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Kale for a hater

Just got a huge bunch of kale in my weekly produce box, and my lovely husband isn't a huge fan.

Any suggestions for preparation that could turn this around?

I typically will quick braise it with bacon and garlic, or use it in a white bean soup, but both aren't hits with him.

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  1. Salad. Slice super thin, add plenty of oil, vinegar and salt. +/-currants. +/- olives, olive tapenade, hard boiled egg.

    1. Maybe he'd like it roasted? I lightly coat it with EVOO and kosher salt, then cook at 350 until the stalks are tender. The leaves get sort of crispy. My kids (8 and 10 years old) love it that way.

      3 Replies
      1. re: MsRetro

        Exactly what I was going to suggest. It's transformed by the process, like the deep-fried spinach served with some Chinese dishes. I usually destem before cooking, in which case it only takes about 10 minutes at 400º. It's also great added to roasted root vegetable salads.

        1. re: carswell

          I concur; we call them "kale chips". They're about the only way we can stand kale by the end of the long CSA season!

          1. re: carswell

            wow, I just did this...tossed the de-stalked kale with extra-virgin olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, S&P, garam masala, and hot Hungarian paprika

            into the oven @ 400 for 10 minutes - it was crunchy delicious!!

        2. A classic Italian preparation is to braise kale with raisins and finish with some toasted nuts (pine nuts or chopped almonds). It sounds unusual but it's really good It makes sense nutritionally--lots of iron. I'm sure epicurious has recipes (more like techniques)--I just eyeball it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Erika L

            You can also try dried cranberries in place of raisins, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar toward the end... sauteeing diced pancetta or even sliced prosciutto in place of bacon works well too.

          2. Does he like indian food? I make saag paneer with 2/3 kale and 1/3 frozen thawed chopped spinach (or whatever mix of greens i have). I use my immersion blender after they have finished cooking and blend it altogether into creamy delicious saag goodness. He'll never know it is kale and it gives such a depth to the dish that I miss when I use spinach only.

            1. We made zuppa toscana with ours.
              We boil it first and drain the liquid to cut down on the bitterness.

              1 Reply
              1. re: duckduck

                That recipe is even better if you substitute cooked diced or chopped pancetta for the bacon bits -- the pancetta is in the original Olive Garden recipe, believe it or not.

              2. Portugese Kale Soup? It's fantastic- chorizo, navy beans, potatoes and... kale. But I love kale and collards, so I love all of that. I have a recipe if you are interested.

                4 Replies
                1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                  You beat me to it. Caldo verde is wonderful. I've not made it with the beans but just the potatoes, chorizo and kale. Wonderful.

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    It's great stuff, isn't it? Quick aside- my south GA relatives have a thing called "Collard Green Soup". One went to Portugal and had the Caldo Verde and pronounced it identical to what she had been doing for years, and it pretty much is. But the Collard Green Soup has ham hock, potato and pot likker along with the Spanish chorizo, etc. Well, and Collards instead of Kale. ;p

                  2. re: caviar_and_chitlins

                    I'd love to see the recipie if you don't mind posting? thanks!

                    1. re: geminigirl

                      Sure! This is basically the Collard Green Soup recipe- with Kale instead.

                      Start with at least 1 quart liquid (pot likker, chicken broth or water)

                      2 cups shredded kale
                      1 ham bone
                      2 sliced chorizo
                      2 cans great northern beans
                      1 red bell pepper, chopped
                      1 onion, chopped
                      2 potatoes, diced
                      2 cans tomato sauce
                      1 bulb garlic, sliced
                      salt and pepper to taste

                      Simmer for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

                      Sounds basic, but you will be "sampling" as it cooks, I promise.

                  3. Brazilian Couve a mineira - Kale (or collards)

                    Remove tough stems, roll leaves into a tight roll, slice into ribbons. For a bunch of Kale, saute a couple tablespoons of chopped onions and a minced garlic clove in butter til lightly brown. Use about 1/2 Tablespoon butter for each cup of Kale. Its a lot of butter. You can use some oil too if you like. Some recipes use just oil. Then add the Kale and saute over high heat. You want it wilted, not over cooked. Sprinkle with salt when done.

                    1. I suppose you have the typical curly kale? I brown 3 italian sausages without the casing, add the washed kale, 1/2 a jar of marinara, 1 jar of chopped roasted red bell pepper, 1 tsp. oregano, and let stew for about 15 minutes. Add some fresh chopped flat leaf parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve. I don't add salt, the sausage makes it salty already.
                      If it is the flat, lancato kale, I brown a small amount of chopped bacon, or sausage, add the sliced kale, add the juice of an orange, a drizzle of balsamic, pepper, and cook for about 15 minutes until the orange juice and balsamic get nice and syrupy. It's definitely stronger tasting than the curly leaf kale, but the bacon and the acidity of the orange/vinegar makes it taste really good.

                      1. Masamba: Cut into narrow strips, steam, top with peanut butter and salsa mixed together, serve with pasta, potatoes, or rice.

                        Steam and top with hummus or balsamic vinegar or tamari or lemon juice.

                        1. my husband is an ocassional "greens" eater so since I am overrun in the summer CSA distribution, what I can't eat gets frozen and eaten all winter / spring. I blanch whatever I get for greens, squeeze dry, chop and put in zip lock bags and freeze. In the winter it is easy to break off a piece and add to my leftover lunches - if I have leftover pasta, etc...for dinner, the next day I just add some frozen greens to my leftover lunch and it defrosts easily and adds a healthy bite to my lunch.

                          I also throw it chopped into my veggie soup as it tends to blend in and not as noticible as when it's sitting there on a dinner plate by itself:)

                          Lastly, a bit on homemade pizza blends in pretty well also.

                          1. Could it be treated like spinach and made into a kale and artichoke dip?

                            1. I just had kale last night at Vij's Indian resto in Vancouver. It was outstanding - marinated in coconut milk, cayenne, salt, pepper (I think, she quickly told me the marinade) and grilled. Nice smokey flavour.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: sarah galvin

                                This is fantastic - made some on my grill last summer and am looking forward to making it again soon -

                                    1. re: harryharry

                                      Wow! Thank you. I didn't even think to check their website.

                              2. My wife always groans when I buy kale, but I love it. I sneaked some into a lasagne recently....blanched the kale for 2 min with the pasta water. Flattened and layered it in like spinach (to me, it worked better than spinach). She loved the lasagne and has since actually purchased kale for me to make it again.

                                1. My favorite is Portuguese Kale Soup known as "Caldo Verde". A hearty soup made with linguica, potato and thinly sliced kale. My favorite is in Soup Suppers by Arthur Schwartz and should be on his website.

                                  1. Wow, thanks everyone! I am going to try the roasted kale, and the sausage and marinara recipes. I really enjoy the Caldo Verde, but alas, he doesn't. Saag/kale paneer is intriguing too...

                                    What I've done so far is make oregano and kale pesto (got the idea from a commercially prepared one I saw at the grocery store), and he liked that! Blanched kale, raw (i.e. fresh and not blanched) oregano, olive oil, and almonds--I think I might even prefer it to basil pesto.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Olivia

                                      Kale pesto is a great idea. I have made spinach/basil pesto but I'll bet it is very nice with kale and cheap too. A mexican style pesto with kale and cilantro would probably be good too.

                                      1. re: Olivia

                                        Oh, and garlic and s+p, of course!

                                        Kale and cilantro pesto sounds great too! Maybe a chimichurri with kale?

                                        1. re: Olivia

                                          i'm sure i've posted this before, but this is my kale-for-haters recipe, more or less from cooks illustrated:
                                          i blanch it and squeeze it and chop it. i saute a couple chopped shallots in butter, add some salt and a big pinch of sugar and a few grates of nutmeg, i add the kale, then i add a splash of cream.

                                          everyone like it, really. i have had haters ask for the recipe.

                                      2. I don't know where you live, but here in Los Angeles, Whole foods makes this awesome Raw kale salad in their deli section...it is addicting...has dried cranberries, lemon juice, some pine nuts and maybe some oil? but not sure...

                                        1. We got a beautiful bunch of kale from our CSA last night, and had it for dinner with farfalle and italian sausage tonight. Pretty simple and tasty.

                                          Here's how it goes: Cook about a lb.of italian sausage, making sure that you brown it either before you add water or after you steam it. Pour off some of the fat and add a little olive oil. Saute a chopped onion, then add three cloves of garlic and stir until fragant. Add the well-washed chopped kale along with about a cup of chicken broth and optional crushed red pepper flakes. My husband likes his kale pretty soft, so I braised it for about 15 minutes, but cook yours to your preferred doneness. Add a can of cannelini beans and some julienned sundried tomatoes and more chicken broth if necessary, and simmer for a few minutes. Slice the sausage and add it to the dish and simmer for a few minutes more. (I had 1/2 cup or so of light cream that was going to waste, so I added it at this point and heated through.) If the sauce seems too dry, add some pasta cooking water. Add the hot pasta and some grated parmesan, and pass more cheese at the table.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: bear

                                            I also received a big bunch of kale in my delivery yesterday, and once again, Chowhounds to the rescue! I'm going to try out your dish tonight (I might sub in chopped tomatoes for the beans though)- thanks!

                                          2. Would he prefer lentils to the white beans? My husband and I like it in lentil and sausage soup. We get lots of kale from our co-op, too, and that's the best thing I've found to do with it.

                                            1. Kale is a winter thing in the UK and I get it practically every week in my veg box. I like it but I'm glad to see the back of it for a while to be honest!

                                              Anyway, I like it in the Portuguese soupy-stew thing with chorizo and potatoes, but it's also nice braised with oyster sauce as a side dish.

                                              1. Southern living once had a recipe for a pureed mustard green cream soup. I think kale could work in that application and would be a little different from the other (great) soups mentioned already.

                                                1. after a quick steam, we put it back in the pot and roll it around w a little butter (or use some drippings from that jar in the fridge!), s+p and lots of fresh ground nutmeg.

                                                  1. A bunch of people have already mentioned it, but raw kale, very thinly sliced, dressed generously with a very good olive oil and meyer lemon (also generously speckle w/ freshly ground s&p), plus a grated cheese is divine bliss.

                                                    There are two recipes that I alternate between or combine-- one is on epicurious (just do a search on raw kale salad), which turns out like a sophisticated caesar salad, and the other one I found in the NYT (again, I'm sure a search will yield it) recipe written by Melissa Clark. The epicurious recipe uses ricotta salata; the NYT uses parmesan, but the base is roughly the same.

                                                    However, this only works with lacinato kale. Perhaps I should've asked you first what kind of kale you have.

                                                    1. Sort of like roasting but you should try grilling it! I do it on my grill pan, brushed with a little olive oil, S and P. I rip the leaves off the stems and grill until they are nice and crispy. Then I put it up top some suba noodles in a spicy peanut sauce. Its a riff on a F&W recipe and its super fast and healthy.

                                                      1. Well, kale doesn't taste particularly good until it's had a good frost, which sweetens it, so I generally stay away from kale until the mid-fall. If you're not a fan of summertime kale, don't be ashamed - it's not as as good as kale in the colder weather.

                                                        1. I love kale with chickpeas. Here's my recipe:

                                                          Greens and Beans
                                                          1 bunch kale, washed, deribbed, and roughly chopped or torn
                                                          1 small can (7 ¾ oz) chick peas, mostly drained
                                                          10 – 12 grape tomatoes, halved
                                                          5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
                                                          1 – 1 ½ inch squirt anchovy paste
                                                          2 tblspns olive oil
                                                          ½ tblspn bacon fat (optional) or same amount of olive oil
                                                          Hot pepper flakes
                                                          Lemon juice
                                                          Water, if needed

                                                          In the bottom of a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add bacon fat and olive oil. Put as much kale as possible and some garlic in the pan. If you’ve just washed the kale, allow water to cling to the leaves for use in its cooking. If not, add about 1/4 cup water. You know how greens are. You may have to wait for some of the kale to wilt before you are able to add the remainder of the bunch. When you add the rest of the kale, add the rest of the garlic, too. Pour a bit more olive oil and some salt on top.

                                                          When the kale wilts enough so that it all fits comfortably in the pan, add the anchovy paste, tomatoes, and some salt and pepper. Cover and cook until kale is almost as tender as desired. If bottom of pan becomes dry during this process, add water, about ¼ cup at a time. When the kale is almost where you want it, add chick peas and some of their liquid. Let this cook together until the kale reaches desired tenderness. Finish with more salt and pepper, if needed; a squirt of lemon juice, and a shake of red pepper flakes.

                                                          I love the rich, iron-y green taste of kale combined with the buttery nuttiness of chick peas!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: archstreet

                                                            I like all greens with beans and my favorite bean is the chickpea which is the highest in protein and most meaty tasting. I make them from scratch. The ultimate bean which is proven by how popular falafels are

                                                            My big secret is adding some health food store nutritional yeast at the end and a healthy amount of salt. All beans need goodly amount of salt. Black pepper goes great with chickpeas

                                                          2. I do a spin on the traditional potato kale soup that can be done as a potato casserole.

                                                            Slice potato into 1" cubes and toss with EVOO, kosher salt, ground black pepper, diced chorizo, and a bunch of quick-blanched kale. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes (tossing occasionally) till potatos are golden and crisp on edges.

                                                            1. Kale is much much better in the fall. More tender. Even better and sweet after a frost. Kale is a primitive cabbage and grows in all kinds of temperatures. But in the summer heat it is usually tougher and not much good flavor. More like eating green leafy cardboard

                                                              My favorite is kale simmered in a tiny bit of water along with pepper and salt. Drizzle olive oil on it at the table. Butter if you prefer

                                                              1. My husband and I raved over this polenta with a pancetta/kale/mushroom topping.


                                                                1. What about Ethiopian style greens - kale with berbere spice mix?

                                                                  1. Love it myself, my wife on the other hand...

                                                                    Remove the stems, cook the leaves down in 2 T. olive oil until dark and soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste, toss in a balsamic vinaigrette then grate parmesan cheese over the top.

                                                                    Fry 2 or 3 pieces of bacon, pour off excess grease and cook as above in the pork fat. Drain and crumble the bacon into the vinaigrette.