How to Cook Kale

I’m on a personal mission to get kale the respect it deserves. Have you tried it?

You may not be aware that kale is a hardy green from the cabbage family that often makes top 10 healthiest food lists. I wasn’t until I made a commitment to eat more greens last year.

Kale is not only good for you, it is pleasantly tasty too! It is one of the least bitter of the leafy cooking greens so if you like spinach you will probably love it. And like other leafy greens, it’s a Weight Watchers 0 PointsPlus value power food.

But, if you have never eaten it, you may be wondering how to cook kale.

Sauteed Kale*

Photo Credit – julesjulesjulesm – flicker creative commons

There are lots of different ways for cooking kale – it can be roasted, boiled, steamed or sauteed. It is delicious in soups, stir-fries and even roasted into “chips.”

Some people enjoy tender kale in salads, but this can be an acquired taste. (If kale is new to you, it is definitely better to get acquainted with it cooked, before trying it raw.)

One of the best ways to prepare it is to give it a quick boil in 2 to 4 cups of water for 5 to 10 minutes (depending on how tender you want it).

It will shrink a lot during cooking, so plan on about one pound (a large bunch) for 3 to 4 servings.

To wash kale, fill a large bowl with cool water, dunk in the greens and swish them around to rinse, then lift them out and place in a colander.

Before cooking, you’ll want to remove the tough stalk and central vein by hand or with a knife, and chop or tear the leaves as instructed in your recipe.

Kale made using this basic recipe is ready to be enjoyed as a simple side dish or added to many more dressed up kale recipes.

Basic Kale Recipe

Serves 2 to 3

3/4 pound kale
2 cups water
Pinch of sea salt

Fill a large bowl with cold water. Dunk in the kale and swish it around to loosen any dirt or sand, which should sink to the bottom. Lift kale out of the water. (If the water is dirty or their is sand in the bottom, dump out the water, rinse the bowl and repeat the process.)

Strip the leaf off each stalk. Discard the stalks and center rib since they can be tough. Chop or tear kale leaves into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

In a large skillet that has a tight-fitting lid, bring the water to a boil. Add the prepared kale, return to a boil, cover and cook over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender. (Be careful that all the liquid doesn’t evaporate.) Season to taste with salt.

Remove the kale from the skillet with a slotted soon. To stop it from cooking more, cool it off in cold water or use immediately in your favorite recipe.

Basic Kale Variations

  • Saute 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon olive oil, add cooked kale and a pinch of salt and heat through.
  • Drizzle cooked kale with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
  • Drizzle cooked kale with toasted sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds and pinch of salt.
  • Use cooked kale as a bed for grilled fish or chicken.

More Kale and Greens Recipes

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