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

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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: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
      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: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

      1. Here's a primer on cooking kale that's pretty good.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSLwNd...
        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:
        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bo...
        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. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... 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!!

            1. all the jfoods love this

              Quinoa and Black Bean Salad Gourmet | July 1994 – Modified July 2009

              1 1/2 cups quinoa (small disk-shaped seeds)* (one 12 ounce box)
              1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed if canned
              1 pound asparagus grilled and trimmed four slices from top
              1 large yellow pepper diced
              4 plum tomatoes, diced
              1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander

              For dressing
              5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
              1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
              1 teaspoon salt
              1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
              1/3 cup olive oil

              *available at specialty foods shops and natural foods stores


              In a bowl wash quinoa in at least 5 changes cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle before pouring off most of water, until water runs clear and drain in a large fine sieve.

              In a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding water if necessary).

              While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

              Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add vegetables and coriander and toss well.

              Make dressing:

              In a small bowl whisk together the items and whick until emulsified.

              Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

              8 Replies
              1. re: jfood

                oooh I've made this a bunch of times- really awesome. I use less oil in the dressing though

                1. re: cheesecake17

                  yeah, the jfoods have asked him to do likewise.

                  1. re: jfood

                    jfood, I made this quinoa salad tonight for dinner (also made kale chips in the dehydrator today). It was the first time I have made quinoa. As I was cooking it, I thought it seemed like a lot of trouble...worse than cous cous at getting everywhere (though maybe I'm just a messy cook). Finished results were well worth the effort. Delicious, and it would be even better if I had decent tomatoes available. Used some labeled "vine ripened", but they were anemic and tasteless. I did use less oil per cheesecake's recommendation.

                    1. re: mountaincachers

                      When I do this type of salad in the winter, I use grape tomatoes. I've also switched out the asparagus for zucchini.

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        Yes, I should have used grape tomatoes. I also think I would add some scallions next time. Nevertheless, everyone in my family loved it, and it's nice to have a very filling, meat free meal. I'll be making it again.

                        1. re: mountaincachers

                          Another idea- quinoa with black beans, scallions, chopped cucumbers/tomatoes and tahini dressing.

                          I can eat the whole bowl in one sitting.

                          1. re: cheesecake17

                            Do you just use plain tahini, or mix it with something like lemon juice?

                            1. re: mountaincachers

                              tahini, lemon juice, salt, red pepper flakes, cumin

              2. Raw kale is also very nice...my opinion...chop it up and add to a salad for another way to enjoy and obtain nutrients. Very nutritious stuff whether cooked or raw, fabulous....lest we not forget the "kale chips" or "kale crack" that so many other posters have raved about.

                1. Kale is great! Lots of great ideas here. I LOVE kale chips. Tear into chunks. coat lightly in oil, soy sauce, wasabi, garlic and salt and dry in a low oven or dehydrator. You can coat with whatever flavors you like actually. They are addictive.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scuzzo

                    I've been looking for other things to do in the dehydrator that I bought to dry apples. This sounds great!

                  2. I make Kale throughout the winter in soups or sauteed.

                    I agree with the above posters re garlic and olive oil but I top mine with high grade olive oil and a splash of high grade balsamic vinegar. The sweetness cuts the bitterness somewhat and the acidity rounds it all together.

                    Quinoa can be made a million ways. Think of it somewhat like rice, add vegetables, herbs, etc.. I like mine cooked in chicken broth with a whole clove of garlic which I remove afterwards.

                    1. I want to try kale chips but have not yet done so. I have made braised kale, with the same ingredients as I'd use in braising collards or other greens. It was fine, but takes so much longer to cook that I would not care to do it gain. The taste is not appreciably different from other greens in the same application.

                      1. Dear Diane in Bexley,

                        You should be both happy and proud that your daughter is such a healthy eater!!! No frozen pizza, burgers and junk food left behind. (Or, perhaps that was taken back to school and the kale and quinoa left behind.... :) )

                        We often use quinoa as a gluten-free substitute for couscous in many warm and cold salads. We also like it mixed in with brown rice (both cold and hot) as a gluten-free, low-glycemic load side dish. It's a highly versatile seed (that acts more like a grain), though, like couscous, it's very bland on its own so it requires seasoning. Some people eat it as a warm cereal--we don't find it to our liking prepared that way; too bland and doesn't lend itself to sweetening particularly well like some other gluten-free grains do.

                        We have made a cold brown rice and quinoa salad with raisins, radishes, pecans (or another nut of your choice), red onion, parsley, mint (optional), coriander, cinnamon (optional), salt, pepper, olive oil and an acid (typ. vinegar) of your preference. We often use some combination of two of these--champagne, brown rice, sherry, red wine, cider and balsamic--depending on our mood and taste preferences in the moment (and what's in the cabinet...). We often also use some fresh lime juice as an additional acid or in place of some of the vinegar. The salad stores well covered in the refrigerator.

                        We also like to use kale and the uses are so numerous, it would be impossible to even begin to list them all. Look at www.whfoods.com for health information regarding kale as well as some methods for cooking it. Typically, we use it as a standalone side either sauteed or blanched and we often mix it with other greens like chard, spinach, mustard, turnip and collards, and also with some asian style greens such as bok choy, chinese cabbage, etc. Each has a slightly different flavor and texture profile and there are many types of kale too. We eat less of the curly variety of kale than the more leafy versions but have used both. www.whfoods.com will give you (at least the book they've published does--I haven't checked the site recently) insight on the best way to cook each green based on their testing of various methods (boiling, blanching, sauteeing, etc...). Kale also goes great in soups, as indicated by others prior to me. I like to add chopped greens to chicken soup just prior to serving so that all of the water soluble nutrients aren't leached out into the broth. When you cook them, you should strive to maintain their bright, vibrant color as much as possible and not overcook them into a lifeless, dark green or brownish heap. At that point, much of the nutritional value has been lost.

                        Hope you found good use for the kale and hope you can find ways to enjoy the quinoa too!

                        Best of luck.