Over the years, kale has become a super food across the world. But the bitter truth is not many of us don’t like eating kale raw. Thanks to the varieties of recipes on the Internet, kale can be eaten in different ways that makes it healthier and tastier. Be it tossed in salad, blended in smoothies or sautéed with garlic, you can cook kale in whichever of these ways depending on your taste.
If you don’t know how to cook kale but want to eat healthy greens, this blog is a must read for you. We have shared the different ways of cooking and eating kale that will help you consume the healthy nutrients of the greens, keeping your taste buds happy.
How to cook kale
On a stove-top, kale can be prepared in two different ways – sautéed or steamed. Both the ways brings a different taste of the greens. If you like to have a mild dish with flavor, steam it. If you want it crispy, go with the quick sauté method.
By steaming kale, you can keep it moist while tenderizing it. When you cook kale covered on a stove-top for almost 3-5 minutes, you will realize the super-heated steam changes the dark green kale into bright green in appearance.
The leaves wilt down decreasing almost 40% in volume, SO, it is important to note the number of servings you want for meal while cooking steamed kale. If you need 5 servings with one cup for each serving, chop and add 8 cups of kale to the recipe.
Preparing steamed kale is a quick recipe, which is slightly salty in taste. You can also top it with black pepper. If you have leftover kale from the last night dinner, breakfast scramble it for a healthy morning meal.
Kala leaves are quite large, so tossing it in hot olive oil in a large wok or skillet is a good idea. Unlike steaming, sautéed kale gives it toasted flavors as it is dry-heated.
Heat a pan with little oil over medium flame before adding the kale leaves. Stir it occasionally for 3-5 minutes to see the leaves turning light brown in color. When it starts to wilt, season it with salt and black pepper. If you don’t, the moisture from the leaves will dry out.
You can also add minced garlic or garnish it with fresh aged cheese, shredded properly. This works as a delicious side dish with lunch or dinner.
How to select and store kale
When you to the supermarket to buy kale, you should select the bundle with fresh green leaves, vibrant in color. It should not be wilted ot yellow in color. It’s stem should be intact and crisp. Clean the leaves before cooking and store it properly in a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator. This way, the greens stay fresh for a week.
How to cut kale?
Even before knowing how to cook kale, you must know the right way to cut kale as the leaves are robust. Kales are available in different varieties like red, curly and Tuscan kale (lacinato kale). These kinds of kale have a large fibrous stem in the middle. Its ends are wide and difficult to eat. Thankfully, it is easy to remove the stem. There are two ways of cutting off the wide stem:
- Lay it flat on your cutting board and cut along the sides, separating the soft green leaves.
- Fold the leaf in half and cut off the stem.
Once you have removed the stem, you can cut the leaves in small pieces.
Why should you massage kale?
Raw kale doesn’t have much taste, but on chopping, chewing or massaging the greens, a chemical reaction takes place. When its cell membranes are ruptured physically, it causes bitter and pungent notes, rising from isothiocyanates, the sulphur-containing compounds of the vegetable.
As per Cooks Illustrated, isocyanates are from when sulfurous compounds glucosinolates and myrosinase enzyme interact. If you are worried about the bitterness of massaged kale in your salad, you can simply wash the greens before eating.
How to cook kale healthier and tastier?
Season it with garlic
You need not keep kale bland to have it healthy. You can season it with minced garlic or garlic powder to make it taste better. Other seasoning that ca be used while cooking kale include red chili flakes, chili powder, black pepper or curry powder. It tastes amazing! You can even add some kosher salt to the dish.
Use less olive oil
If you want to keep the kale strictly healthy, you can reduce the amount of olive oil in the dish. If you are using a small skillet, 1-2tspns of olive oil will be enough for the preparation. After adding kale to the sautéed garlic, add 2tspns of water to make it wilt properly.
Bake it for a crispier taste
You can make crispy kale chips in an oven for a tastier version of the greens. Spread the chopped kale on a baking tray/sheet, season it with salt and black pepper and put it in the oven, pre-heated at 400°. Bake it for 4-8 minutes. Once it gets crispy and a bit charred at the edges, take it out and let it get cold. Your healthy crispy kale chips are ready to serve.
Make a tastier kale salad
For a tasty kale salad, it is important to massage kale before use. It might sound a bit weird, but it makes the dish easier, quicker and tastier. Chop kale leaves in small pieces and rub it with your fingers while adding to the salad. Wash the kale before adding to make it tender and reduce its bitterness. It is also easier to chew and digest. A great appetizer indeed!
Here’s a quick kale salad recipe for you:
Kale confetti salad:
- 3 cups Baby Kale
- 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- Salt and black pepper, as needed
- 1/4 cups of toasted Pine nuts
- 1/2 cups Berries like raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries
How to prepare:
Massage lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper into finely chopped kale. Keep it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Add berries and pine nuts before serving.
Pair kale with nuts
When to cook it right, kale is a vegetable you will enjoy eating. Look above the traditional sautéed kale, garlic and lemon juice recipe and try pairing it with nuts. Boil the chopped kale for a few minutes and add panfried walnuts to add an exciting flavor.
Try eating dinosaur kale
Originally called Lacinato kale, a large number of people call it as dinosaur kale. The reason is still unknown. Well, there might be some similarity between the skin of the greens and the skin of dinosaurs, who knows!
What’s important to know is dinosaur kale or lacinato kale is tenderer and tastes better than regular kale. Moreover, it is less difficult to chop. For an Asian flavor, you can a little tamarind to the dish.
Add it to your soup
Kale is a perfect ingredient in a healthy soup. Why? It is because the simmering time of the soup makes the greens tender and makes it suitable for the dish like any other green leafy vegetable. However, it is has more nutrients.
You can try making white bean, quinoa and kale stew for a tasty and healthy dinner.
Use it with a grain, a green and a bean
We are talking about a delicious oatmeal recipe, using an alliterated and rhyming term. We know you noticed it already.
Kale (lacinato kale) is a perfect green, you can brown rice as grain and tempeh as the bean. Top the mix with peanut sauce or spicy almond sauce for added flavor.
Add kale to your burger
You might be shocked to hear this, but it’s true and works well. Many burger and fast food joints add kale to the burger and it tastes great. We have got you the recipe of a healthy kale burger at the end of this blog.
Prepare a green smoothie
If you like eating smoothies and look forward to a healthy green smoothie, you can add kale in palce of the regular greens you use. Just add kale leaves (if chopped, great!) to a high-speed blender and add it to the smoothie for a healthy drink. If you have never tried a green smoothie, it is time you use kale smartly.
Note: A regular blender might not help breaking the kale leaves
Use it as a burrito shell
For this, other greens might not be a good option. Lavinato kale or dinosaur kale have flat leaves that will make for a great burrito shell, preserving the Mexican goodness of the dish without much ado. It doesn’t have to be necessarily a burrito. You can use it for any other kinds of wraps too.
Simply sauté it
We know what we said about the traditional, boring ways of cooking kale earlier, but there’s no harm having a simple side dish with dinner. Saute a couple of garlic cloves in olive oil and add soy sauce or lemon juice for a fantastic taste. It is an east and fast way of cooking kale. You can prepare this simple recipe once or twice a week.
If you like having softer kale, add some water and cover the skillet for a few minutes before you add soy sauce or lemon juice.
Kale with Garlic and Olive Oil
- 10 oz raw kale leaves or raw greens of choice
- 1 cup raw diced onion
- 1 tsp minced garlic or garlic powder to taste
- salt to taste (around 1/4 tsp)
- oil or oil spray of your choice
- Heat a large saute pan on medium heat and add some oil
- Cook the diced onion and minced garlic
- Stir until onion and garlic turn brown
- Add the chopped kale leaves (add a quantity that fits in the pan)
- Let it cook until it stats wilting, add the rest of the kale.
- Stir it regularly to avoid sticking
- When the greens looks well-wilted and onions are completely brown, turn off the stove
- Season it with garlic powder and salt
Note: You can add any other spices of your choice for taste, like ground ginger or chili powder. You can also use sesame oil to sauté it and add some sesame seeds to it.
Kale with apples, berries and almonds
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
- 1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbsp. minced shallot
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large bunches of kale, ribs removed and roughly chopped
- 1 apple, thinly sliced
- 1/2 c. dried cherries
- 1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds
- 1/4 c. crumbled feta
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk olive oil, orange juice, red wine vinegar and shallot. Season the mix with salt and pepper
- Tale a large bowl and toss kale, almonds, cherries and apples
- Now toss the dressing into the mix and top with feta before serving
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 bunch of finely chopped kale
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 can rinsed and drained white beans
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- cooking spray of your choice
- Pre-heat your oven at 350° F
- Saute garlic, red chilli flakes, kale and salt in olive oil for about 7 minutes
- Mash the ebans with a fork until it turns smooth
- Add cooked oats and kale to the mashed beans.
- Stir properly, until it holds together
- Make 4 patties
- Use cooking spray on a baking sheet and place the patties on it
- Bake it for 30 minutes. Flip it once while it’s baking
- Serve immediately or keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.
Note: You can also freeze it for almost 6 months.
The Bottom Line
Kale is a healthy green often ignored for its bitter and raw taste. But, now that you know how to cook kale, you can have the different varieties of the vegetable and enjoy its delicious taste. Tell us in the comments, which of these kale recipes did you like the most.