I’ll admit it: It took me awhile to warm up to kale. But, as with most aversions to vegetables, the fault lies entirely in poor preparation. I’ve always loved Brussels sprouts; my mother never boiled them. But I’ve been given stews and soups with over-cooked kale in them, or salads with huge chunks of the bitter, chewy green, and I was convinced that I had finally found a vegetable I didn’t like. Then I discovered my favorite kale recipe.
1. Kale Chips
This is the recipe that made a convert of me. Combining organic kale with a little bit of olive oil and salt leaves you with a crunchy chip that highlights all of the flavor of the vegetable while also giving you that incomparable crunch of a chip. Simply preheat the oven to 400 degrees, wash and dry a head of kale and tear it into small pieces. Place on a mesh rack that can go in the oven. Use an olive oil mister to coat the leaves with a small amount of your favorite olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast the chips in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, until the leaves are crispy and the edges are slightly browned.
2. Sautéed Kale with Garlic
Chips are hardly the only way to appreciate kale. A quick and easy side dish calls for only five ingredients: wash, dry and chop 1 bunch of kale. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a skillet with a lid, and add 2 minced cloves of garlic. Toss in the kale when the garlic becomes fragrant, after about a minute, and stir to coat with oil. Add 1/2 cup of water and cover for five minutes. Remove the lid and allow the water to evaporate. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over the kale before serving.
3. Minestrone with Kale
As long as kale isn’t overcooked, it’s a great addition to soups, like hearty Italian minestrone. Simply chop some up and add it to your favorite minestrone recipe towards the end of the cooking. (If you don’t have one, here’s my favorite minestrone recipe.)
4. Kale Salad with Parmesan
My first kale salad experiencce was overwhelming, because of the large chunks of kale. For this salad, slice 1 bunch of kale into thin ribbons. Thinly slice 1 red onion and toss with the kale. Combine the juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl and toss. Just before serving, toss with 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese.
5. Kale Pasta
If you need to trick someone into trying kale because they’re convinced they hate it, this kale pasta recipe, a verdent winter cousin of pesto, is the perfect jumping off point. It’s also great for kale bunches that have been hanging around the crisper a bit too long, as everything gets puréed into a lovely, velvety sauce.
For more great kale recipes, check out some of our favorites: