Kale is a rich source of vitamin goodness – and it's tastier than you think.
From chips to salads, soups, smoothies and dips, kale is a versatile cruciferous veggie full of goodness. It’s packed vitamins A, C and K, and is a good way to add more fibre and calcium to your diet.
There are a few different varieties but the most common in your markets will be curly kale and a smoother, longer-leaf alternative. Curly kale is best in dishes where the kale is slightly wilted or cooked, whereas the smoother Tuscan kale or ‘dinosaur’ kale is a little more tender and can be delicious raw through salads as well as a traditional Italian minestrone.
Kale can be gritty if it’s not properly washed. Give it a few good rinses and drain well or run through a salad spinner. You may want to remove the thick centre stalk on some of the larger leaves, particularly if you’re serving it raw, as they can get very chewy. Slicing kale into ribbon shapes works nicely through salads and soups or just tear it up into pieces.
How to enjoy kale
1. Kale chips
Curly kale works well for this dish. Preheat your oven to around 180°C. Wash and dry kale, removing the large centre stalks, and tear into pieces. Ensure your kale is completely dry to avoid soggy chips. Drizzle with olive oil, dust with some sea salt and massage through the leaves. Lay kale pieces out on a lined baking tray, making sure pieces aren’t overlapping and pop into the oven for around 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them for your first bake as they can go from cooked to burnt fast!
2. Crunchy kale salad
Wash and slice a bunch of fresh Tuscan kale and throw in a large salad bowl. Add a grain of your choice – pre-cooked barley works nicely – plus some sliced avocado, ripe chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumber and some thinly sliced Spanish onion. Season to taste with some good quality olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
3. Nourishing kale smoothie
Already enjoying a daily green smoothie? Swap your spinach for kale to mix up your morning routine. For a simple blend, add a few washed kale leaves, a cup of blueberries or a banana, and a cup of almond milk (or coconut water, or plain water if you prefer) to a blender and blitz your way to goodness. Make it your own with your favourite fruits, and experiment with cinnamon, honey, chia seeds, dates or nuts.
4. Wilted kale and almond salad
A super simple salad. Add chopped kale to a pan with a little water and bring to the boil for a minute or two until kale has slightly wilted, then drain and cool. Toss through slivered almonds, freshly cooked golden beets and some crumbled, reduced fat feta. Drizzle with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and serve.
5. Minestrone with kale
Adding a bunch of kale to your minestrone is a great way to bulk up the fibre, and coupled with Italian beans will make for a rich tasting soup.
Put a large pot over low heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and lightly sauté one onion, sliced fennel bulb, two chopped carrots, one chopped celery stalk, one garlic clove and two chopped zucchini. Add a bunch of sliced kale and once it has wilted, add four cups of water and a tin of diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for around 30 minutes. Add a tin of borlotti beans and cook, uncovered for another 20 minutes before adding some handfuls of freshly chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and allow to cool slightly before serving.
6. Kale frittata
This makes a great weeknight dinner served with salad, and leftovers double as an easy workday lunch.
Warm a heavy-based pan and sauté a sliced leek in olive oil until it’s soft and sweet. Add around four cups of sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté before adding in a few handfuls of washed, chopped kale. Cook until it softens and remove from heat. Whisk six eggs, a dash of milk, lots of fresh parsley and salt and pepper and pour into the pan. Heat the pan over low heat for a few minutes and bake in a low set oven (100°C) for around 40 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve with a salad.
7. Kale and ricotta dip
Mix up your conventional spinach dip with this tasty alternative.
Add 1 bunch of washed, chopped and de-stalked kale to a saucepan over medium heat with ¼ cup of water until kale softens completely. Once it has cooled, transfer to a food processor, adding one cup reduced fat ricotta, squeeze of lemon juice, salt, pinch of red pepper flakes and combine until smooth. Serve dip with blanched snow peas.