Kale is a superfood, being as it is one of the world’s most nutrient-rich foods. It is a member of the cabbage family, alongside broccoli, collards, and cauliflower to name a few. Unfortunately, this hardy dark leafy vegetable is not something that excites the palates. It need not be all that bland or tough if you know how to cook kale.
Kale appeared on dinner plates as early as the Roman times. There are a number of kinds of kale with purple or green leaves, and curly or smooth in shape. A common variety of kale is Scots kale or curly kale. This type has curly, green leaves with a fibrous and hard stem.
In this article about how to cook kale, you’ll read about how to prepare kale for cooking. You will also comprehend how the vegetable merges seamlessly well with a number of vegetables, fruits and meats.
Kale – A Nutrition Powerhouse
Kale is a leader among healthy greens. It has plenty of beneficial compounds that includes some with medicinal properties.
A single cup of uncooked kale has only 33 calories. In addition, this one cup provides 2.5 grams of fiber and close to 3 grams of protein. Zeaxanthin and lutein present in kale give the vegetable its strong dark green color. They also ward against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Folate is beneficial to brain development and you’ll get it from kale. In addition to this B vitamin, kale has vitamins A (206%DV), C (134%DV) and K (684%DV).
The healthy fat called alpha-linolenic acid is also present in kale. So, kale offers a vegetarian source to get Omega-3 fatty acids even if the percentage concentration is less compared to that in fish.
Kale also has several minerals including calcium, potassium, phosphorous zinc, and iron.
From Salads to Burgers, Learning How To Cook Kale is Easy
Unapproachable as it may seem, there are so many different ways you can prepare a kale dish. Before you even start venturing into cooking, remember to choose the right kale. The smaller the kale, the tenderer it will be. The leaves have to be bright and crisp.
After purchase, it is best to consume kale within 3 days. Otherwise, the kale could wilt or turn yellow. However, if you keep the kale inside a bag and refrigerate it, it should last for at least a week. Read on to know 10 wonderful ideas on how to cook kale with recipes included.
To know how to cook curly kale is as simple as boiling it. Before you do, just get rid of any tough stocks and cut some of those bigger leaves to smaller pieces. Keep in boiling water till the pieces becomes soft and wilted down. Drain completely. You can eat as such. If you want some flavor, pour soy sauce.
Steam It – How to cook kale
in a very healthy way? Steam it. Boil water and then add sliced kale leaves with or without some onion, into the steamer. Once ready, take out and toss with some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper, salt and garlic. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also add a few sliced olives.
Mix it with Fruits and other Veggies
The iron content in cooked kale is 15 percent of a man’s required daily value and 6.5 percent of a woman’s. Unfortunately, this vegetable contains iron in a form that the body cannot easily absorb.
It is possible to get more iron from kale by having it with meat or mixing it with a food item rich in Vitamin C. Complete a beef tomato soup with some kale. Alternatively, you could add kale to a green salad which also has grapefruit or orange segments.
Add it to a Salad
Continuing from the previous point, kale can make a great salad ingredient. If you’re looking for a unique Thanksgiving side, why not make a salad with kale, cranberries and almonds.
First get the kale ready. You need 2 bunches. Rinse and dry, and remove the stems and ribs. Thinly slice the leaves crosswise.
Set your oven to 400 degrees preheating. Spread 1/3 cup of raw and sliced almonds evenly on a sheeted pan. Bake till lightly browned.
To make the dressing, whisk together two tablespoons each of orange juice and red wine vinegar, one tablespoon of Dijon mustard, one clove of minced garlic, and one teaspoon of finely chopped shallot. Add salt and pepper.
In a big bowl, toss together kale, 1/3rd cup of dried cranberries, the dressing, and toasted almonds. Allow it to rest for ten minutes. Crumble goat cheese over it and serve.
Put it in soup
Kale merges well into soup preparations because it gets softened from the considerable simmering time. So, it performs the function that any regular green would in a soup. The only difference is that it would contribute a better nutritional profile.
How to cook kale in a soup?
Try the following dairy-free vegetable-kale soup. The spicy chickpeas are a surprise addition.
- 14 ounces of rinsed and drained chickpeas (canned)
- Approximately one medium bunch of curly kale
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup cashews (raw)
- 5 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 cup russet potato (diced)
- 1 cup non-dairy milk(unsweetened and unflavored)
- 11/2 tbsps white wine vinegar
- 1 big onion (diced)
- 4 to 5 cups of vegetable broth
Preparing the roasted spicy chickpeas
Set the oven to 400 degrees centigrade and preheat. Get a parchment-lined baking sheet ready.
Stir the chickpeas, cayenne pepper, ½ tsp salt and 1 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl. You must do it in such a way that the chickpeas are completely coated. Evenly lay out the chickpeas on the baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or till the chickpeas turn crispy. During this time, rearrange them a few times for even cooking.
Preparing the creamy soup
Coat olive oil over the bottom of a big pot. Place the pot over medium heat. Add onion once the oil is hot and sauté till translucent and soft (approximately 5 minutes). Next add garlic and sauté for another one minute. Next comes the potato, cashews and 4 cups of broth. Increase the heat and let the liquid simmer.
Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer further till the potato is really tender. As the mixture simmers, you can start getting the kale ready. Take off the stems and chop the leaves roughly. Remove the soup mixture from the heat. Blend it in batches in a food processor bowl till absolutely smooth.
Pour the blended soup back into the pot and cook over medium heat allowing the liquid to simmer. Introduce the kale leaves not all together but in batches. Just before each batch wilts, add the next batch. Between batches, use a spoon to gently push down the leaves.
Let the soup simmer for approximately 20 minutes or till the kale becomes very tender. Once again blend the soup in batches in a food processor bowl.
Transfer the blended soup back to the pot and add the vinegar and milk. Stir well. If the soup is too thick, you may add one more cup of broth. Sprinkle salt and pepper as per your preference. Do a final simmering of the soup and take off from the heat. Pour into bowls and decorate with the roasted and spicy chickpeas.
This answers your question of how to cook kale crunchy? Making kale chips is as simple as it gets. All you need is a hot oven, a bunch of curly kale, one tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsps vinegar and ½ a tsp of coarse sea salt. This is a healthy snack alternative to deep-fried potato chips.
To begin, discard the thick ribs of the kale after isolating the green leaves from them. Chop the leaves to your preferred size. Take a bowl and toss and massage the leaves with the oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and vinegar. Massaging exemplifies the taste of kale.
Cover a baking sheet or two with parchment and arrange the kale as a single layer over it. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt. Bake till the kale is crunchy (approximately 7 to 10 minutes). Take out and serve right away.
Now that you know how to cook it in the oven for a quick snack, you can next try baking kale for supper. Give this cheesy kale bake a go.
- 1 kilo of potatoes
- 340 g of kale
- some butter
- a splash of milk,
- 225 g of peeled and sliced carrots
- 1 peeled and sliced onion
- 175 g of mature and grated cheddar
Cook the kale in boiling water till done. Boil some saltwater and then cook the potatoes in it. Mash the potatoes and then add milk and butter. Mix in the kale. In another pot of boiling salted water, cook the carrots and onions. Place half of the potato-kale mixture in a baking dish. Top with carrot, onion, and 2/3 of the cheddar cheese. Now spread the remainder of the potato-kale mixture over it. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C.
Sauté the kale for about 5 minutes in sesame soil. For extra punch, add some soy sauce or sesame seeds. For a
meaty stir fry, how about tossing a head of kale with 4 slices of bacon and unrefined salt in some olive oil? You can try experimenting with chicken, beef, turkey and just add in your favorite vegetables and seasoning.
Make a Smoothie Out of It
It is easy to mask the bitterness of kale when you combine it with other fruits. There are so many varieties of smoothies that can be made with kale as an ingredient. Here’s the recipe for a simple but healthy banana-kale smoothie.
- 2 cups kale (chopped)
- Whole banana
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp flax seeds
- ½ cup soy milk (light and unsweetened)
- Introduce all ingredients into a blender and puree till you get a smooth consistency. Serve over ice.
Have it in a burger
It is possible to make a burger with kale, and a tasty one too. Here’s a sample recipe.
- 2 big lacinato kale leaves with ribs removed
- Approximately one cup of corn kernels
- 2 cups of quinoa (cooked)
- 2 eggs (farm fresh)
- A quarter cup of chopped red onions
- A quarter cup of gluten-free all-purpose or whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Sea salt – a generous pinch
- Pepper coarsely ground as per taste
- 2 tbsp of barbecue sauce
For accouterments, you can use cheddar with some seasoning, avocado slices, red onion thinly sliced, one head of lettuce, more barbecue sauce, mustard, ketchup, hot sauce and so on.
Before you start, you need to preheat your oven. Set it at 450 degrees.
Pour the olive oil into a big sauté pan and heat it over a low flame. Add the finely chopped kale, corn kernels, and onions and toss. Season with a twist of pepper and a pinch of salt. Increase the flame to low-medium, and cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Toss the kale-corn mixture with quinoa in a big bowl. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Pour the barbecue sauce, flour and eggs into the burger mixture. Mix everything. Make 6 equal parts from the veggie-burger mixture. Shape the patties and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for just 5 minutes or till the bottom turns golden brown. Turn over and bake till the other side turns golden brown. If you are using a cheese topping, broil till the cheese becomes melty. Once the burger is ready, just assemble it with lettuce and all your favorite toppings. Don’t forget to add extra barbecue sauce.
Raw Kale and Thyroid Function
Any discussion on how to cook kale would be incomplete if it didn’t talk about raw kale. Kale in its raw form provides more nutrition than in its cooked form. However raw kale could negatively impact thyroid function.
Kale contains goitrins, a specific kind of goitrogen. Goitrogens are compounds which can meddle with the thyroid’s working. Specifically, they can reduce the absorption of iodine, a mineral necessary to create thyroid hormones.
Dysfunction of the thyroid can cause weight gain, heart rate irregularities, cold sensitivity and decreased energy levels.
Cooking vegetables usually renders the goitrin releasing enzyme inactive. So it may be better to cook kale rather than have it raw. To retain maximum nutrients, steaming is a smart option.
To sum up, kale is an amazingly healthy food and worth adding to everyone’s diet. With the above tips on how to cook kale, it may soon turn out to be one of your favorite go-to vegetables to make any kind of dish.