Are you wondering what to do with kale? Do you know how to cook it? Do you serve it to your family? How do you get your kids to eat kale? Well it’s not a vegetable that my children request and kale salad or kale chips haven’t gone down well with them. Which isn’t a surprise. I mean if they don’t even like strawberries or carrots what’s the hope of them eating kale?
I know several adults who claim not to like kale either. Too chewy. Too green. Too 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 types of kale – including curly kale which can have green or purple leaves and cavolo nero – or black cabbage – which is my favourite. It’s widely believed to be extremely good for you and you’ll find it on many health food cafe menus in salads and smoothies.
It also makes great pesto:
What to do with kale
Preparing the kale leaves
Kale needs a little bit of care when preparing it because it can be a bit tough and no-one wants to be chewing a mouthful of kale 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:
Soften the kale leaves
Now you need to make sure the leaves have had a chance to soften. This could be by boiling it (although you’ll lose a lot of its goodness by doing so), stir frying it, roasting it or turning it into chips or marinating it for use in a salad.
Citrus is a good ingredient to use in a marinade as the juices will help the tough fibres to break down. Ideally you should massage the citrusy dressing into the leaves with your hands for 2-3 minutes. If you’re looking for a kale salad recipe see the recipe list below.
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 – and healthy “nice” cream (made with frozen bananas) according to blogger More Than Just Carrots.
Hands down my favourite way to serve up kale to my family though is to make kale 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! It also has more calcium than milk and is a good sort of folate, manganese, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iron, potassium, and phosphorus. (source Wikipedia and Huffington Post)
Fun facts about kale
- There are over 50 varieties of kale.
- Cavolo nero is often called dinosaur kale.
- Farmers have been growing kale for over 6000 years! (source National Kale Day)
- In 2011 three senators in the US state of Vermont introduced a bill to make kale Vermont’s official state vegetable. (source National Geographic)
- Kale is a staple part of the diet in countries as varied as Ireland and Kenya.
Still wondering what to do with kale? Here are 15 great vegetarian kale 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
- Potato, chickpea and kale curry by Lost in Food
- 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
I’ve linked this post up with CookBlogShare hosted by Kirsty at Hijacked by Twins.