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Jan 13, 2010 06:35 AM

Don't know 'nothin 'bout kale & quinoa - can you help?

So college daughter left 1/2 of big bag of kale in fridge and 3 boxes of quinoa as she returned to school today. Never tasted kale, never cooked kale, but I am cheap and don't want to throw it out. What can I do with it that will be tasty? DD said it can be subbed for spinach (creamed kale?). Looks like it needs way more cooking time than spinach. Planning to make big pot of beef mushroom barley soup this weekend. Should I just throw in chopped up kale? What else can I do?

Don't know what to do with 3 boxes of quinoa either. There is just me left in the house, need recipes that refrigerate or freeze well. I am not vegetarian or vegan, so no problem using meat products to help make it tasty. I take both breakfast and lunch to work, perhaps cook up something that can be reheated? Thanks in advance!

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  1. Yes, kale does take longer to cook than spinach. There are easy recipes for sauteing kale on epicurious. For more of a main course meal, also check out kale and mushrooms with creamy polenta on the same website. Or you could use it in your soup. If you haven't had it before, I think you will be surprised how yummy it is.

    1. I have made creamed kale before - I would look for a recipe for it, rather than just subbing it in for spinach. Since it's your first time eating kale and you're not a vegetarian, I'd recommend this soup, or one like it:
      The sausage, kale, and white bean combination is very nice - you see it in a lot of recipes, and it's great for this time of year.

      Quinoa, I'm a little less familiar with, but it would be very good for a lunch salad. (Wouldn't even need to be reheated.) Maybe something like this:

      1. Here's a primer on cooking kale that's pretty good.
        Kale can be boiled, baked or sauteed. I like it sauteed in a small amount of oil that's been flavored with garlic and I finish the dish with lightly crisped bacon that's chopped and tossed into the cooked kale.
        You can use Kale in soups and stews, serve it in a manner very similar to the way you might serve spinach, cream it with a bechamel sauce or other cream sauce:
        Quinoa is a seed (not a grain) and it is gluten free. You can use it much the same way you would use a grain in soups, as a cereal, etc. It is very nutrutious and if you Google "Quinoa Recipes" you'll find nearly a million things to do with it.

        1. You could certainly throw the kale into your soup this weekend or you could do roasted kale (aka kale chips), which I did for the first time last night. I had no trouble powering my way through half a bunch at one sitting! Google roasted kale and you will get a ton of recipes. Kale is also a classic in kale, potato and sausage (kielbasa or chorizo or other strongly flavored type) soup.

          Quinoa is delicious and full of protein and would make an excellent take-to-work lunch, just as tasty at room temp or warm. The main thing is to rinse the heck out of it in a strainer. It has a natural very bitter coating on it that needs to be rinsed away. This recipe is a great one and although it's not seasonal, the technique for cooking quinoa is the best I've found. Epicurious has a bunch of other great quinoa recipes too.

          2 Replies
          1. re: GretchenS

            This recipe recommends steaming the quinoa after cooking (boiling). I've never steamed the quinoa before. Do you find that steaming makes a big difference in the texture?

            1. re: DMW

              I do, the steaming makes it fluffier and I prefer it that way.

          2. I love both kale and quinoa and cook them often.

            Kale is excellent sauteed with garlic and olive oil. Top it with grilled chicken or sliced grilled steak. If you want more of a one dish meal for lunch, mix in cooked white beans while you saute the kale. Kale chips---> awesome idea! basically, cut the kale into small pieces, spread out on a cookie sheet, spray with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and bake for about 7-8 minutes till crispy. More addictive than potato chips!

            I recently made kale and black eyed pea soup from Vegetarian Times- great tomato-y brothy soup. I had lots of leftovers, but it was more kale/tomatoes than broth- I scooped out the veggies and beans and ate it for lunch over polenta.

            Quinoa is technically a berry, but treated like a grain. It's a complete protein too. You can cook it and serve it warm or keep it in the fridge and toss it with veggies or add it to a salad. I love a scoop of warm quinoa over spinach salad with walnuts and fresh apples and balsamic vinaigrette. The warm/cold combo is great.

            I posted a quinoa salad on another post - I usually serve it to company and everyone loves it. Cooked quinoa (tossed with other ing while warm) with scallions, slivered almonds, crasins, fresh spinach (raw- it wilts in the salad), and roasted/sauteed mushrooms. I toss it with a soy/sesame dressing. It's good warm or cold.

            Quinoa goes nicely with roasted veggies... roasted tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli... all are great with quinoa and a piece of chicken.

            Not sure if the quinoa you have is rinsed. If it's rinsed and ready to go it'll say on the box that it's ready to use or pre-rinsed. Otherwise.. dump the quinoa into a mesh colander/sieve and rinse it well for a minute or two. This gets rid of the bitter/soapy coating on the raw quinoa. No need to dry it or do anything else before cooking once it's rinse... just toss in the pot and cook according to the package. Usually the boxes say to cook for 15 minutes or so- mine cooks in about 10. If you want a mushier quinoa, add a lottle more water and cook for a bit longer. The quinoa is ready when you see a white 'tail' that's kind of pulling away from each grain.

            Hope it goes well! Any questions- I'd love to answer them!!