How to Cook Kale in Different Ways and Some Amazing Kale Recipes
Kale is one of those greens that are not much ventured by many, not far beyond juicing or sautéing. If you belong to the same unknowns, you will be surprised to know the various ways on how to cook Kale. It is one versatile green you can have in multiple ways and in different delicious combinations. You can add it to your salads, mix it in the soup or crisp it as chips. In this blog, we have got you the different ways of cooking Kale and some amazing kale recipes that make for a healthy meal and snack.
How to cook Kale in different ways
Add it to your soups
To add Kale to soups, you must cook the greens until they are perfectly tender and retain all its nutrients in the bowl. You can add potatoes and beans in your Kale soup to make it more flavorful and filling.
Crisp it into chips
Making crispy kale chips is very easy. You just need a hot oven and a bit of oil. Add salt and top it with delicious Parmesan cheese. No matter how you like dressing the snack, it remains super healthy and delicious.
By blanching Kale, you can soften its texture and reduce the bitterness. When cooked blanched, it retains the maximum of its green color, which happens otherwise. The right way to blanch Kale is by dipping it in boiling salted water and rinse with ice-cold water once drained.
Note: Blanching kale will wash away some of the vitamins in the green. However, the smoother texture and gentler flavor will make you eat more that will still get you maximum vitamins than not eating Kale at all.
Braising food means simmering it in little liquid. You can braise Kale as the tough texture responds correctly to slow, prolonged heating. The green turns tender and absorbs the flavor of any ingredient you add to the pot. Garlic, chilies, bacon and tomato, are all great braising flavor agents with Kale.
Flinging Kale in the oven makes it warm with very taking much of your effort. Cut it well, place it on a tray and roast it for 5 minutes in a hot oven. The roasted greens can be eaten as a salad, dressed with your favorite toppings.
Sauteing Kale means frying it in a frying pan on a medium-high flame and then on high flame with little oil or butter. It is a quick and delicious way of serving it. You can also season it with pepper and salt or add sweet or chile peppers or garlic for an added flavor. It is a perfect way to cook Kale adding different kinds of green. You can try adding spinach or chard (but less than Kale). The process doesn’t take exceeds 15 minutes and you can have healthy food to eat for dinner.
Another great way to handle this tough green is by steaming it. Cut it the way you like and set it on a steamer or colander over a pot with boiling shallow water. Cove it and cook for around 5-10 minutes or until the Kale turns tender. Drain the water and serve it warm at room temperature.
Add it to your salad
Kale salads are favorite of many people and are easy to prepare. If you like chewing, just chop the green like lettuce, massage the leaves a little. Grab some and rub it to shed off some fibers that give it a tough texture.
Add it to a smoothie
Just a handful of Kale can add lots of nutrients to your smoothie. Green smoothies are tasty, healthy drinks that you can prepare using veggies and fruits like Kale, mango, avocado, blueberry and pear. Combine the drink using your favorite fruits along with Kale and have a healthy blended kale drink.
How to cut Kale?
In most cases for red, Tuscan and red, you will find a fibrous stem running down the middle of the green. The ends of this stem are much wide and sturdy to eat. But, you can remove it easily. It can be cut in the following two ways:
- Lay the leaf flat on your cutting board and cut through the sides of the wide stem to separate the tender leaves.
- Fold the leaf in half; cut away its stem. The raw Kale can be cut into smaller pieces.
Delicious Kale Recipes
As you read the different ways of cooking Kale above, we have also got you some delicious recipes of Kale that will add health and taste to your daily meals.
We will start with the easiest and most preferred Kale recipes – sautéed and steamed Kale.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 Minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
- 8 cups chopped Kale, about 1 large bunch 1-inch sized pieces, lacinato, red or curly kale
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or 15ml
- Black pepper as required
- Heat a sauté pan (large) over medium flame
- Chop kale.
- Add olive oil when hot and add the chopped Kale
- Saute for 2 minutes
- Add little salt and stir. Cook for the next 4-5 minutes until the kale leaves turn tender, wilted and toasted.
- The longer you sauté it, the more toasted and crispy it turns.
- Season with pepper and salt to taste
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
- 8 cups chopped Kale, about 1 large bunch 1-inch sized pieces, red, curly or lacinato Kale
- Water as required to cover the pot’s bottom
- Kosher salt as required (for seasoning)
- Black pepper as needed (for seasoning)
- Add little water (only two inches from the bottom of the pot) in the pot with the steamer placed right in the center of the pot. Add chopped Kale.
- Cover the pot and boil it until you see steam forming inside.
- Steam the Kale until the leaves turn tender and wilted (slightly). Steaming it for 3-5 minutes should be enough, but it depends explicitly on the type of Kale used.
- Remove it from the steamer and season with pepper and salt as per taste.
- Serve warm.
How long should you cook Kale?
The ideal time to cook Kale depends on the type of Kale and the method you choose to cook the green. Mostly, people boil Kale as it turns the green more tender, easy to chew and mushy. Moreover, boiling kale brings out its sweetness better.
You can follow these steps while cooking Kale as recommended by BBC Good Food:
- Rinse the kale leaves (whole) before adding it to the pan. No need to drain the remaining water, cover it.
- Let it cook for 2 minutes or more, until wilted.
- Drain all the excess water.
If you are using chopped or shredded leaves, follow these steps:
- Put the chopped or shredded kale leaves in a pan with about half-inch water.
- Add little salt and bring to boil.
- Simmer it and cook for five minutes, until wilted
- Drain it thoroughly before serving.
For pan-frying kale, the cooking time extends to 10 minutes.
Note: To get the right texture of Kale, you need to be patient with the cooking process. You must make sure it is soft and tender before removing it from the flame.
How to boil Kale on stove
Boiling Kale gives a light, mild favor along with a soft buttery texture, as per Genius Kitchen. Follow these steps to boil Kale the right way.
- Pepper as required
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Separate the woody stems of Kale from its leaves. Boiling the stems will also not make it edible and soft.
- Tear the leaves off into small pieces (around 1-2 inches). Wash properly with cold water to remove any dirt and sand.
- Fill water in a large pot and season it lightly with salt. Place the pot on high flame and let it come to boil.
- Once the water reaches full boil, put the Kale in it and cover with a lid. Let the water boil for some time. You can late reduce the flame to medium and boil it for another 5 minutes.
- Use a fork to take out a piece of Kale, check if it has turned tender. The perfect texture should be soft and smooth. If your Kale is thick and rough, leave it for another couple of minutes to boil.
- Drain out the Kale properly using a colander. Release the excess moisture trapped in it.
- If you plan to add it to a recipe, do strain moisture by pressing the leaves properly against the sides of the strainer/colander. If not, just shake out the moisture, keeping it plump.
Optional: You can season the boiled greens with a pinch of pepper, salt and lemon juice.
Crunchy Kale Chips baked in an Oven
If you want to have Kale as a healthy snack, prepare crispy kale chips. Try out this easy recipe:
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
- 6 cups de-stemmed and torn curly Kale
- 2tspns of coconut oil, ghee or grass fed organic butter
- 1/4tspn Himalayan salt
- 1 to 2 tspn nutritional yeast, or as required
- Optional: 1 pinch smoked or sweet paprika
- Wash and spin dry the de-stemmed, chopped Kale. You must dry the Kale before putting it in the oven to bake.
- Toss the Kale in coconut oil. Massage it well with hands, so that each leaf gets well-coated with the oil.
- Sprinkle salt to taste, seasoning (if you are using any) and nutritional yeast. Toss again to distribute the ingredients well.
- Spread the kale leaves evenly on a parchment-lined baking tray/sheet without overlapping or crowding them.
- Bake it in a 300F pre-heated oven until it turns dark green and crisp. You need to bake it for at least 12-15 minutes.
- Cool it completely before eating. Cooling allows the chips to turn it more crispy and crunchy, making it tastier.
An added tip: try spicing the kale chips with your favorite seasonings such as garlic powder, chilli powder or onion powder.
Don’t have an oven? You can make kale chips in a skillet as well. Here’s the easy recipe for you:
Crunchy Kale Chips in a Skillet
- Kale leaves
- Olive oil
- Salt as required
- Tear the leaves from the stem and rinse it properly to ensure it is not dirty. You need not dry it completely.
- Spread the torn leaves over a skillet and add some salt (to taste).
- Move it well in a pan until they turn crispy and some charred at places, specifically around its edges. Also make sure, it is still tender and bright green in appearance.
- Remove it from heat and add some more salt and drizzle olive oil before eating.
Some Frequently Asked Questions about cooking Kale
What are the benefits of eating Kale?
One of the best ways to extract most benefits from Kale is from its antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are very useful for maintaining eye health. A good intake of Kale will help you prevent eye problems like macular degeneration and UV light-induced oxidative stress. It can also be a good option for your diabetes diet plan as it is rich in Vitamin C.
What is the best way of cooking Kale in order to make it tender?
You can steam, pan-fry or even bake Kale, but the best way is to boil it. Boiling makes it tender and chewy easily without getting it mushy and also brings out the sweetness well.
Is Kale harmful for your health?
Raw Kale consists of goitrogens that can affect thyroid functions. To reduce these effects, don’t eat raw Kale much. You can reduce it to 2 days a week, if you consume it more. However, cooked Kale is never harmful to your body, you can have it as much as you want.
In a nutshell
Kale is a healthy food you can add to your daily balanced diet. As many people are unaware of the right ways to cook this green, we got you the right ways of how to cook Kale in the easiest and simplest ways possible.
If you have some more such kale recipes, do share it in comments!