Are you wondering what to do with kale? Do you know how to cook it? Do you serve it to your family? And how on earth do you get your kids to eat it?
Kale isn't a vegetable that my children request and kale salad or crisps haven't gone down well with them. Which isn't a surprise.
I know several adults who claim not to like it either.
Too chewy. Very green. A bit boring.
But it's worth persisting with because kale (sometimes called leaf cabbage) is packed full of nutrients (see more below) especially if you know how to cook or prepare it properly.
What is kale?
Kale is a leafy green vegetable that is a member of the cabbage family.
There are many different varieties including:
- curly, which can have green or purple leaves
- cavolo nero or black cabbage, which is my favourite.
This leafy green veg is widely believed to be extremely good for you. You'll find it on many health food cafe menus in salads and smoothies.
It also makes great pesto.
What to do with kale
1. Preparing the leaves
Kale needs a little bit of care when preparing it because it can be a bit tough. No-one wants to be chewing a single mouthful for minutes at a time.
First cut out the thick stem from the centre of the leaves with a sharp knife. Once you've done this wash and shred the leaves.
With the thick stem cut out it'll look a little bit like this:
2. Soften the leaves
Now you need to make sure the leaves have had a chance to soften.
This could be by:
- boiling them (although you'll lose a lot of its goodness by doing so)
- stir frying
- turning them into crisps
- marinating for use in a salad.
Citrus is a good ingredient to use in a marinade as the juices will help the tough fibres in the leaves to break down. Ideally you should massage the citrusy dressing into the leaves with your hands for 2-3 minutes.
3. Other ways to serve
Another option is to blend it. I sometimes chuck a handful in with a curry sauce or pasta sauce and blend it up.
You can also add it to smoothies - although we're a (long) way off of the kids enjoying green smoothies. Or even healthy "nice" cream (made with frozen bananas) according to blogger More Than Just Carrots.
Hands down my favourite way to serve kale to my family though is to make pesto.
I've recently updated my kale pesto recipe to include a vegan alternative.
It's also good in a simple bean soup like this borlotti bean and vegetable soup - just sub the spinach for kale (removing the stem first).
Why kale is good for you
Kale is a good source of many vitamins, including A, C, B6 and E. In fact it has more vitamin C, gram for gram than an orange!
- There are over 50 varieties.
- Cavolo nero is often called dinosaur kale.
- Farmers have been growing it for over 6000 years! (source National Kale Day)
- In 2011 three senators in the US state of Vermont introduced a bill to make it Vermont's official state vegetable. (source National Geographic)
- This leafy green vegetable is a staple part of the diet in countries as varied as Ireland and Kenya.
Still wondering what to make? Here are 15 great recipes:
- Kale pesto by Sneaky Veg
- Dehydrated cheese and onion kale chips by Planet Veggie
- Courgette, kale and pea souper by The Intolerant Gourmand
- Beetroot, kale and orange salad by Easy Peasy Foodie
- Massaged kale by Feeding Bytes
- Kale soup by Fab Food 4 All
- Winter kale salad by Hijacked by Twins
- Kale and apple cake by Veggie Desserts
- Leek pancakes with spinach, kale and ricotta by Searching for Spice
- Raw green smoothie by Gluten Free Alchemist
- Asian kale salad with ginger dressing by Rough Measures
- Leek and kale soup by Elsa Eats
- Warm kale, pomegranate and avocado salad by Free From Farmhouse
- Kale and red onion dhal with buckwheat by Easy Peasy Foodie
- Bubble and squeak cakes
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