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Seasoning for kale?

I love kale but need some ideas for seasoning as I have tended to do same old, same old simple recipe. Ideas?

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  1. I grow kale so I've tried it a million different ways but we seem to favor blanching it, then adding it to a skillet where I've diced and cooked thick cut deep smoked bacon and some thinly sliced onions. After cooking it down a bit I season it, add a splash of chicken stock and put the lid on for a bit. When its very tender I take the lid off and let some of the liquid evaporate.

    1. Well, I don't know what your standard recipe is, so I can't really know what something new would be for you. My basic recipe is braising it with garlic and olive oil and a few squeezes of lemon and I know that's a pretty common one. For variety, sometimes I add a few anchovy fillets--just saute them along with the garlic and mash them up a little bit. They will dissolve into the oil and add a wonderful savory flavor that is not overwhelmingly fishy (in case that's a problem for you.) I add crushed red pepper too sometimes. You could go a more Asian route with sesame oil and a little soy sauce.

      Also, have you tried making roasted kale or kale chips? There are plenty of recipes on the internet. I tried it once and now it's one of my favorite snacks--I prefer a big bowl of crispy roasted kale to a bowl of potato chips.

      1. Olive oil, chopped onions and garlic...saute til slightly caramelized...then add chopped dino kale...a little apple cider vinegar and hot pepper flakes...serve it over rice...very delish and simple!

        1. This isn't "seasoning", but just one of my favorite recipes for using kale:


          Half to 1 pound penne pasta (Barilla is my favorite brand), cooked according to al dente package directions & drained
          1 block/container of Feta cheese, chopped/crumbled
          Approx. 12-24 Kalamata olives, pitted, & roughly chopped **
          Approx. 1 pound/bunch of Kale, rinsed, stems removed & discarded, & leaves roughly sliced/chopped
          ½ a large or 1 small red onion, peeled & chopped
          A few dollops of extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing
          Dash or so of chicken broth or water
          Dash of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

          While the cooked pasta is draining in a colander, heat the olive oil in the pot the pasta was cooked in & saute the onion until softened but not brown. Add the chopped kale, stir a bit until wilted, & add a dash or 2 of chicken broth or water if necessary to prevent burning. Add chopped olives, cooked pasta, feta cheese, & crushed red pepper & stir again – gently - until pasta is heated through. Serve hot or at room temperature.

          ** If you can’t obtain pitted olives, pitting them is accomplished easily by simply placing your broad kitchen knife (sharp side away from you) over each olive & briskly hitting down on the knife with your hand. Olive will break open & pit will be easy to remove.

          1. And here's another:


            One medium onion, peeled & chopped
            One pound of kale, de-ribbed & roughly sliced/chopped
            1-1/2 quarts or so of chicken stock (if not homemade, I usually use one carton + one can of Swanson's)
            Two medium potatoes, peeled & diced -OR- two cans of cannelini/white kidney beans, rinsed **
            One package (usually 12 to 16 ounces) turkey kielbasa sausage, sliced
            Extra Virgin Olive Oil
            Salt & Pepper to taste

            In a large soup pot add enough olive oil to coat the bottom & saute onion until starting to soften, but not brown. Add sliced sausage & continue sauteeing until everything is just starting to brown a little. Add chicken stock & diced potatoes (if using) & simmer until potatoes are tender - about 15 minutes or so. Add kale & continue cooking until kale is tender. (** if using beans instead of potatoes, add chicken stock & bring to a simmer. Add kale & cook until tender; then add beans & stir gently until beans are just heated thru.) Add salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste & serve.

            1. I like a little bit of spice, red pepper flakes or chopped jalapeno.

              1 Reply
              1. re: magiesmom

                Thank you for these great ideas. . I will use every one of them as I have just been sauteing the kale in some olive oil and then cooking in broth.

              2. Roasted garlic, lemon, red pepper flakes, and rosemary (make this a meal by adding cooked canellinis and serving over crusty bread, or by adding a bit of broth, making wells, and poaching eggs in the wells.

                Ginger, garlic, and ponzu

                Sauteed onions, garlic, a can of diced tomatoes, white wine.

                1. Sea salt and minced garlic.

                  I like to keep it simple. The main reason I eat kale is for itt bitter and slightly off-sweet taste. Too much seasoning and you might as well be sauteing butter lettuce or cabbage.

                  1. I usually sautee some shallots in a that morning's bacon grease, then add the kale. Sprinkle with a bit of red pepper. Something about the trifecta of sweet shallots, bitter kale and salty bacon. Sometimes a dash of vinegar, soy sauce or ponzu.

                    1. Tonight's dinner will be shallots, garlic, ginger, cumin, curry paste and a bit of brown sugar. Maybe some cayenne as well.

                      1. Great ideas here.

                        I like fresh minced ginger and shredded carrot for color contrast, along with minced garlic, sauteed with the kale. Cayenne or red pepper flakes are always welcome. Drizzle with a little sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.

                        1. A ton of great ideas. I think that all greens, including kale, benefit from a little splash of acid -- cider vinegar (as already montioned) or any other vinegar or some citrus. Whatever you have on hand and seems to go with your other flavorings. My current addiction is some Yuzu Rice Vinegar I bought recently. http://www.ooliveoil.com/product_rice...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: GretchenS

                            Great ideas! I have a question about using vinegar - Can you taste it or does it sorta disappear? I do have rice vinegar which I think has a milder taste. Would you ever use balsamic vinegar? Sorry - it wasn't a question it was 3 questions!

                            1. re: Bethcooks

                              You can put just a tiny bit to brighten the flavor or more if you want to taste it. See which way suits you better. For me, it depends what else is going on the plate. I personally I have not used balsamic only because I'm not a big fan of it (too sweet for me mostly) but I have used sherry vinegar on occasion. If you are eating kale daily, you have the perfect opportunity to play around and see what works for you! :)

                          2. A spritz of oil in a sautee pan; kale + water and saute until tender. No foreign flavors so can't do it all the time, but it does taste fresh, and really... nothing makes me feel healthier.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: redips

                              That's exactly what I do but I like it so much I literally have been eating it daily so I thought I should expand a bit! Will try some of the great ideas here as I plan to buy more tomorrow.

                            2. My favorite way:

                              Simmer a bunch of kale in a cup or so of chicken stock along with a bit of demi glace in a covered saute pan. After steaming for maybe 5-10 minutes, take the lid off and let the stock reduce completely.

                              Brown about 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Once it's thoroughly browned, add some minced garlic (and crushed red pepper if you like) and then season the kale with the brown butter and garlic mixture. Toss a few times, adjust salt if necessary, and serve.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                I make kale with beans

                                Saute 1 onion, garlic, ginger, add spices (red pepper, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper), add a tomato or 2 (or part of a can diced), add a can of rinsed beans and add a little water so it doesn't burn (1/2 cup?), add kale to fill to the top of large pan -cleaned and torn/cut kale (stems removed). cover and simmmer until kale is cooked.

                                garbanzos adn white beans work well for me. I eat it with brown rice.

                                sorry I can't be more specific about quantities- I never really measure anything.

                                1. re: MoCoMe

                                  I make a similar kale with bean thing, but serve it on pasta. Yum.

                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                  Just finished last of kale and have to go purchase more so I can try this - sounds delicious. Thank you.

                                3. my post disappeared.

                                  my favourite thing with kale is a raw kale salad with shredded beets, dried cranberries/raisins/currants and toasted almonds in a lemon vinaigrette

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: blinknoodle

                                    "my post disappeared.'

                                    Odd, I clearly remember seeing your post yesterday and thought it sounded great, but I don't think I could get mrbushy to eat raw kale. More for me, cool.

                                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                                      Just don't tell him it is raw kale! I have served it to company with rave reviews. :)

                                      1. re: blinknoodle

                                        Have never tried raw kale but I am willing to try it. What kind of beets do you use? Could I use those canned beets that come in a glass jar?

                                      2. re: bushwickgirl

                                        my post disappeared too....it was only my second post on this
                                        I just dehydrated kale... steamed it first to prepare then Himalayan sea salt and dehydrated for 6 hours...keep it simple

                                        my 3 year old loved them.. he ate way too much kale before 9 am

                                      3. re: blinknoodle

                                        It sounds great. The salad I had at a restaurant had diced red bell peppers and sunflower seeds in it. Can you tell me if you did anything with the raw kale to soften it or literally just washed and chopped up? thanks.

                                      4. I, recently, used kale in lieu of swiss chard in a "Tuscan Bean and Swiss Chard Soup" recipe from epicurious.com. It was really delicious and I think it came out better than swiss chard. I used the curly type kale.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: whinendine

                                          I have used that recipe - will try it with curly kale. Thanks

                                        2. Combined sauteed onion, a red bell pepper, a tomato, smoked sweet paprika, black pepper, olive oil, broad beans and some spicy Italian sausages to make a sausage, kale & broad bean stew tonight.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: prima

                                            Mmm-mm sounds very good. Were the broad beans canned? I might try it with cannelini beans.

                                            1. re: Bethcooks

                                              Yep, they were canned. I would have used cannellini beans, but I only had broad beans on hand. ;-)

                                          2. butter and Maggi Seasoning

                                            Cajun spice blend

                                            prosciutto and a splash of cream

                                            caramelized onions and smoked paprika

                                            garlic, ginger, soy, sesame seeds and a little toasted sesame oil

                                            1. This is my favorite way to season / cook kale... Suzanne Goin's slow-cooked lacinato kale from AOC. I think a little tomato paste is also a nice addition.


                                              Also like it cooked and tossed with some salt, pepper, lemon, breadcrumbs, and some oil that's been gently warmed with some garlic for a long period of time. This works well for almost any greens.

                                              1. I like my kale straight up pan sauteed. Almost a little burnt.

                                                Start sauteeing kale in a pan with oil, and a tiny bit of chinese brown sauce. I keep a jar of it that i mix up (soy & oyster sauce, sesame oil, chicken base, honey, red pepper flakes, pepper, mirin, dry sherry, garlic powder, msg) and drizzle a little of that. It's heavenly with a fried egg on top.

                                                You also can never go wrong with any vegetable fried in bacon fat with bacon crumbles.

                                                1. To solve your seasoning question you might consider the delicious Organic Kale Sprinkles product we produce in Oregon.

                                                  1. I used the recipe for Thai style water spinach from Pok Pok, but increased the water amount and cooking time to compensate for kale's toughness. Basically it's a mix of thai oyster sauce, fish sauce, thai yellow bean sauce, and sugar, oh and some dried thai chili peppers. ratio is 2 oyster:1 fish:.5 thai yellow bean:.5 sugar or something like that

                                                    1. Since I don't see my favorite way among any of the other comments, I saute mustard seeds in olive oil over medium high heat until they pop, add turmeric, salt and crushed red pepper, stir for about 10 seconds, then add the chopped kale. I stir that to cover the kale with the spice/oil mixture, then add water and cover. When I'm sure it's boiling I turn down the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it sit for another few minutes.