A member of the cabbage family, kale comes in two forms: kale, which has smooth leaves, and curly kale, which has crinkly leaves. Curly kale is the most common of the two and is the I’m most easily able to find at my local supermarket. Kale tastes a bit like a strong spinach or a more sour version of broccolini.
Up until recently kale to me had a been a very mysterious and somewhat scary vegetable but now I eat it at least 3 times a week and really love it.
I think the key to cooking kale is making sure its crunchy and is paired with strong flavours like garlic, tamari or ginger.
The easiest way to prepare kale for cooking is to break the leaves from the stalk, and trim away the tough centre stalk. Wash, then shred or chop into small pieces.
Below are the three ways I mostly commonly cook with kale.
Smashed Kale with Garlic, Tamari and Coconut Oil
1/2 bunch of kale; finely chopped and tough middle bits removed
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons tamari
4 crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried herbs or spices of your choice ( I often use cumin seeds or paprika)
Salt and pepper to serve
Heat a large flat saucepan with the coconut oil until melted; then add in your kale, crushed garlic, tamari and herbs. Fry until browning and crunchy. Serve with baked sweet potatoes, veggie burgers or on the bottom of a pizza.
Dukkah Chilli Kale Chips
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of roughly chopped baby kale ( you shouldn’t need to remove the stalks )
5 peeled garlic cubes
2 teaspoons dukkha
1 fresh chill; seeds removed and finely chopped
Salt and pepper to serve
Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
In a large bowl, cover the kale in oil and dukkah until each leave is coated and seasoned. Place the kale chips on a big oven tray and sprinkle with the chilli and whole peeled garlic cloves; bake the leaves for 20 minutes, turning half way through.
These chips are great served with hummus or guacamole or in a big bowl with other types of veggie chips like sweet potato and parsnip.
2 Minute Kale Pesto
100g sliced kale leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
100g pine nuts
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons
2 garlic cloves
3 teaspoons parmesan or cashews (depending on vegan status)
Once you have removed the kale stems and finely chopped the leaves; place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until a thick paste forms. Add in more lemon juice or water if the mixture is too thick to blend. Serve on top of pasta, on toast or on baked potatoes.