or slicing up some mushrooms or black olives, and adding them to the layers.
Chop a bunch of kale by folding the leaves together so that the stems can be sliced easily away from the leaves and discarded. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Add your favourite ingredients to make a salad using kale as your main green, but here’s the trick: Kale has a strong taste, and it does well when matched with other strong tastes. Once you’ve got your torn pieces of kale, proceed:
Sprinkle the salad with crumbled blue or feta cheese
Add chopped almonds or pecans
Add Kalamata olives
Add green onion or even yellow onion diced into small pieces
Dress it with a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil—squeeze the juice of 2 lemons, and whisk in enough olive oil to suit your taste. Add pepper and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Many people, especially kids, dislike raw kale in salads because of its characteristic bitter taste and the texture of the stems. Dinosaur kale is new in some areas, its leaves tinged with blue and purple, with the stems much more tender; people are finding it to be a wonderful and nutritious addition to salads. If your supermarket doesn’t have it, ask your produce manager to look into it.