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How to enjoy Kale?

January 16, 2012

This fall I planted some Kale (Winterbor from Johnny’s Select Seeds) after my lovely vegetarian daughter pointed out that Kale resides at the top of almost every “the most nutritious foods” list.

As it grew, I read more about it and tasted a little here and there. It really is quite nutritious; it reliably provided Europe the means to survive winters from the BC knuckle dragging era well into the middle ages.
Before cold weather arrived I was not impressed with its taste, either raw in salads or cooked. I really only nibbled a little out of curiosity as I had read that as with other brassicas, cold weather is the magic ingredient for palatable Kale.

Small Winterbor kale plants doing their thing on a 20 degree morning:

Even smaller Red Russian Kale doing the same (between elephant garlic stalks):

So… I had this stand of Kale in the hoophouse that really needed to be put to use, so after much searching, I decided on this recipe from whole foods (well, sort of): Vegetarian Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup

“Sort of” means this ingredient list

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 (32-ounce) box low-sodium vegetable broth
4 cups packed chopped kale
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can sliced carrots, drained, or two large carrots, peeled and sliced

morphed into this ingredients list:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellowish garden onion with a couple of shallots added
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
30 oz chicken broth (also have used homemade turkey broth/stock)
1 tsp thai pepper oil
1 cube frozen homemade tomato paste
4 cups packed chopped kale
3/4 Cup “sun dried” tomatoes (oven dried Romas) chopped
2 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen baby carrots from the garden, the bigger ones sliced, the little ones whole (oh hell no I didn’t peel them either.)
I added another 10 oz or so water to get a more liquid soup (vs a chunky pile of veggies in a puddle of stock).

Most of what ends up being around 4 compressed cups of kale after the stems are removed:

The “block of stock” (concentrated turkey stock) melting into the mix:

And finally the almost completed soup with SD tomatoes, kale, & carrots:

I forgot to take a picture after I added the beans (cuz it smelled so good I had to eat it promptly.) Once the beans are added and it simmers a few minutes it is ready to go. It doesn’t have to simmer for more than 15 or so minutes before the kale is tender. This is good right off of the stove; it ages well in the refrigerator too.

Is it good?

If the king of weekend lunch convenience (me) takes the trouble to heat it up for lunch two days in a row when there is pizza in the fridge, what do you think?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Namastemama permalink
    January 16, 2012 11:32 pm

    This really looks yummy. May I also suggest a kale and potato recipe by dr. Weil . As of late I have been putting my kale in smoothies. It’s called a green smoothie. Very good. The ratio is 40/60 fruit to greens. This morning was just water, banana and kale, although it also called for chard. My 7 yr old even had 2 glasses!

  2. January 17, 2012 7:17 am

    Your 7 year old is braver than I am lol…

    I couldn’t find the Weil soup but did find this recipe:

    • namastemama permalink
      January 17, 2012 5:32 pm

      yup, that’s the one.

  3. January 17, 2012 3:50 pm

    My wife and I have been blending Kale too. We saw it in the documentary, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”

    There are several variations. So far we have only tried the original but really like it.

    Mean Green Juice (original)

    This is the official recipe used by Joe Cross and Phil Staples according to the Reboot Program.

    6 Kale Leaves
    1 Cucumber
    4 Celery Stalks
    2 Green Apples
    1/2 Lemon
    1 piece of ginger

    Also, Kale is really good sauteed in some olive oil with a little bit of garlic and shallots.

    • January 17, 2012 6:28 pm

      You juicers you….

      Yeah the kale was ok with the usual garlic & olive oil. “OK” but the soup is my favorite

  4. January 20, 2012 12:54 pm

    I always enjoy visiting your blog so I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Check my blog for details of the award.

  5. January 21, 2012 12:24 pm

    This all looks very yummy. I do have to ask… is the texture of the kale in the soup sort of slimy (like spinach)? Or does it maintain its texture more like cabbage? I’ve tried the chopping, saute with oil and garlic thing and just really heated it through without overcooking and thought it was fine…

    • January 21, 2012 1:16 pm

      I didn’t find it slimy at all. I think I understand what you are referring to with spinach after saute, it sort of coalesces into a limp spinach slimed mass. In the soup recipe the kale never rolls in the oil – it goes straight into the stock towards the end and the instructions are to not overcook it- just a few minutes in a simmer.
      I’ve sauteed kale a couple times and it doesn’t seem to be as bad (or as good, depending on one’s tastes) as spinach from the slime standpoint.

      I posed this question to mrs cohutt for an unbiased evaluation and she stated “definitely not slimy”.

      The first time I didn’t chop the kale into small enough pieces but we fixed that with subsequent batches.


  1. Make Some Room for Some Summer « Behind cohutt's fence

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