Cooking with kale

Learn how to integrate this healthy new trend into your soups, salads and more.

Kale, quinoa and avocado salad (photo credit: GOURMETKOSHERCOOKING.COM)
Kale, quinoa and avocado salad
Kale is all the rage and a huge food trend. From kale chips to kale salads, it’s showing up in convenience stores as a snack and on menus at the finest restaurants. It has tremendous health benefits as a green leafy vegetable with lots of vitamins and great taste too... I’ve jumped on board and have been testing and tasting kale recipes for weeks. I like to use the big green leaves in salads (remove the stem and core) and the smaller kale leaves in soups and sauteed like spinach. Here are a few recipes that I am making over and over again.
Kale Chips
Serves 4
1 bunch kale, rinsed and dried well (about 10 ounces)
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Any seasonings you like; crushed red pepper, onion powder, seasoning salt, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, etc.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Remove and discard the thick stems of the kale and tear the leaves into large pieces. Spread the leaves in a single layer on 2 large cookie sheets. Spray the leaves with nonstick cooking spray to coat lightly. Sprinkle with salt and any seasoning of your choice. Bake just until the kale chips are crisp but not browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets on wire racks. 

Lentil, Kosher Sausage, and Kale Soup
Serves 6
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound kosher Italian sausage, or kielbasa, chopped or sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
2 stems fresh rosemary
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 potato, peeled and cut into small dice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup dry wine (red or white)
6 cups chicken stock
1-1/4 cups brown lentils
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, with a wooden spoon, until browned. Add the garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, carrots, onions and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the kale and nutmeg. Add the wine to de-glaze the pot, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Stir in the chicken stock and 2 cups water and bring to boil (for thicker soup, use 2 cups less liquid). 

Stir in the lentils and cook at a low, bubbly simmer until the lentils are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the rosemary stems and bay leaves. 

Ladle the soup into bowls.
Kale in Ginger-Sesame Vinaigrette
Serves 4
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 pounds Tuscan kale, stems discarded and leaves chopped
Kosher salt
Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a medium bowl, stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and sesame seeds. In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the kale until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and cool the kale in the ice bath. Drain well and squeeze dry. Add the kale to the vinaigrette, toss to coat and season with salt.
Quinoa, Kale, and Avocado Salad
Serves 4
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Zest from 1 medium lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
3 cups chopped kale
1 large avocado, seeded, peeled and diced
Combine the quinoa, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, and after the water begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Gently simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Keeping the pan covered, let it stand for 5 minutes, or until the remaining water is absorbed. Remove the lid and gently fluff the quinoa. Set aside to cool. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked quinoa, kale and avocado. Toss with the dressing, and serve at room temperature or chilled.
Kale Caesar Salad
Serves 8
5 cups shredded baby kale
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt
Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg yolk (coddle the egg if contamination is a problem with your eggs, use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. To coddle the egg: place raw egg in boiling water for 30 seconds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup toasted breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Pinch kosher salt
For the salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine the kale, radishes and fennel. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, zest and a pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside.
For the dressing: Whisk together a pinch of kosher salt, garlic, Worcestershire, egg yolk, and olive oil. Set aside. Add a pinch of salt to a large wooden salad bowl.
Add the kale mixture to the dressing and toss to coat.
For the topping: In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs. Lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley and salt. Sprinkle on top of the salad.
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