Produce Pick: Kale

http://greenlitebites.com/2010/02/07/produce-pick-kale/

KaleConfession time. I have NEVER bought a bunch of Kale ever. Never!

I have no memories of mom buying it. I never ate it growing up. I rarely see it on a restaurant menu. Yet I read about it all the time. The health benefits are countless. According to NutritionData.com Kale is a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. 1 cup chopped (67g) has only 33 calories, 1 g of fiber and 2 g of protein.

That’s a power packed food if I ever saw one! Low calories and high in nutrition. It would make a great recipe “bulker”. Only one problem… how in the WORLD will I get my family on the Kale bandwagon?!?

Well, I have some ideas and I’ve been experimenting all weekend. I’ll be reporting back over the next few weeks with some of these ideas and how they reacted but first I thought I’d ask you about you experience with kale.

Am I the only kale newbie? Where’s all our kale veterans? Any ideas on how to prepare this wonderful leafy green without turning off the picky husband or 4 year old? That’s the key. :)

Can’t wait for my ideas? Check out some these Kale recipes from around the blog-o-sphere…

Update: My first attempt was a success. Click here to see The “OMG I got them to eat Kale and Bulgur without one single complaint” Stuffed Peppers!

Thanks to quinn.anya for the photo!

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36 Comments and 0 Replies

  1. Tina

    My family always grew kale in the garden. I grew up eating it just plainly boiled. As I got older I added some vinegar to it right before eating. Yes, we’re pretty boring, but I like the taste of it. I could eat a ton of it and suspect it would be pretty good for me. The vinegar on it satisfies a craving that I often have for something sour.

  2. Lori

    I haven’t tried it yet, but recently I have seen talk about Kale Chips. You just drizzle a little oil on them and roast them until crisp. I hear they’re great and very crisp like chips!

  3. Rebeca

    My absolute favorite way to eat kale is in the form of chips- Rinse, pat dry, spray with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher or sea salt, and bake in a 350 oven for 10 minutes. They’re crisp, salty, feed a craving for few calories and tons of health.

    I also add bunches of it to hearty stews- my fave is with lentils, sweet potatoes and whatever other veggies I have on hand. In the last 15 minutes I add chopped kale and it add great texture without changing the flavor much!

    Mmmm, now I feel like I need to go buy some!

  4. Melissa

    I love kale. It is so yummy and I feel so good about putting it in my body! We just boil it up a little and add some sauteed garlic and salt. Delish. In stew is yummy too, like PP mentioned. If you can just get your fam to try it once they will be converted! My picky eating niece is a huge fan!

  5. Valerie

    My husband LOVES zuppa toscana from oliva garden. It is not especially low cal. I found a copycat recipe for the soup online and made it much healthier. It uses kale. The version I make isn’t as rich as the OG version but we actually like it better because it isn’t as heavy. I use hot turkey italian sausage, potatoes, kale, onion, hot red pepper flakes, and fat free milk. I add a little lite butter to it too to give it a little more depth. The kale is fab in it!!!!

  6. Danielle

    Kale,,,, I hope you find some really tasty kale recipes I too have never purchased it or cooked it in my life. I look forward to reading your recipes and thanks for the links too!
    Danielle

  7. Pri

    How about some smoothies? I make smoothies with about 1 cup of frozen blueberries, 7-8 baby carrots and some kale in green tea or apple juice.

  8. Sandra

    I love kale in vegetable soups. I add it at the end and let it soften in the boiling soup for about 10-15 min. I had an Italian roommate who used to steam the kale for a few minutes and then sautee it with garlic, salt and pepper until it got very tender. He would use all of the kale, stems included. Absolutely delicious!

  9. Alison

    I LOVE kale, I have 2 recipes that I really like with it, one is a go to lunch as it reheats well and is also nice for weekend lunches Sausage (chicken), bulgur and Kale, this recipe is filling and delicious link to waistingduxie.com I also add red chili flakes if I want to spice it up. I have also made it with barley in place of the bulgur but you need to double the liquid and the cooking time. Finally a soup that is to die for. Farro, Cannelini and Kale yum! link to waistingduxie.com again I have substituted other grains including kamut and it turned out well. Finally I have seen recipes for Kale chips floating around the blogosphere and they look and sound fantastic, salty, crunchy snacks :)

  10. Kim

    I tired it for the first time this past summer (got it in my weekly veggie basket). The basket also came with a recipe for Portuguese kale soup. It has potatoes, sausage, onions, chicken broth and of course kale. Very yummy.

  11. Christie

    I agree with one of the above commentors about kale chips. My husband usually doesn’t like leafy greens but he LOVES kale chips. I wash the kale and spin/pat it dry and tear into chip sized pieces. Then spray with a little olive oil cooking spray, a little salt/pepper, and parmesan cheese. Bake @ 400* for about 10-15 minutes.

  12. Sandra

    If the regular curly leafy kale doesn’t do the trick in your house, see if you can find dinosaur (lacinato) kale. It’s flatter, darker, and to me the flavor seems a little bit more mild. I’ve never seen it in my “regular” grocery stores, but it’s usually at my local Whole Foods, the natural/organic foods stores in the area, and sometimes at the local produce market.

    I like it boiled and then sautéed with garlic and a little bit of hot pepper flakes. That’s good mixed with some pasta, or some cannellini beans, or just in a bowl topped with some parmesan cheese. Yum.

  13. Jami

    I love kale and discovered it in a bad way in the zuppa Toscana from olive garden like Valerie above. I’ve made lighter versions of the soup and just other healthier soups using it. It’s a great filler.

  14. Jaye

    We eat tons of Kale!!! It is one of my favorite foods, it is super cheap, freezes great, and it taste good in many dishes.

    Since my husband is Dutch we normally eat Boerenkool. Which is mash potatoes with Kale, but we add a cooked onion, and leave out the butter and milk. Serve with a spicy sausage and nice mustard. Yummy. I can’t wait to see what your ideas are.

  15. Ang

    I can vouch for the kale with mashed potato recipe. Super yummy.
    If you are feeling adventurous (this is so very good but takes a little time), here is a great recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen,
    Potato Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chile Sauce.
    link to theppk.com

    Yum!

  16. Claudia

    We get kale pretty regularly with our organic produce box (in the winter) and farm CSA (in the summer). Our typical recipe is to cook up kale with some Italian sausage, onions, garlic, and hot pepper flakes, and serve it over pasta, topped with parmesan cheese. Pretty tasty, but we’re always on the hunt for new recipes so I’ll be back to this post for new ideas! I like the mashed-potatoes-with-kale idea! :o)

  17. Andrea

    I used to work at Applebees where the kitchen saying was ” No kale..no sale!” To me it was just a decoration on the plate. I was told and actually believed that humans cannot digest kale. It wasn’t until I moved here to Ireland that I found out that people DO eat it…and it’s delicious!

    If you don’t mind the calories, a great treat is Curly Kale Mash and Egg. Buttery mashed potatoes mixed with (finely chopped and then boiled) kale. Served (rather heaped) in a bowl with a runny fried egg on top. You mix/chop the egg in right before eating and the heat cooks the yolk into the potatoes and makes it all creamy! Sometimes this would be served with some sausages too which I usually opt out of. I’m not a big potato fan, but I love this once or twice a year!

    Can’t wait to see what you do with it Roni!

  18. Brenna

    Yum Kale – one of my new favorites. I make kale chips alot! Also – Kale Soup

    Kale Soup

    1 Pkg Italian Ground Turkey
    1 large can chicken broth
    ½ pint fat free Half & Half
    1 bunch of Kale
    Crushed red pepper

    Brown turkey then add chicken broth and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Bring to boil… chop Kale and add it .. cook 30 min then add Half & Half… simmer for 10 min then serve.

  19. Dawn

    I have recently been fixing beet greens, which sort of like kale I never had as a kid or tried as an adult until recently. My husband and I love them sauteed (for a long time) in olive oil and balsamic vinegar with onions and mushrooms. Sometimes then I will serve the hot greens with cold raw tomatoes. Yummy! Although the kiddos haven’t agreed yet.

  20. Pamela LaRue

    I think you ought to do a video making kale chips. I would love to see how it is done and what it looks like when finishes.

  21. Kelly

    They made this Kale with tofu in a soy sauce like broth, if you have an Asian grocery store nearby its called dashi it made with seaweed and fish flakes/extract. There is a little more to the dashi than what I just said, like some sesame oil and hot chili oil, green onion. Its really simple and really tasty.
    Also if you can’t find dashi (its usually in powder form) you can use any of the other bottles that have a concentrated broth in it. Its usually 1 part of the broth to 3 parts water or something. It may or may not say on the bottle so you can just taste your way through the mixing of the broth and water.

    You can add more veggies to the soup too, like whole mushrooms and a carrot that you slice thinly with a peeler.

  22. Brandy

    My favorite is sauteed kale. You can find a good recipe for it at EatingWell.com (link to eatingwell.com). I also like Kale in my imitation olive garden zuppa toscana. It’s an excellent soup recipe I adapted from a friend on BTL:

    2 italian turkey sausages
    2 c. fat free half and half
    2 cans chicken broth
    kale
    diced red potatoes
    minced garlic
    red pepper flakes
    fat free parm. cheese

    Cook the sausages then add to chicken broth with kale, potatoes, and seasoning. Cook until potatoes are soft. Add the half and half and cheese and warm through.

  23. Twana

    RONI! OMG how funny! I was just about to send you an email about Kale Chips and how you MUST try them! Even my VERY picky 7 year old likes them! Too too too funny :) Glad you are now buying this fantastic veggie!

  24. melinda

    Kale chips even taste good out of the fridge the next day. My kids ate the first batch before I could even get the second started! Great healthy snack.

  25. Patty

    Roni your produce pick couldn’t have been more timely for me. My mother has the start of nutritional related macular degeneration. Her eye Dr. reccomends lots of dark green leafy veggies which she obviously hates or she wouldn’t be facing losing her eyesight. She says she remembers eating kale as a kid, and I told her I’d pass on some of your ideas and your readers ideas. I want this to be a reminder to everyone, eat your green leafy veggies, the alternative later in life isn’t a good one.

  26. suzanne

    i second the lacinato kale suggestion – it’s not as tough as the super-curly kind and it is a beautiful dark green. roni, i know you are a gardener – kale is a super-easy veggie to grow and if you’re a regular kale eater, you can save lots of money because you just cut off some leaves for each meal and the plant keeps growing. good in cold weather too so i kept reaping the bounty until november here in new jersey. it’s great sauteed with garlic and a little olive oil (the blog orangette suggests it as a morning breakfast side with a fried egg, very good). and of course the kale and bean, kale and potato, kale with sausage soup combos that everyone’s recommended are great. bon appetit!

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