Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 20, 2008 10:22 AM

Advice on Kale types


Went to whole foods this weekend and picked up two kinds of kale, regular green and black lacinto. I have two recipes I am planning, both of which I will use kale when spinach is traditionally called for.

The first is sauteed kale with pine nuts and currants. The second is tofu saag. The question is, which kale do I use for which recipe? I've done some research and I'm leaning towards black for the saag, green for the sautee . . . any recommendations? I love the green but I've never tried the black before (but I've been on a huge chard kick recently and am a fan of robust leafy greens of all kinds . . .).


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. hey, i'd at least consider mixing both kales in both recipes! the green kale will darken as it cooks (so will black, or purple kales) but you will still get a little color, taste & texture variation between the two kales, which will keep everything interesting. i like using both green and black curly kales in autumn soups, i think they are pretty.

    1. I would actually swich and use the Lacinato kale in the saute recipe.

      Here's a link to some recipes from the Saveur magazine. I like the Braised Cavolo Nero ....that's another name for this kale.

      Scroll down to the Cavolo Nero section...

      3 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        mmmm that does sound good - does it really take that long for them to tenderize during the braising? I've found, for instance, that people say it takes chard a long time but generally you can get the leaves tender in just a few (5ish) minutes . . .

        1. re: Cebca

          I generally cut kale into strips no wider than an inch, and for some dishes I actually chiffonade the leaves. The 1" strips generally get to my desired level of tenderness in about 20 minutes over medium heat; narrower cuts can be ready in as little as 10 minutes.

          I too sort of scratch my head when I read about really long cooking times for greens, even tough ones like kale and collards.

          While kale does take longer than chard (which takes longer than spinach), I don't think it necessarily takes 45 minutes. I generally pay attention to (1) how the greens are cut; (2) how high the heat is; and (3) the desired level of tenderness (or crispness) when thinking about how long the cooking time might/should be.

          1. re: Cebca

            I've made that recipe from Saveur, and no, it wouldn't take that long just to tenderize the kale. However, the intent of that recipe is to really really cook the kale down until it's almost dissolved, which is far past the point of just being tenderized.

            I think I've made most of the cavolo nero other recipes from that issue. Although I liked all of them the cavolo nero pesto was my favorite. However, I tried with with regular kale and it wasn't nearly as delicious.

        2. We use the various types of kale interchangeably. Might be more a color coordination/contrast issue than taste. We recently tried Russian kale.

          1. Well, I used the cavolo nero for the pine nuts and raisins recipe and it was DELICIOUS served alongside polenta and poached eggs. Unfortunately the saag is going to have to be delayed a week since my boyfriend ended up flying out of town today and its a bit too involved a recipe for just one. I think I'll make kale chips with some of the green kale and braise the rest - I've been dying to make kale chips since i first read the recipe. But both kinds will definitely be on my weekly grocery list from now on and maybe ill branch out to the red kale soon too!