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THE INDOMITABLE AND TRENDY KALE

KALE AND SAUSAGE CROSTINI

Oh kale, I love thee, let me count the ways.

Kale, the veggie titan that’s killing it in every Farmer’s Market and produce department. Thousands of pounds are consumed and purchased worldwide, as it’s the trendiest and most hyped leafy green on the veggie Vogue parade in recent years.

Once unappealing and certainly given the bypass, it’s now the number one contender and much revered by all. Packing a big wallop nutritionally, it’s a giant among veggies, as it’s brimming with vitamin K, C, A and B6.

So, get your kale on and try some of these tried and true recipes with a few new takes, interesting enough to give them a try.

KALE, GARBANZO AND SWEET POTATO SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING

 

This salad is not only an incredible delicious lunch or light supper, but it has every healthy component to make it a total superstar for your recipe arsenal.

 

 

 

 

2 sweet potatoes peeled and quartered into medium sized cubes

1 can of chickpeas – drained, rinsed and dried

2 shallots – peeled and sliced

1 bag of organic kale – chopped roughly

1 cup of quinoa

2 cups of chicken stock

1 bay leaf

½ TSP smoked sweet paprika

¼ TSP of cinnamon

1 TSP of ground cumin

½ TSP of ground coriander

¼ TSP ground powdered ginger

¼ TSP of garlic powder

 

Dressing

3 TBSP tahini paste

1 ½ TSP of ginger paste – Gourmet Garden brand – (sold at most supermarkets)

1 garlic clove – peeled

4 TBSP lemon juice

3 TBSP EVOO – extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ cups of water

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 heaped TBSP of clover honey

In a bowl, add the pieces of sweet potato and the rinsed chickpeas. Sprinkle the cumin, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, garlic powder, powdered ginger, salt and pepper. Incorporate about 3 TBSP of olive oil and mix well. Dump the contents onto a cookie sheet, lined with foil and bake for about 15 minutes and half way toss to ensure even browning. Return to the oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until the sweet potato is cooked – ensure that the chickpeas don’t burn or get too crispy.

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions with the chicken stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper – fluff when done and set aside to cool. Use only half of the quinoa and reserve the rest for another use.

In a blender add the ingredients for the dressing and process until creamy.

In a large bowl add the washed kale, add the cooked veggies, the sliced shallots and drizzle the tahini dressing on top tossing well to coat.

 

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS

Chopped avocado

Toasted slivered almonds, walnuts or toasted pine nuts

Sliced English cucumber

Dried sweet cranberries

Cherry tomatoes

Feta cheese

WHITE BEAN AND TUSCAN KALE SOUP

Ribolita

One of the most common uses of kale is in soup and potages, as it’s a very earthy green that lends itself to long periods of cooking. The gamut of flavorings and ingredients makes it a veritable chef’s paradise. In Italy, this hearty soup is called La Robillita, a favorite of Tuscany containing cannellini beans, kale and leftover bread to thicken the soup. This is a much lighter version and who says it can’t be prepared as a summer soup?

 

1 medium sweet onion – chopped

2 garlic cloves – finely chopped

½ cup of chopped pancetta

3 cups of dried cannellini beans

2 carrots – medium chopped

2 ribs of celery – medium chopped

2 parsnips – medium chopped

1/8 TSP red pepper flakes

1 28 oz can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes

2 cups of shredded kale

¼ cup of white wine

3 bay leaves

½ cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese

Bunch fresh basil – chiffonade chop

5 cups of low sodium chicken stock

1 TBSP Better than Bouillon

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

3 slices or stale bread – baguette or sourdough is best (crust removed)

Soak the beans overnight, drain and rinse them. In a large pot, cover them with fresh water, bring to a boil and simmer them for about 1 ½ hours till very soft (don’t add salt). Remove them from the heat and let them cool at room temp.

In a large Dutch oven, heat up about 3 TBSP of olive oil and add the chopped onion and pancetta. Sweat for about 3-4 minutes. Incorporate the carrots, parsnips, celery and garlic and cook about 5-6 minutes over med/low heat until the veggies are somewhat transparent.  Add the tomato puree and mix – incorporate the tomatoes, kale and mix well with the mirepoix. Add the chicken stock and bouillon, bay leaves, Kosher salt and pepper and bring up to a boil.

Meanwhile, place half of the cooked cannellini into a food processor, add about ½ ladle of the cooking liquid a pinch of salt and puree till smooth.   Add them to the soup, along with the leftover cooked beans and half the basil.  Simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Check for seasonings, add the rest of the basil and serve with slices of toasted, buttered bread and some fresh shredded parm if desired.

 

KALE SLAW WITH PEANUT DRESSING

Kale makes for wonderful slaw. In this slaw cabbage isn’t singing backup and kale is the superstar. This isn’t the typical, creamy cabbage slaw. This take, sticks of jicama, apples and dried cranberries compliment the kale superbly well and what kicks it out of the park is the Asian peanut dressing.

 

 

 

1 bag of baby kale

1 red apple – sliced

Jicama – cut into matchsticks

1 shallot – chopped finely

½ cup of dried sweet cranberries

¼ cup of chopped parsley

Peanut dressing

2 TBSP of creamy peanut butter

2 TBSP fresh lime juice

2 TBSP soy sauce

1 TSP honey

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 garlic clove – minced through a garlic press

2 TBSP of water

2 TBSP rice vinegar

NOTE– This dressing is perfect for any salad, kebobs, satay sticks and a delicious dipping sauce for pot stickers.

Chop the kale leaves roughly and place them in a bowl. Add the jicama matchsticks, parsley, slices of apples and the cranberries. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and add a bit more water if it’s too thick. Add the dressing to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Kale leaves are coarse, so the dressing should sit for a while so they absorb the flavors.

Optional additions – walnuts, slivered almonds, red onion instead of the shallot.

 

KALE AND SAUSAGE CROSTINI

KALE AND SAUSAGE CROSTINI

The use of kale on a crostini may sound unconventional, but once you prepare these, they will be a staple for any party or family gettogether. They are outrageous good and preparation is a cinch.

 

 

 

 

1 bag of baby kale – chopped

2 cloves of garlic – minced

1 pinch of red pepper flakes or ¼ TSP of Aleppo pepper

1 piece of creamy brie or camembert cheese

2 spicy Italian sausages – or any sausage of choice

Dash of Worcestershire

1 baguette sliced into rounds

Prick the sausages and place them whole on a grill. Cook them on all sides for about 5 minutes till browned. Allow them to rest for about 5 minutes and then slice them into rounds. Add a little olive oil to a frying pan and add the garlic. Sautee for a few minutes and add the chopped kale and sauté the kale till soft, add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and season generously with salt and pepper – about 10 minutes and let it cool.

Brush some olive oil into the slices of baguette and place some of the sautéed kale and the sausage rounds on top of each slice. Top with the brie and place under the broiler, keeping an eye on the crostini until the cheese has melted, being careful that they don’t burn.

 

CREAMED KALE

creamed kale

If you’ve ever had creamed spinach as a side for Thanksgiving, substitute it with this dish. It may appear a bit labor intensive but the results are so spectacular, its guaranteed to make your family and guests raving lunatics. Rest assured you’ll be asked to make this dish a staple on your holiday table. Can be made 2 days ahead.

 

1 PKG of Tuscan baby kale – chopped thoroughly

1 ½ cups of heavy cream

1 medium sweet onion – chopped finely

2 TBSP unsalted butter

1 TBSP honey

1 TBSP of olive oil

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

In a large pot melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onions and sweat with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 10-15 minutes stirring often. Add the kale and wilt for about 10 minutes tossing. Add the cream honey and season with salt and pepper. Coat the kale well and simmer on med/low for about 35-40 minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t stick. You will know it’s ready when the sauce has thickened. Cool slightly and place half of the creamed kale in a food processor and blend till very creamy. Add to the kale in the pot and mix well with the contents. Serve warm and get ready to howl.

KALE AND ROASTED GARLIC PIZZA

kale pizza

 

Adding kale to your pie makes for a life changing experience. It’s perfectly ok to use a prebaked pizza crust, especially for those busy week nights. The nuttiness of the roasted garlic combined with the ricotta, makes almost an Alfredo-like sauce on the bottom. Feel free to use any other ingredients such as Italian sausage, salami, caramelized onions and shitake mushrooms.

 

1 cup of ricotta cheese

1 whole head of garlic

½ TSP of dried oregano

1 cup of fresh grated parmesan

1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese

1/2 PKG of baby kale – chopped roughly

½ TSP red pepper flakes

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350F TO ROAST GARLIC

Cut the head of garlic in half and place it in a large foil square. Drizzle generously with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and close the foil package tightly. Bake for about 55 minutes till the garlic is soft. Allow the garlic to cool.

In a bowl put the ricotta cheese, oregano, parmesan and a pinch of salt. Squeeze the garlic cloves into a board and mash into a paste, reserving the oil. Add the smashed roasted garlic paste to the ricotta and also incorporate the roasted garlic oil. Mix everything together.

Place the ricotta mixture on the bottom of the pizza crust. Add with the parmesan cheese and add some more oregano and the red pepper flakes.

Toss the kale in a large bowl with some olive oil and salt and coat well.

Place the kale leaves on top of the mozzarella.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 425

Place the cookie sheet or a pizza stone in oven to heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and spray some olive oil. Place the prepared pizza on top of the hot cookie sheet (this will make the crust crispy). Place the cookie sheet back in the oven and bake for about 15-18 minutes, till the kale is crispy and the cheese has melted. Top with chopped fresh tomatoes and serve.

SPANISH CHICKPEA AND KALE STEW

kale and garbanzo stew

 

The use of chickpeas in Spanish rustic cuisine is a staple in many provinces. Kale is incorporated to add creaminess and makes this an easy weeknight dish. Canned garbanzos are great option, just ensure they are rinsed well. The quantities can be doubled, as it keeps well in the fridge for about 1 week.

 

1 can of garbanzos – drained and rinsed

1 small pkg of baby kale – chopped roughly

1 medium sized onion – chopped finely

1 TBSP tomato paste

½ TSP of Aleppo pepper

1 bay leaf

½ cup of low sodium chicken stock

5 garlic cloves – slightly smashed with the skins on

½ TSP smoked sweet Spanish paprika

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

In a deep sauce pan heat 2 TBSP of olive oil pan add the onion and bay leaf with a pinch of salt. Sauté for about 7-10 minutes and throw in the garlic cloves. Sauté a couple of minutes. Add the paprika and the tomato paste and mix well. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas and toss well with the sofrito. Incorporate the kale and the chicken stock. You may need to add a bit more stock but don’t make it too soupy. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve in bowls alone or over brown/white rice.

EASY VEGGIE SOUP

easy veggie soup

 

There is nothing more satisfying than a warm bowl of soup to ward off the chill of cold winter days. The dog days of summer are coming to an end and this soup can be put together in a very short time, making it perfect for a week night. It’s more brothy than chunky and any ingredients and herbs can be added, yet the simplicity of these ingredients make it equally nourishing and flavorful. It freezes beautifully as well.

 

1 can of cannellini or garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed

1 bag of baby kale – chopped roughly

1 onion – chopped roughly

2 garlic cloves – sliced

2 stalks of celery – chopped into small squares and celery leaves

2 carrots – scrapped and cut into small squares

1 bay leaf

4 cups of low sodium chicken stock

Large bunch of fresh basil – keeping and chopping the stems

Chopped parsley – keeping and chopping the stems

Fresh parmesan – garnish

In a medium sized pot add about 2 TBSP of olive oil. Add the onions with a pinch of salt, bay leaf, sliced garlic and chopped basil and parsley stems. Sauté for about 8 minutes. Throw in the celery, celery leaves and carrots. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the beans, chicken stock, chopped basil and parsley leaves. Simmer for about 30 minutes till veggies are tender. Finish with some parmesan and additional parsley.

NOTE

A poached egg on top is a marvelous addition to this soup.

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