Kale, whether it's boiled, sautéed, or blended into a smoothie, is the perfect delicious and nutritious green to add to your meal. We'll teach you how to cook kale three different ways, plus how to make kale chips better than any you could ever buy in a store.
Although kale has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years, American cooks seem to just now be taking it seriously as something more than a garnish. It's a good thing they are, because kale has the health advantages of a cruciferous vegetable in lowering cancer risk, and it's an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K as well as a very good source of fiber, potassium, and calcium. Kale is a member of the cabbage family and has a cabbagelike flavor. It thrives in cold climates and is in season in the winter months, although it is available year-round and can be grown in warmer climes as well. Kale leaves are long and frilly, with a tough center stalk, and can vary in color and texture (see varieties below). Kale can be used similarly to spinach. The kale chips (below) are a healthy, salty snack, but we'll also show you how to cook kale three different ways for entrées or sides.
The three main types available in the United States are:
Not every green was created equally. Here's what to look for when choosing what kale to buy.
Kale has often gotten a bad rap because it's sturdier than it looks, which is why preparing kale properly is so important.
In a large saucepan bring a small amount of water (about 2 cups) and a little salt (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) to boiling. Add 12 ounces torn kale. Return to boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Drain.
In a large skillet heat 4 teaspoons olive oil. Add 12 ounces torn dinosaur or curly kale. Cook, covered, for 1 minute. Uncover and cook and stir for 1 minute more or just until wilted. If desired, season the sautéed kale with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
This kale recipe makes a potful and will serve 8 to 10 plus leftovers. For a meatless option, swap in vegetable stock for ham hocks and increase the seasonings.
Preheat oven to 300˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 2 cups torn kale leaves on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp.
To make sure you get the crispy snack you're craving, here's a step-by-step guide to make kale chips.
Cooking kale completely unleashes its possibilities (and releases most of its bitterness). From using kale in soup to roasting kale to making a kale frittata, these recipes prove the green is way more than just salad.