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Un-Recipes: Kale

We love recipes here at PB&J. We love discovering new recipe sites, spending hours reading cookbooks, trying exciting new recipes, and of course, building the perfect recipes for our students! But recipes can be time consuming! Sometimes recipes include exotic ingredients or they don’t use all of what you have on hand. And sometimes you just need to put some food on the table quick and easy!

To work around this issue, we are putting together a series of what we call “un-recipes.” These are brief how-to’s on preparing and serving some of the ingredients we are working with this summer.

First up: KALE! Kale is a PB&J favorite, as it is often one of the more transformative foods for our students. Often when we introduce students to kale we get a chorus of “ewwwww” and “yuuuuck!” Honestly, we get it, it can be tough, very green, and even kind of looks like mini-alien-trees. But by the end of our classes we have kids begging for more!

What is it?

Kale is a leafy green in the same family as broccoli, cabbage, and collard greens. It has a mildly bitter-sweet flavor, and it can be a little chewy (though the younger it is, the more tender and sweet it is).

What are 3 good ways to eat it?

As a salad.

If you can get younger, small kale (3-4 inch leaves) you can just tear it up and throw it in with your lettuce or other salad greens. If the leaves are bigger, you can remove the stems, cut or tear the kale into bite-sized pieces, then massage some olive oil (about 1 tbs per bunch) into the kale to tenderize it before dressing it as you would any other salad. We love kale with a lemon vinaigrette, Caesar dressing, or even Asian-inspired vinaigrette with some soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.

Sautéed

If you’re looking for more of a hot dish to make with kale. We love sautéed kale. Start by removing the stems and chopping it into bite-sized pieces. Then, mince 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, or half an onion, 1 tsp of chili flakes, or even 1 tbs of fresh ginger, you want a little bit of something aromatic for flavor. Add 1 tbs of cooking oil to a hot skillet or sautée pan over medium-high, and let it heat for 20-30 seconds. Then add the garlic, onion and spices and let them cook until you can smell them. Then add the kale and turn the heat down to medium. Let the greens go without stirring them for 3-4 minutes, until they start to turn dark green. Then give them a good stir and let them cook until they’re all dark green and even have a few browned bits.

Braised

Braised greens are great when the weather turns a bit cooler. Start the greens the same way as sautéing, but when you would stir in the sautéing version, add about 1-2 cups of liquid (water, stock, vinegar, any liquid!) and let it cook until the liquid is mostly gone

Why is it good for me?

Kale is super healthful! It has lots of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K.

How can I get it?

You can find good kale at almost every grocery store, you can find different, colorful varieties at farmer’s markets, and it is supremely easy to grow from seed if you have a garden!

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