Some people hear the word and then just can’t gush enough about it.
“Oh my gosh, I love kale!”
“I put kale in my smoothies!”
“I want to marry kale!”
But then there are the people… that just don’t love it so much. Understandably so. It can be tough and bitter. Well, even if it’s hard for you to eat it, try and figure out ways to incorporate. Why?
I know you’ve hear it ad nauseam, but out of all the leafy greens out there, kale is the best you can eat. It’s high in vitamins K, A, and C. It’s a good source of calcium, iron, b-vitamins, manganese, copper, potassium, fiber, omega-3’s, the list goes on. It’s detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, and the glucosinolates it contains is thought to contribute to cancer prevention.
It’s those glocosinates that can make it hard to eat though. If you’re sensitive to bitter flavors, or are a supertaster, kale likely isn’t your favorite food to eat. But with the right preparation, cooking with kale can be delicious to even people like me, who find it very bitter in it’s raw state. So here are a few tips and recipes to take kale from hard to eat to hard to stop eating!
I’m skeptical about kale in smoothies. I’ve tried to incorporate it time and time again, and the smoothie always turns out too bitter for me. I’ve seen a certain recipe pop up in more than one place though, and everyone gushes about how delicious it is.
image courtesy of weelicious
This is a delicious way to prepare kale, especially if you place it directly on a hot grill (it only takes 60 to 90 seconds per side usually, so you have to stay on top of it). I know charring it might cancel out some of the good stuff, but boy does it taste good.
Large adult kale leaves work best for this. All you do is rinse and dry the leaves, then drizzle with some olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I usually do this in a large bowl and then combine and massage with my hands for 30 seconds or so, just to make sure the leaves are evenly coated. Then you place the leaves directly on an oiled grill grate, and they cook up in a snap!
If you want to take the flavors up a notch, try this Crispy Tuscan Kale on the Grill recipe from chef Seamus Mullen.
ADD IT TO SOUPS
I know we’re not necessarily experiencing “soup” weather right now, but if you work in an air-conditioned office, you’re probably craving something warm by lunchtime. Soup is an easy way to fill up for less calories, and it’s a very easy way to incorporate kale.
Here’s the quick and easy way to do it. Pack some raw kale (whether baby kale, or chopped adult kale) along with your soup. After heating your soup, drop the kale in and give it a couple minutes to wilt (unless it’s already combined into homemade soup). The flavor of the soup will be no worse for wear, and will mask any bitterness from the kale.
yep, there’s kale in there
Here’s one of my FAVORITE soup recipes, that uses kale, among other veggies. It’s a posole that utilizes chicken and lots of different vegetables. It’s spicy, and incredibly delicious.
Have you heard of massaged kale salad? It really is tasty. The massaging helps to break down the kale, releases some of the bitterness, and makes it tender. My friend made a really good one not too long ago. It was part of the buffet at a brunch baby shower, and everyone loved it!
It’s a food network recipe for Massaged Kale with Mango. Delish!
CHOP IT UP
My last suggestion, albeit simple, is chop kale up into smaller pieces and add it to anything you can. Pasta sauce, stir fry, eggs, sauteed with onions, garlic, and peppers… it might be overwhelming on it’s own, but combined with other savory ingredients it will subtly move to the background. You’ll still get all the benefit, and you might just find that you love kale too!