Transform this leafy green into many different and delicious side dishes.
Kale is a vegetable of higher caliber. This superfood needs a little extra behind the scenes wining and dining before it's ready for its grand entrance. You can cook the bitterness out of kale and transform it into many different and delicious side dishes. Raw, sautéed, simmered, or roasted, this green, leafy veggie can take on a whole new reputation for weeknight dinners.
But first, you have to know which type of kale you are dealing with. Here are the most common types.
Curly Kale: Bright green, tightly-curled leaves. Bitter, peppery flavor when raw. Best in sautés or baked in the oven.
Tuscan Kale: Smooth, dark green leaves. Milder flavor than curly kale. Best in salads and soups.
Baby Kale: Light green coloring. Thin, delicate leaves and mild flavor. Best in salads, smoothies, and sautés.
Purple Kale: Ruffled, vibrant purple leaves. Sweeter flavor. Best in stews, sautés, or soups.
The tough, fibrous stalks deliver overly bitter flavors and unwelcoming textures. Cut along the edge of the stalk to separate the leaves from the stalk. Then, you can cook it in a sauté pan with a dash of olive oil and salt for a simple side dish. Or, you can get fancy and chop up garlic and onions to throw in the pan as well.
The most important tip for preparing raw kale is to massage the leaves before anything else. The bitter taste can take over your salad if you neglect this step.
After removing the stalks and chopping the kale into small pieces, place it into a large bowl and drizzle a little bit of lemon juice and olive oil over it. Massage the juice and oil into the leaves for at least 3 minutes. Let it sit for 15 minutes. You will soften the tough leaves for a much more appetizing, almost-sweet flavor for your kale salad.
You can also mask the taste of kale completely by blending it into a smoothie. Blend it together with a banana, a handful of blueberries, a cup of almond milk, a dash of cinnamon, and a spoonful of honey. You wouldn't even know it was in your glass if it didn't turn the whole smoothie green!
Chop your kale into small sections and toss it into your soup at the very end. It will wilt into the broth instantly and add color and texture to tonight's soup.
Roast your kale for a delicious crunch! Chop it into small pieces and toss it in a large bowl with olive oil and salt. You can add your own unique seasonings as well. I like the Trader Joe's Everything but the Elote Seasoning Blend. Spread the kale leaves out onto a baking sheet and place them in the oven at 325ºF for 20 minutes, or until crispy.