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Cooking with Kale

Cooking with Kale

How to best use this trendy food.


Kale is all the rage and a huge food trend. From kale chips to kale salads, it is showing up in convenience stores as a snack and on menus at the finest restaurants. It has tremendous health benefits as a green leafy vegetable with lots of vitamins and great taste too. I’ve umped on board and have been testing and tasting kale recipes for weeks. I like to use the big green leaves in salads (remove the stem and core) and the smaller kale leaves in soups and sautéed like spinach. Here are a few recipes that I am making over and over again.

Kale Pesto

Kale PestoMakes 1 cup

I like to us this on small red potatoes and roast them for about 45 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven. Also, drizzle it oven roasted asparagus or green beans. It makes for a beautiful presentation if you layer quinoa, roasted asparagus and then drizzle it with the kale pesto.

  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (OMIT if making pareve)
  • 2 tablespoons water

Remove the ribs and stems from the kale leaves. Rinse and then add the leaves to a pot with 1/4 cup of water over medium heat. Cover and simmer until kale is tender but can still hold its shape, about 4 minutes. Drain excess water from the kale leaves, and add to the bowl of a food processor.

Combine the kale, almonds, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until almonds are finely ground. Start by slowly drizzling in the olive oil, and process until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a bowl, and fold in the grated Parmesan cheese. If consistency is too thick, loosen with a tablespoon or two of water. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Kale Chips

Kale ChipsServes 4

  • 1 bunch kale, rinsed and dried well (about 10 ounces)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Any seasonings you like, crushed red pepper, onion powder, seasoning salt, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, etc.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove and discard the thick stems of the kale and tear the leaves into large pieces. Spread the leaves in a single layer on 2 large cookie sheets. Spray the leaves with nonstick cooking spray to coat lightly. Sprinkle with salt and any seasoning of your choice. Bake just until the kale chips are crisp but not browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets on wire racks.

Lentil, Kosher Sausage, and Kale Soup

Lentil, Kosher Sausage, and Kale SoupServes 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound kosher Italian sausage, or kielbasa, chopped or sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup dry wine (red or white)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 cups brown lentils

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, with a wooden spoon, until browned. Add the garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, carrots, onions and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the kale and nutmeg. Add the wine to deglaze the pot, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Stir in the chicken stock and 2 cups water and bring to boil (for thicker soup, use 2 cups less liquid). Stir in the lentils and cook at a low, bubbly simmer until the lentils are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the rosemary stems and bay leaves. Ladle the soup into bowls

Kale in Ginger-Sesame Vinaigrette

Kale in Ginger-Sesame VinaigretteServes 4

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 pounds Tuscan kale, stems discarded and leaves choppedKosher salt

Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a medium bowl, stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and sesame seeds. In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the kale until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and cool the kale in the ice bath. Drain well and squeeze dry. Add the kale to the vinaigrette, toss to coat and season with salt.

Quinoa, Kale, and Avocado Salad

Quinoa, Kale, and Avocado SaladServes 4

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Zest from 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 1 large avocado, seeded, peeled and diced

Combine the quinoa, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, and after the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan.

Gently simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Keeping the pan covered, let it stand for 5 minutes, or until the remaining water is absorbed.

Remove the lid and gently fluff the quinoa. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the cooked quinoa, kale and avocado. Toss with the dressing, and serve at room temperature or chilled.

Kale Caesar Salad

Kale Caesar SaladServes 8

  • 5 cups shredded baby kale
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestshire sauce
  • 1 egg yolk (coddle the egg if contamination is a problem with your eggs, use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. To coddle the egg: place raw egg in boiling water for 30 seconds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Pinch kosher salt

For the salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine the kale, radishes and fennel. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, zest and a pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside.

For the dressing: Whisk together a pinch of kosher salt, garlic, worcestshire, egg yolk, and olive oil. Set aside. Add a pinch of salt to a large wooden salad bowl..

Add the kale mixture to the dressing and toss to coat.

For the topping: In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs. Lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley, and salt. Then sprinkle on top of the salad.

July 12, 2014

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Visitor Comments: 8

(7) G. Berry, July 20, 2014 4:39 AM

Best cooked kale

Large bunch of kale leaves, washed and checked for bugs
3 - 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 - 2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. Maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste

Remove hard stems from kale (you can save the stems for another time - I love juicing them with carrots, apple, beets and ginger)
In large frying or saute pan, heat oil and saute garlic til lightly browned. Add kale and stir fry. When reduced and it turns a bright green, add the syrup, salt and pepper to taste. Stir so it's mixed in evenly. Cover pan and cook an additional 2 minutes. Serve immediately over cooked quinoa or Trader Joe's lemon noodles. YUM.

(6) Shoshana, July 18, 2014 12:44 PM


Also, for picky eaters (I have a few of those in the family) you can add Kale to fruit smoothies. It will be green but it is very tasty, nutritious and compromising. My husband and youngest daughter add it to strawberry and banana smoothies with yogurt.

(5) Zvi, July 17, 2014 6:42 PM


I believe kale is mangold in Hebrew and coincidentally I just bought some today !
The only comment I have is that it looks like you don't use the white stalk. It may not be particularly nutritious, but it's crispy and fun to chew.

(4) Gitta Bixenspanner n.d., July 17, 2014 6:09 PM

Kale and bugs

These recipes sound very good. Just a word of caution; regular kale is impossible to check, as they hide in the curls, as attested by comment 1 but there are flatter types of kale, that are not so curly so easier to check.
Nutritionally speaking, when eating kale raw it needs to be well massaged to break it down for easier absorption. It is too tough to eat just plain. Cooking it is a good idea.
Happy kaling!

(3) Mary, July 17, 2014 5:35 PM

Cooking with Kale

Being from Memphis TN., I've always miedf Kale with Mustard Greens and turnip greens (soul food) --Got to try these. Hope mine looks like. Thanks.

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