50 Things To Do With Kale

Thanks to the zeitgeist and some serious lobbying from such lovely people as Kristen Beddard of The Kale Project, kale is becoming more readily available to Parisian cooks. I myself order it from a grower based in the Somme through my local Ruche qui dit oui! outpost*: it’s the curly kale variety, which he poetically calls chou plume (feather cabbage).

Last time I had the opportunity to cook with kale was a year ago, when I spent a couple of weeks in Canada, and back then I’d made kale chips, and multiple bowls of spelt pasta with goat’s milk ricotta and wilted kale.

But now that I can envision a bright future with lots of kale in it, I want to explore more options. So I’ve turned to Twitter to ask about your latest favorite uses and recipes, and I am now collating my own research with some of your suggestions for easy reference.

I’ll note that all of these recipes can be made interchangeably with any kale variety, be it curly, purple, or (my favorite) dinosaur.

Thanks to all of you who contributed ideas, and naturally, if you have a one of your own that’s not in the list, please feel free to add it in the comments section!

* Read David Lebovitz’s post for more about La Ruche qui dit oui!

Kale pairings

– Kale + garlic
– Kale + ginger
– Kale + fruits, dried or fresh
– Kale + citrus
– Kale + rice
– Kale + legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils…)
– Kale + quinoa
– Kale + avocado
– Kale + nuts or seeds
– Kale + nut butters
– Kale + roasted root vegetables or winter squash
– Kale + mushrooms
– Kale + cheese, especially ricotta, feta, parmesan
– Kale + eggs
– Kale + bacon

Sautéed or braised kale

Stir-fried with garlic, chile flakes, and lemon juice.
Sautéed with shallots or onions, garlic, salt, pepper, in olive oil. Optionally, add capers, or chopped olives, or a touch of vinegar.
Garlicky greens
Curried creamed kale: kale and onions sautéed in a bit of butter with a touch of curry powder and coconut milk.
Braised kale with bacon and cider

Steamed or boiled kale

– Chopped, steamed or boiled briefly, then dressed with a little butter and sea salt.
– Steamed over brown rice with sautéed tempeh, then smothered in tahini sauce.
– Boiled kale à la Zuni Café, served over a toasted slice of bread with a fried egg on top (as described by Molly).
– Steamed then tossed with lemon juice and sea salt.
– Sauté garlic and ginger, add chopped kale (including the spines) to steam, add flax seeds and peanut butter, soy sauce and honey to taste; serve with brown rice.
Kale and mushrooms with creamy polenta

Kale soups

– Add chiffonaded kale to a creamy, spicy, potatoey soup.
– Portuguese caldo verde, or any similar soup with potatoes or white beans, and optionally, some type of smoked sausage.
Almond chicken soup with kale, sweet potatoes, and ginger
Kale and lentil soup

Raw kale salads

– Raw kale salad tip: massage the leaves vigorously with the dressing, and let stand so they will wilt and soften (as demonstrated by Gena in this video from minute 2:30).
Kale salad with apricots and avocado
Kale salad with white miso dressing
– Shredded raw kale salad with anchovy vinaigrette
– Add shredded kale to quinoa with olive oil, goat cheese, roasted golden beets, and red wine vinegar.
Kale salad with roasted winter squash
– Massage coarse salt into the leaves for a few minutes, then rinse well and dry. Shred or tear into bite-size pieces. Add some thinly sliced red onion, slivers of apple, and a handful of currants. Dress with a light or neutral oil and lemon juice, sherry vinegar, or champagne vinegar. A squirt of honey or maple syrup adds a nice touch of sweetness and a pinch of cayenne pepper is great, too.

More kale ideas

Kale chips: wash and dry the kale (preferably dinosaur kale), slice off the spines (save for a stir-fry), cut the leaves into bite-size pieces, dress them with a touch of olive oil and a little salt, spread on a baking sheet without crowding, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes at 175°C / 350°F, until lightly golden.
Kale pesto
– Kale and potato gratin, or just kale gratin
Kale lasagna
Breakfast kale sandwich with bacon and an egg
– Cook quinoa with dried cranberries and add kale at the end so it will lightly steam.
– Add to a frittata.
Kale pizza with onions and chestnuts
Kale and bean bruschetta
Colcannon, to which you can add garlic and white wine.
Kale and quinoa cakes
Kale turnovers
Green juices and smoothies (such as with banana, apple, and ginger)

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  • Susan

    Great post!

    Here is my favorite ever kale recipe, in case you are interested.

  • sillygirl

    There is also a recipe on Orangette’s blog – Boiled Kale with a Fried Egg and Toast – that was the gateway recipe for my husband’s loving kale.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks! It’s the recipe I linked to for the boiled kale à la Zuni Café.

  • http://aladyinfrance.com Lady Jennie

    But where do you even get kale? I was surprised to see this on a French site. Other than the African market (which I’ve heard of but not been to) I’ve never seen it in France.

    But my fave in Manhattan was the sautéed in garlic over brown rice, smothered in tahini (without the tempeh, but why not?)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The Kale Project has a page listing availability.

      • tarivc

        Hi Clotilde,
        Just wanted to verify. Is kale = chou frisé ? If so, I see them in almost every supermarket in the region where I live ( PACA ).

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          In general, the term “chou frisé” is used for this kind of cabbage, which is not the same thing as kale. Kale comes in stalks, a bit like Swiss chard, rather than balled up like most other kinds of cabbages.

  • http://www.kalynskitchen.com Kalyn

    Great post, and thanks for the shout-out for my Kale Lasagna. One of my friends calls me Kale-Lynn!

  • Sirena

    Add kale to your quesadillas :-) along w/cilantro, or epazote.

  • Lydia

    These are great ideas! I put something similar together for our CSA that addresses all manner of cooking greens–I still refer to it often when I am in need of inspiration! Feel free to share.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Wonderful list, thank you!

  • http://cindspectus.wordpress.com Cindie

    Great post, favoriting for later! I love kale but it most often ends up in soup, I need to shake things up a bit.

  • seattle sherpa

    My favorite kale dish is a ‘ceviche’ salad. Slice up any sort of kale into bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice a small sweet onion (walla walla is a good choice) and add to kale in a bowl. Mix the juice of large lemon with some glugs of olive oil, salt, pepper and some cayenne or chilli pepper. Toss with the kale and onion. Cover and let sit in fridge for 45 mins to an hour. Delish! My husband isn’t a huge fan of kale but loves this salad. The great thing with kale too is that it loves cool weather and overwinters nicely in places that don’t have deep frosts so you can have a steady supply from your garden all winter long.

  • BarbaraC

    Thanks to the listing at The Kale Project, I was able to buy kale last Thursday at Marche Bastille. One of my favorite kale recipes is a toasted coconut and kale salad from Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Everyday.”

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll look it up.

  • Jacomien

    Funny to read that kale is somewhat a delicacy in most countries.
    In the Netherlands it’s typically eaten a lot in winter time in kale hash (with potatoes), served with a smoked sausage.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Stamppot, right? I’ve never had it, but it sounds a little bit like the Irish colcannon.

      • http://tlt-thelittlethings.com Denise | TLT

        Yes, it’s very similar! (Let me know if you ever come to Amsterdam, I’d love to show you around)

  • Caroline

    Am I the only one who doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about? When I finally found kale here at the market, I was unbelievably excited to try all those recipes I had bookmarked but hadn’t been able to cook until now. I made chips, used it in soups and salads and tried it as a stir-fry. Everything turned out ok but I certainly didn’t find it as exciting as many people seem to. I guess I was just expecting too much after all the raves..

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m sure you’re not the only one. :) Part of my own excitement is the novelty of it — it’s not every day that you have a new vegetable to play with.

  • http://mrsredbootsfood.blogspot.com/ Annabel (Mrs Redboots)

    In this country, or at least where I grew up, kale is food for cattle, not people! Actually, to be fair, my mother always said she disliked it as the flavour was too strong, but then she likes spinach, which I find too overwhelming, so….. but all the same, I’ll stick to the sorts of brassicas I know I like!

  • http://tlt-thelittlethings.com Denise | TLT

    Thanks for featuring my version of Nothern Spy’s kale salad!
    Here in the Netherlands kale is almost only used in a traditional mash with potatoes (called ‘stamppot’), so it was fun experimenting with new ways. I discovered it’s delicious stir-fried (with some chili and garlic) too and now I’ve got a long list of inspiration, thanks!

  • http://google.com Ruth

    Right this minute I’m making Kale Tabbouleh from the New York Times.

    This was a big hit recently at a potluck with lots of non-Kale eaters!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Sounds great, thanks for pointing us to it!

  • adsum-iam

    My favourite is Asparagus Kale (a heritage variety; I grow it every year, and got my seeds years ago from the Henry Doubleday Research Association, UK). In the early spring we eat its flower buds raw in salads – they are very sweet and crisp. Leaves (and the young ones are very tender) are either chopped and steamed then tossed in butter, salt and pepper, or cut into ribbons and added to stirfrys. I imagine it was named ‘asparagus’ kale because of its great flavour. Highly recommended! Oh – and I also save the seeds from one plant (they can grow huge and yield vast quantities of seed) and sprout them to use in salads.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I hadn’t heard of that variety — great name!

  • Wynne

    My favorite is a kale guacamole salad, with avocado, lemon, red onion, cilantro, and tomato, from the Green Lemonade blog. And green juice: cucumber, kale, celery, broccoli, grapes. Did you know chickens love to eat kale? I guess because of the calcium, but I’m not sure.

  • angie

    Bonjour Clotilde :)

    I’d love to get to meet you if you doing something around here in paris, whether officially or less so.
    Please don’t hesitate to let me/us know.
    à bientôt j’espère!

    angie
    LinkedIn/Twitter: Angela Musci

  • http://sukkeriskeen.blogspot.dk/ Anne

    I love kale – mainly because it means Christmas is just around the corner. In Denmark, we traditionally eat stewed kale for Christmas with ham and caramelled potatoes (I wonder if it is called that? you heat sugar in a pan, when it has the right, brown caramel-colour you add a dollop of butter, stir and then add cold potatoes – heat and stir until all the potatoes are warm and covered in the caramel)
    I also make a salad of thinly shredded kale with apple, pomegranate and roasted nuts. I serve it with a dressing of apple cider vinegar, lemon (if needed) and olive oil

  • Psuke

    I love kale chips. So much so I eat them right off the pan. The whole head’s worth in one go.

    There are lots of kale chip varieties out now, in case one wants to shake that up – including dessert versions like these banana walnut ones. I’ve seen chocolate covered kale chip recipes, too.

  • http://www.perpetually-astonished.com Jessica

    I am glad you’re able to enjoy it more often in Paris now – have you considered growing some in a small pot? A garden is of course better, because it gets so big. But I find it does surprisingly well just out on the deck or on a window sill.

    I had not quite realized how lucky I am
    to have such ready access to Kale here in Vancouver. It grows so easily here, and in the spring the community gardens in my neighborhood are just full to bursting with bright yellow kale flowers.

    The very first idea on your list, stir-fried with garlic, is how we eat Kale almost once a week. It’s my laziest method for adding a substantial serving of greens to dinner. But recently I have been making a lot of green soups, based on the versions in Love Soup by Anna Thomas. For these soups I usually cut the kale into long thing strips, so that I can slurp them almost like noodles :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      A kind reader has just offered to send me seeds of interesting varieties, so I’ll give it a try in the spring! I’m excited. :)

  • http://www.forkandwhisk.com Fork and Whisk

    My wife and I love Kale. We like to juice it along with beets and carrots, also sauted and in soups. Love the list and the ideas. Great post.

  • JC

    We used most of the kale from our CSA this summer to make kale chips because it was fun and we just had too many greens to deal with, but I prefer it cooked well in various stews, etc.

    This fall I have made kale chiffonade to put in soups, but our main course for Thanksgiving will be a baked pumpkin kibbeh with kale, spinach and mushroom stuffing. I can’t wait!

  • http://www.french-alps-tours.com French Alps American

    Thanks for this. I always walk by the Kale in the grocery store and think, “I hear this is good for you but I have no idea how to cook it.” This post was very helpful. Cynthia

  • http://vegologi.blogspot.com/ Rasmus

    I suggest taking a few looks at my kale recipes. Kale is my favourite vegetable and I have come up with quite a few types of dishes. Several soups and salads, but also kale hummus, curry, risotto, pasta dishes and a lot more

    http://translate.google.com/translate?client=tmpg&hl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fvegologi.blogspot.se%2Fsearch%2Flabel%2FGr%25C3%25B6nk%25C3%25A5l&langpair=sv|en

    (Google translate is for from accurate, but hopefully the recipes can be understood anyway… Grönkål = kale, svartkål = dinosaur kale.)

  • Cheryl

    This is the recipe that made me lover of raw kale. It has 4 forks and is equally tasty with feta cheese if you can’t find ricotta salata.

  • http://alessandrazecchini.blogspot.co.nz/ Alessandra

    More than kale I am a big fan of cavolo nero, I got recipes for that if you like :-).

    Ciao
    Alessandra

  • Ursula

    I just finished a bowl of wilted kale with black beans and feta cheese, finished with a drizzle of olive oil. Kind of like a warm salad.

  • http://www.realepicurean.com/ Scott at RealEpicurean

    Kale is super healthy and I get loads of it in our veggie boxes at this time of year.

    Thanks for these ideas!

  • http://www.doozycards.com/ecards/hanukah-e-cards Jackie

    Thank you for this list! My family recently started eating kale, and we have it now at least once a week. My daughter makes kale with brown rice pasta, tahini sauce, sundried tomatoes, garlic and olive oil for us–it’s delicious!

  • Pamela

    How interesting to read these recipes, I have never tried kale but will do so as it is new to our Australian supermarkets and fruiterers

  • DeB

    WE love Cannelini Kale Soup:
    CANNELINI-KALE SOUP

    1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
    1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (1-1/2 cups)
    1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped (3/4 cup)
    1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
    1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
    2 Tbs. tomato paste
    2 large cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
    1 quart homemade or lower-salt vegetable broth
    Two 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    6 oz. Lacinato kale, center ribs removed, leaves chopped (about 4 firmly packed cups)
    1 Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (1×3 inches; optional)
    1-1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Gayle

    My fave thing to do with kale is a Kale Caesar Salad. Make a lemon viniagrette with the juice and zest of a lemon, one anchovy fillet, one egg yolk, a clove of
    minced garlic, a tsp of Dijon mustard and some good olive oil.

    Dress the salad then add some grated cheese and croutons. It’s delicious on a hot summer day, when you don’t feel like cooking, but you can feel virtuous at the same time :)

  • http://www.chasingbawa.com sakura

    I love eating kale cooked with tomato (usually canned), especially in soups and pasta sauces. The kale is robust enough to absorb the sourness of the tomatoes which tones down its bitterness while still retaining its texture. Slightly obsessed!

  • Sam White

    I love love loooove kale! My absolute favorite way to eat it is in soup. I picked up Health on Your Plate, and it had pretty versatile ways to make veggie soups, including tasty kale soup! I’m also dying to try your suggestion for kale, apricot, and avocado salad. Thanks for all the suggestions!!!

  • http://Http://www.wildcraftapothecary.com Eva luna

    Kaleopida! Spanikopita but with kale! One off favorite cooking class recipes, especially for kids who think they hate kale. ;)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That sounds so good, thank you for sharing!

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