People have strong opinions about kale.
Some — including the health & fitness editor of Philadelphia magazine – hate it so much, they are willing to risk their professional cred by publicly confessing, “I Really, Really, Really Hate Kale.”
Some love it so much, they are willing to go up against fast food behemoth Chick-Fil-A for the right to announce their enthusiasm. (Yes, Chick-Fil-A sued an Eat More Kale t-shirt seller).
To quote the late, great John Lennon, All I am saying, is give kale a chance.
Here’s my beloved geeky Youtube star, Dr. Michael Greger, demystifying why kale’s so friggin’ good for you — in 2 minutes! (If you can’t get enough of this guy, who I understand may be an acquired taste, here’s another 4 kale minutes).
Summary: It lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, and boosts immune systems. It’s a Powerball of health.
Because I love you, and I want you to live a long, healthy life, I’m going to help you find your way to Kale Love. If you’re already there, gather ’round with the non-believers, and read on for some of the best kale-inclusive recipes around.
Marla’s World Famous Kale Chips have made kale-believers out of kale-naysayers. They’ll make you wonder why popcorn became the default movie theater food, not kale chips. (Warning: If eating the chips with another human, make sure you ask, “do I have dark green flecks on my teeth?” when you finish).
By now, I bet you’re craving life-changing, kale-affirming soup, salad, stew, and pesto recipes.
I do a lot of belly-aching about New York Times Cooking. I know, I know, you love it. Here’s what I don’t love about it:
- The paywall.
- The lackluster attention to plant-based meals.
- Melissa Clark, Times Cooking’s premier food writer and recipe-developer.
Am I the only woman in America who prays every night before I go to bed that Clark finds it in her heart to shift a modicum of her enthusiasm for chicken-based sheet pan dinners towards plant-based meals?
And yet. Every so often, the paper of record knocks it out of the plant-based park. For me, this was a Grand Slam:
Vegan Caesar Salad with Crisp Chickpeas (yep, paywall!)
If you love a good caesar, but don’t subscribe to Times Cooking, these two recipes rely on many of the same ingredients, are easier, delicious, and free.
More Kale Salads
Kale’s heartiness lends itself to creamy, filling, works-as-a-full-meal salads. But the leaves can be too tough. There’s a solution for that: channel your inner massage therapist, and work it, baby, work it. WASH YOUR HANDS. Then break the kale into bite-size pieces, add a smidgeon of olive oil, and massage it. Voila! Now you’ve got yourself some tender kale. Try out the technique with these:
Soups & Stews
The first time I tasted ribollita (a fancy name for Italian vegetable soup), over twenty years ago, my husband and I were having lunch in a cafe in Florence. After the first spoonful, I said, “I need to stop talking and concentrate on this soup.” (In fact, I wanted to be alone with it, but that I didn’t say). How could such a humble medley of vegetables be so flavorful and bold? The veggies were just-picked fresh. And there was kale. Lots of kale.
These soups and stews are simple, high-protein, use few ingredients, and taste even better as leftovers, as the flavors mingle in your frig overnight:
Pasta! Pasta! Pasta!
My go-to lazy night dinner is pasta. I keep small containers of pesto in my freezer, for the rare occasion I don’t feel like cooking, and add whatever veggies I have on hand, or not. Yes, I do love my basil pesto. But now that I’ve read up on the health benefits of kale, I’m committed to adding these to my pesto rotation.
And for mushroom lovers, there’s this: