Kale has grown on me to the point that I crave it. Thankfully, it has tons of nutrients and gives me energy. My kids–aged two and four love it too! How can that be?
Kale is a very woody vegetable that often needs a little doctoring up. I recommend starting with baby kale if you can find it in your grocery store. The triple washed baby kale at Trader Joe’s is fabulous.
However, buying regular, triple washed bagged kale is a disaster! Do not buy this or something like it:
The problem is that when regular kale is triple washed and bagged, the companies leave the stems on with the leaves. Unless you are sautéing or throwing the kale in the soup, this will be very chewy and earthy.
If you can’t find triple-washed BABY kale, this is a time when you must buy kale and wash and dry it. I learned from Jessica Seinfeld’s “Can’t Cook Book” how to properly use kale and I’ve been hooked ever since.
You must fold the kale leaves and then tear off the stems. Do not eat the stems.
The only time that I can use regular bagged kale or the stems is when I make a pesto with kale. It sounds crazy, but it’s delicious. But I still think it’s better without the stems. I like using nuts, oil, fresh herbs, garlic and the kale. I put it on pizza, pasta, chicken, with some ricotta as a dip…the list goes on and on.
Kale Pesto Recipe:
2 cups packed fresh kale
5 leaves of fresh basil
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup walnuts (lightly toasted is also good if you have the extra time)
2/3 cup EVOO
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (any kind will do–even Kraft tastes good)
First, grind the nuts and garlic with 1 TBS of the oil. Then add a handful of kale and the basil with more oil. Continue to add kale and oil until you have a nice consistency. At the end, add the cheese, salt, and pepper. I like to have the food processor going and add the oil as it purees. Then your pesto won’t separate later.
My kids love eating “green pizza.” I just put it on any pizza crust, homemade or store bought, and add some shredded mozzarella.
A great party dip is to add 1/4 cup ricotta cheese at the end and serve with pita chips.