You’ve seen that hefty green veggie on health food blogs everywhere.
Maybe you bought a bunch, brought it home, and served it up like a salad. Then you tried to chew…and chew…and chew through the coarse, bitter stems and rough leaves of the deep green leaves. And were left wondering: how does anyone even eat kale anyway?
With so many people raving about kale, there’s got to be something to the hype. And truly, there is.
Kale is a versatile, delicious way to enjoy more nutrient-packed leafy greens. For vegan and vegetarian diets, it offers a lovely richness to the palate. For everyone else, it’s a fun alternative to traditional lettuces.
But you’ve got to know a few tricks to make kale actually edible. So I’ve rounded up my favorite prep tips and created three exclusive recipes, designed for beginners.
That’s the three best ways to cook kale so tasty, they’ll turn you into a kale fan forever!
Sweeten up your kale: Dark Chocolate Kale Brownies recipe
Tip #1: Massage it
Though you can eat kale raw, there are some simple techniques that can tenderize its naturally tough texture.
For starters, always remove the stem and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Then, place it in a bowl, drizzle with lemon juice, and “massage” or “knead” the kale for about two minutes to tenderize. For extra flavor, massage a bit of melted coconut oil, honey, and salt, too.
Massaging makes all the difference, turning the leaves into buttery bites with a soft crunch.
Brooke’s note: Baby kale is much more fragile than dino, curly, or Tuscan kale, and doesn’t stand up well to massaging.
Kale & Sweet Potato Bliss Bowl
Yield: 2 bowls
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
• 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
• 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
• 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
• 3-4 cups kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1 Tablespoon honey
• Salt and pepper
• 1/2 cup raw or crunchy chickpeas (optional)
• 1/4 cup pomegranate arils (optional)
1. In a large skillet, melt 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sweet potato. Salt and pepper. Cook until sweet potatoes are golden and easily pierced with a fork.
2. While sweet potatoes are cooking, drizzle kale with lemon, 1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil, honey, and a pinch of salt. Massage kale with hands until tender, about 1-2 minutes.
3. Serve kale topped with sweet potatoes and chickpeas. Garnish, if desired, with pomegranate arils.
Tip #2: Bake it
If you’re totally new to kale and have a hard time with greens in general, perhaps the best way to enjoy it is to stick it in the oven.
Kale leaves can be drizzled with olive oil and roasted into tasty “chips.” Or, sprinkle chopped kale on your pizza, top with with cheese and sausage, bake, and enjoy this insanely delicious flavor combo.
Sausage & Kale Pizza
Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
• 1/4 pound Italian sausage
• 1 refrigerated pizza dough
• 1/2 cup prepared alfredo sauce
• 2 cups chopped kale, loosely packed
• 2 cups shredded provolone and/or mozzarella cheese
• Fresh-ground pepper
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large skillet, crumble and brown sausage.
3. Unroll dough on a baking sheet or pizza stone. Spread alfredo sauce on top. Sprinkle kale on top. Cover with shredded cheese, top with sausage. Sprinkle with pepper.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and edges of crust are golden brown. Allow to cool slightly, before serving.
Tip #3: Blend it
If those big, green kale leaves are hard to gnaw through, toss ‘em in the blender and make a tasty tropical smoothie.
When paired with creamy bananas, spicy mango, and golden honey, you won’t even notice the kale. This is an especially easy way to introduce kids to greens. Blend, serve and enjoy!
Tropical Kale Smoothie
Yield: 2-4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
• 1 cup kale
• 16 ounces frozen tropical fruit mix
• 2-4 Tablespoons honey
• 1/2 ripe banana
• 1 orange, peeled
• 2 cups water
1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.