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How to Cook Kale: 7 Unique Ways (Plus Recipes You'll Love!)


Kale has been a superfood darling for years, but be honest: how often do you do anything aside from make kale chips or throw it in a salad? We admit we've been getting a bit lackadaisical about our kale preparation, so let's start the season off on the right foot: we've uncovered how to cook kale in 7 different ways, complete with kale recipe ideas to make these new methods easier and even more mouth-watering.

1. Massage It

Green salad recipes, kale

Photo by Oliver Parini, reprinted with permission from “The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook”, The Countryman Press 2015

If you're not massaging your kale salads already, you're about to discover something wonderful. Raw kale tends to be a bit tough, and by massaging it into its dressing, you not only bring out its flavor, you allow it to take on a much more pleasant texture for raw consumption. In this kale salad, the slightly bitter green is paired with grains and sweet-and-sour dried cherries for an exquisite blend of flavors.

2. Powder It


Photo Credit: Greg Grossmeier

Don't worry -- you don't need any sort of modern molecular biology tools to make this powder, just an oven and a food processor. In this popcorn recipe, kale coats your favorite movie snack, but once you've mastered powdered kale, you can use it as a topping for all sorts of things, from your favorite white fish to cooked noodles.

3. Sweeten It


Granola image via Shutterstock

What? Sweet kale? Trust us -- as strange as this kale granola might seem at first glance, this is one for the books. This raw-friendly superfood granola combines kale with far more traditional granola recipes like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, nuts and coconut. The final product can either be baked or dehydrated.

4. Blend It

kale pesto

Photography by Alice Gao

Letting kale take the traditional spot of basil in pesto is one for the books. Earthier kale adds a bolder flavor to the traditional sauce, meaning you can take this kale pesto even more places: put it on pasta, but also put it on fish, spread it on tartines, or use it as a topping for cooked vegetables.

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From the Organic Authority Files

5. Stuff It

stuffed kale

Photo Credit: GlowKitchen

Lest we forget that kale is indeed a cabbage, this recipe treats it like the more traditional brassica heads and stuffs it with a seasoned bulgur and tomato mixture. The resulting stuffed kale is somewhat reminiscent of cabbage rolls, but it's a whole lot greener. You can serve these as a cold dish with guacamole while the weather's still warm, or you can serve them hot and topped with tomato sauce as the weather gets cooler.

6. Sauté It

Images by Kimberley Stakal

Image by Kimberley Stakal

You have to be very careful about over-cooking kale, lest you end up with a too-bitter flavor, not to mention a pungent aroma in your kitchen. Two or three minutes is ideal, as in this kale and butternut squash pasta recipe. The kale is just barely cooked before being tossed with the pasta and squash, making it a strong but not overwhelming addition to the fall dish.

7. Bake It

Winter Kale Casserole With White Beans and Fontina

Image by Kimberly Stakal

The days when casseroles were synonymous with fake ingredients and too much fat are over. This winter kale casserole includes a combo of flavorful ingredients like kale, fontina and rosemary, along with the protein of white beans. The resulting dish is baked in the oven until the cheese is nice and bubbly, making it the perfect vegetarian comfort food for fall and winter evenings.

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Kale image via Shutterstock

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