Tag Archives: Kale

Making Kale Sexy: Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut & Sesame Oil

Kale. You know kale, that thick, leafy green that all of the spandex-sporting hotties at Whole Foods frantically fill their shopping carts with as though it were the elixir of life. NEWSFLASH! It kinda is. Though its bulbous leaves and overall aggressive nature make it look like it belongs more in the Jurassic period than on your dinner plate, fear not! Kale’s bad rap has dissipated as modern chefs find sexy new ways to use it. Kale’s strong flavor is tempered in this truly fantastic recipe by the delightful and unexpected addition of toasted coconut and sesame oil. A big thanks to Heidi Swanson and her incredible new book, Super Natural Everyday, for being the bearer of such an awesome flavor combination.
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The Curious Case of the Delicious Raw Kale Salad

An uncommonly good raw kale salad. Cringe-inducing in its intention, but crave-inducing in its execution.

If you’re on a detox kick or simply just want a good, honest salad for lunch that won’t wilt within the hour, consider this option.

Raw Kale, Carrot and Avocado Salad with a Lemon Juice Dressing
Serves 4

1 bunch green kale, thick stems removed and leaves finely chopped
2 cups grated carrots
half of an avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
half of a medium sized red onion, thinly sliced
juice of 1 large lemon, about 2 tablespoons
3/4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce OR Dr. Bragg’s infamous Liquid Amino Acids
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

1.) Toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl save for the sesame seeds. Use the back of a large serving spoon to really work the avocado into the vegetables to create a creamy dressing of sorts.

2.) Set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow for the avocado and lemon juice to soften up the kale. Serve garnished with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Harissa Egg Scramble with Kale & Roasted Eggplant

Two breakfast posts in a row – a sign of lazy, end-of-summer mornings? This egg scramble is hearty, smoky, and immensely satisfying. It’s also a great way to use up stray produce. I made Whole Foods’ Harissa paste before making the eggs and it took only about 30 minutes and was SO worth it. Much better than store-bought. I have a lot of it left over and look forward to all sorts of exciting uses – over veggies, chicken, fish, more eggs…

Harissa Egg Scramble with Kale & Roasted Eggplant

Serves 1

a fourth of a large eggplant, diced
extra-virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 stalks of Lacinato kale or other kale variety, stemmed and sliced
3 eggs
1/2 tablespoon Harissa

1.) Preheat oven to 350. Toss eggplant with a splash of olive oil and season salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes; until tender and browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

2.) In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until frothy and then season with salt and pepper.

2.) Heat a good glug of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium flame. Add kale, sprinkle with a bit of salt, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or so; until wilted. Remove kale from pan and set aside.

3.) Add another glug of olive oil to the pan and heat over medium flame until swirly and hot. Add eggs and cook, undisturbed, until beginning to set. Add eggplant and kale to eggs and scramble things up a bit with your wooden spoon. Cook until eggs set; 30 seconds more. Serve with a 1/2 tablespoon of Harissa, or to taste. I definitely used much more!

Barley Risotto with Cannellini Beans, Arugula, Kale, and Lemon Zest


Have you ever tried a barley risotto? If not, you are in for a treat. As an eternal devotee to the wonders of Italian cuisine, I don’t think it gets much better than this. This is a wondrous dish – hearty, healthy, vibrant, refreshing, green, and amazingly delicious. Easily one of my favorite things that I’ve made so far this year. Trust me, this is a dish that you will come to crave.

You will also love that you can go for seconds (and thirds!) without feeling too much guilt – barley is packed full of fiber (both soluble and insoluble), protein, copper, antioxidants, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E and K. Whew! But most importantly, it tastes SO GOOD. As in, I don’t at all prefer regular Arborio rice-style risotto over barley risotto.

If you haven’t cooked with barley before, be forewarned that it is a very thirsty grain, and the copious amounts of liquid and stirring in this recipe are quite necessary for the perfect end result. Do feel free to change up the beans, greens, and herb combination – the possibilities are endless.

Barley Risotto with Cannellini Beans, Arugula, Kale, and Lemon Zest

The Risotto
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, cut to a 1/4″ dice
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup pearled barley, rinsed
14 oz can cannellini beans
3 packed cups of arugula and kale mix, the argula chopped and the kale cut into 1/4-1/2″ ribbons
1/2 freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
juice of half a lemon, or to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

The Garnishes
zest of 1-2 lemons
handful of chopped arugula
freshly grated cheese

1.) In your widest heavy-bottomed skillet (not nonstick), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, marjoram, and a few pinches of salt, and cook for about 10 minutes; or until onion begins to take on some color and the bottom of the pan is beginning to collect some delicious browned bits. Meanwhile, gently heat your stock in a small saucepan so that it is nice and warm, but not simmering or boiling.

2.) Once the onions are nicely colored, add barley and cook for several minutes more.

2.) Add white wine to deglaze the plan, and scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon.

3.) Now we begin the long (yet immensely satisfying) process of adding the liquid. Add 1 cup of stock and stir until fully incorporated.

4.) Continue adding stock and stirring frequently by 1/2 cup at a time, making sure to let the barley absorb each 1/2 cup before you add the next. If you add too much liquid at a time, the risotto will not come out as intended. You will have between 6 to 8 additions. I used 3 1/2 cups of stock, but you may wish to use more if you prefer a “looser” risotto.

5.) Once all of your stock is absorbed and the barley is pleasant to the bite, season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cheese and butter. Then stir in the beans and greens. Cook until greens are wilted; just a few minutes.

6.) Remove from heat, and stir in the lemon juice. To serve, divide between 4 plates (or 2 if you are habitually hungry). Sprinkle each serving with a bit of chopped arugula, and loads of lemon zest and cheese.

Restorative Sweet Potato & Greens Soup with Ginger

Sweet Potato & Greens Soup with Ginger

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/2 purple saluda onion (if you can’t find one, substitute more yellow onion), chopped
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
3 cloves garlic, chopped
splash of dry red wine
1 large sweet potato, finely diced
5 green onions, light green and white parts only, chopped
1 bunch of fresh spinach (about 9 oz), roughly chopped
1/2 bunch red kale (about 8 oz), roughly chopped
3 tablespoons ginger, chopped
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
freshly ground black pepper
wedge of lemon

1.) In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium low heat. Add onions and 1 teaspoon of salt, stir, and reduce heat to low. Slowly cook for 30 minutes to an hour; until fragrant and caramelized, adding garlic about halfway though.

2.) Meanwhile, heat 4 cups of water, sweet potato, spinach, kale, green onions, the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, and ginger in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add vegetable broth and warm through.

3.) Once onion is caramelized and the greens are done cooking, deglaze the Dutch Oven with a splash of red wine. Then, dump the pots of greens and all of the liquid into the Dutch Oven. Heat through and season with freshly ground black pepper and more salt, if necessary. Serve with a chunk of good, crusty whole wheat bread, a sprinkling of parmesan, and a wedge of lemon.

This recipe was adapted from Love Soup by Anna Thomas. Published by W. W. Norton & Company; September 2009.

Deborah Madison’s White Bean & Black Kale Minestra with Farro

Ask me my favorite chef, and I will abruptly and gleefully shout, “DEB MADISON!” The woman, simply put, is a genius. Though her cookbooks are vegetarian, she has been known to indulge in meat, and thus fully comprehends the full spectrum of flavor that a dish needs. You have never tasted a soup as flavorful as one of Deb’s – they are simply unmatched by anything I’ve ever ordered/made/tasted/dreamt about. The basis of her deep levels of flavor come from her fondness of stocks, or in this recipe’s case, the bean stock composed of the bean’s cooking water as well as dried herbs and “aromatics” as she calls them. That’s another thing I love about her – the way she writes about food is poetic without veering into pretentious territory. Her cookbooks are brimming with her musings – musings that both inform and delight – and that clearly come from a lifelong passion. Her cooking is infectious – and begs you to push yourself in your own cooking.

Oh, and the next time someone rips on Italian food and groans about how unhealthy it is, whip out this recipe, ok? Cannellini beans, farro, and kale – all staples of the Italian kitchen – convene in this wondrous pot of nutritional, not to mention culinary, delight. Literally, one of the most flavorful, satisfying soups you’ll ever make.

Cannellini Bean & Kale Soup with Farro

1 1/4 cup dried cannellini beans, rinsed and soaked
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
2 bay leaves
3 large parsley branches
1 1/4 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup farro, thoroughly rinsed and soaked for at least 1 hour
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups yellow onion, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
A few tablespoons of red wine
6 cups kale leaves, torn into bite size pieces
14 oz can diced tomatoes
3 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
freshly ground black pepper (about 1 teaspoon should suffice)

1.) Drain beans and place them in a large pot with 11 cups of water, garlic, sage, bay leaves, and parsley branches. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes, then add 2 teaspoons salt. Continue cooking until beans are tender; about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how old your beans are. When beans are done, remove from heat, pick out garlic and parsley branches, and leave beans sitting in their liquid.

2.) Drain beans by placing colander atop a large bowl to catch their liquid. Remove parsley branches.

3.) Grab your trusty dutch oven and heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes; until soft and beginning to get all brown, fragrant, and delicious. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and herbs. Cook for another 15 minutes or so, stirring frequently and reducing the heat slightly, if necessary, to ensure that nothing burns.

4.) Work the tomato paste into the the vegetable mixture and continue stirring until the bottom of the pan becomes glossy and brown. Add wine to deglaze the pan and use your wooden spoon to scrape up all the yummy browned bits.

5.) Drain the farro and add it to the pot along with the kale, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pot of the beans and their liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until farro is tender; about 30 minutes.

6.) Season with more salt, if necessary, and pepper. Serve with a chunk of rustic, peasanty bread.

This recipe was adapted from Vegetable Soups by the grand dame of soups, Deborah Madison. Published by Broadway Books; February 2006.

Kale with Garlic & Red Pepper Flakes

For some inexplicable reason, a huge number of people have a strong aversion to kale. I think it’s all mental, y’all! Kale is DELICIOUS, and not to mention, a staple in those wondrous Italian kitchens.

For example, Cowboy will, indeed, actually consume kale and enjoy it when it is safely ensconced in a soup or stew of sorts – it’s true identity masked.

My theory behind kale’s bad rap is this – it has become so intrinsically linked to the eating-healthfully-just-for-the-sake-of-being-healthy school of eating thought that it has become viewed as a total health food – only to be consumed to fulfill your daily vitamin requirement or whatever. So sad… more for me!!!

This is the most traditional (and tasty) preparation of kale – garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Beautiful.

Kale with Garlic & Red Pepper Flakes

1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite size pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons water
7 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of fine grain sea salt
pinch of red pepper flakes

1.) Heat oil over medium heat in a large saute pan that has a lid.

2.) Add garlic, saute for 30 seconds, and then add kale and water.

3.) Give the kale a good stir, coating it with the oil and water. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until the kale has wilted, about 5 minutes.

4.) Once kale has wilted, turn off heat, and stir in a big pinch of red pepper flakes and salt.

5.) Using tongs, remove from pan, leaving behind any extra water or oil, and serve immediately.