Kale: protein rich vegetable

Kale was the first of the cabbage family to be cultivated, and is highly esteemed in many cultures around the world.  You can find it as a staple in many Scottish, Irish, Italian and during my travels in East Africa it was served with nearly every meal.  Here in the U.S. the largest consumer of kale is Pizza Hut, but not for consumption, it is used to decorate the salad bars.  Nutritionally, kale is a super veggie, rich in vitamins A, C, B and mineral calcium.  For those seeking protein… pregnant ladies, it has the highest protein content of cultivated vegetables.   So for those of you who are trying to get more greens in your diet, don’t pass these by.  It has a distinct flavor and is incredibly versatile allowing you to interchange it into recipes that call for broccoli, spinach, swiss chard, or collard greens.  To prepare, wash and remove kale from the stem.  We often use the stem by dicing and cooking it a little longer before adding the leaves.  Chop the leaves and lightly steam or saute, if you want to, you can add garlic and onions.  Add sauteed kale into omelets, quiches, casseroles.  Another option to eat raw kale is to massage a few tablespoons of olive oil into the kale for 3-4 minutes, then toss with fresh squeezed lemon juice, and dash of salt and pepper, even crushed red pepper if you like things hot.  Use sliced raw kale in hearty soups, stews, waiting until the end of the cooking time to add the kale.  To store kale, keep cool and hydrated by keeping in a plastic bag in the hydrator drawer.  If you need to store longer, you can freeze it after blanching it for 2 minutes and then packing it in freezer bags.  Another option is to dehydrate it and keep it in a sealed jar in a dry, and cool place.

Here are a few recipe ideas

Massaged Kale Salad

For the salad:
1 large bunch curly green kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped (about 5 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

carrot, grated

Turnips, grated

1 avocado, sliced

green onions, minced
1 teaspoon black or white sesame seeds

For the dressing:
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey, or stevia

In a large bowl, pour olive oil and salt over kale. Gather your children, take off your rings and watch, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to allow your kids to play with their food.  Massage the oil and salt into the kale for 3-4 minutes, until the kale starts to break down and wilt. The kale can benefit from having a half hour of relaxation after its massage, but that isn’t strictly required. Top with carrot, rutabaga, avocado , scallions and sesame seeds. Mix together dressing ingredients and toss with the salad.

Super Easy Pasta with Kale

1 lb small pasta…possibly penne

4 Tablespoons olive oil

green onions diced

4-5 cloves of garlic

1-2 bunches of Kale leavs chopped

1 can of cannelloni beans drained

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese

Bring water to boil, and cook pasta until tender.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil and add onions and garlic cooking until golden brown and tender.  Add kale and saute until wilted.  Drain pasta, and combine onions, garlic, and kale, beans and season with salt and pepper and finish by dusting with Parmesan.  Serves 4

Nutritional information gathered from From Asparagus to Zucchini-a guide to cooking farm-fresh seasonal produce 3rd edition by MACSAC.

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5 Responses to Kale: protein rich vegetable

  1. Steve & Pam Smallwood says:

    Thanks! The recipes look fabulous! Kale is also excellent in green smoothies. 🙂

  2. I was also given this Kale Chips recipe. I haven’t had it yet, so blaze a trail and let us know how it is:

    1. Wash and thoroughly dry leaves.
    2. Remove leaves from stalks and tear into 1 inch pieces.
    3. In a plastic bag toss leaves with 2 T olive oil.
    4. Spread leaves on baking sheet and bake at 375 for 10 minutes turning halfway through – watch them closely because once they start to burn they go really quickly.
    5. After cooked, toss with salt (a good amount even though it is bad for you) and pepper.

    These are super delicious. They are also good with fresh parmesan on them, after they are cooked just toss with some parmesan and it will melt.

    Hint on the Swiss Chard, because I didn’t know how to cook that either…

    It is delicious sautéed with Garlic, Butter, Olive Oil, Lemon and Parmesan.

    Just sauté for 5 minutes or so.

  3. Kerri Cox says:

    We just had kale chips for the first time tonight, and they were amazing! Last year, I tried sauteing kale and it quickly earned a bad reputation in my household. Kale chips revised its status! They kind of melt in your mouth. My 9-year-old son even devoured them.

    We used the same recipe as above, but we put minced garlic in with the olive oil.

    Our favorite chard recipe is chard pie:

    Last night, we used this week’s chard to make chard and black bean quasadillas, which also were delicious.

  4. Pingback: CSA members Scott with Kale chips and Kerri with Swiss chard favorite « Millsap Farms CSA Blog

  5. Asa says:

    Hi, what’s your source for the Pizza Hut-as-biggest-kale-consumer fact? I’ve been trying to track down this story! Thanks.

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