Kale is a member of the brassica family (which includes other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprout). It was very popular in ancient Rome and remains a favorite in many European countries; we’re just starting to catch on in North America. Kale has a distinct taste and can often be substituted for other greens or broccoli in recipes.
Kale is very cold-tolerant. It is loaded with vitamins A, B, C, and calcium, and is also very high in protein. Kale can be eaten raw, lightly cooked, or braised.
Smaller leaves can be used whole. With larger leaves, it is best to remove the center ribs before use (this can be achieved by simply cutting the leaves away from the stem with a knife).
Kale can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Preferably, it will be kept in the hydrator drawer. It can also be wrapped in a damp towel or plastic bag. Leaves will wilt if they dry out.
Kale can also be frozen for long-term storage. To do so, wash and de-stem leaves, and then blanch for 2 minutes. Next, rinse the leaves in cold water to stop cooking, drain, and put into airtight containers (e.g., freezer bags).
1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry kale leaves. Remove leaves from stems, and cut or tear leaves into bite size pieces. In a bowl (or on a baking sheet), toss kale leaves with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto baking sheet and bake for approx. 10 minutes until crispy (edges should brown slightly but not burn). Feel free to experiment with additional spices (we like paprika and red pepper flakes).
Chelsea’s Adaptable Sautéed Kale
2 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic (or substitute w/ garlic scapes!)
1 bunch kale (stems removed, leaves cut/torn into 2-3 in. pieces)
½ block tofu (or protein/meat of choice)
Approx. 2 T soy sauce (to taste)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Sesame or chia seeds (optional)
Sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 1-2 min. Remove stems from kale and cut or tear leaves into 2-3 in. pieces. Add tofu squares and cook for approx. 5-7 min, turning as they brown. Add kale and cook, stirring often, for about 3 min. Add soy sauce and simmer for a minute; salt and pepper to taste (note: if your soy sauce is not low sodium, be wary of adding much extra salt). If desired, garnish with sesame or chia seeds. This recipe is just a base – feel free to adapt as desired (e.g., swap sausage or chicken pieces for tofu, use half kale / half chard, add spices such as red pepper flakes).
Kale and Potato Gratin
Makes 6-8 servings
1 ½ pounds thin-skinned boiling potatoes such as red potatoes
1 bunch kale
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Between 1/3 and 2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional) or 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as thyme or sage
Preheat oven to 350° F. Boil a pot of water (large enough for the potatoes). Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath. Slice potatoes 1/4-inch-thick and set aside. Remove and discard the spines from the kale, and chop the leaves in ½-inch-thick ribbons by stacking leaves and slicing in the direction of the veins. When the water is boiling, add a dash of salt and add the potatoes; cook for 2-3 minutes, until tender but not cooked through. Drain and submerge in the ice bath to stop cooking. Drain again, put potatoes on a dish towel, and blot. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the kale and aggressively rub the olive oil mixture into the leaves. Next, alternately layer the kale and potatoes with a sprinkling of bread crumbs and Parmesan in a 9”x12” baking dish. (Vegan adaptation: If you prefer to exclude the Parmesan, double bread crumbs to 2/3 cup. Rub the olive oil and the minced herbs into the breadcrumbs with your fingers. Proceed as noted above, layering bread crumbs between the kale and potatoes.) Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes; remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes, until the top is crispy. (Original recipe here.)