Learn how to cook kale in a hurry. Plus we’re going to share with you the different types of kale, the benefits of eating kale raw and also cooking kale. Then, we’ll share some delicious recipes and simple ways to add kale to your diet.
While we’ve all been told for years now to eat our greens, it is surprising how few greens people eat. Sure, salads are an easy no-brainer, but for whatever reason cooking greens seems to be more intimidating. But trust me, nothing could be easier.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Health Benefits of Kale
- Is Kale Good For You
- Different Types of Kale
- What to do With Kale
- How to Cook Kale
- RECIPE: Kale Sauteed with Shiitakes
We have so much to share with you about kale. However, if you are just here to learn how to cook kale, then keep scrolling down until you see the heading “How to Cook with Kale”. We will show you how to saute kale, how to steam kale and how to roast kale. You’ll know every possible way to cook kale.
Health Benefits of Kale
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense plants. It’s packed with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A and vitmamin K. It’s also an excellent resource of magnesium and at least 45 different polyphenols.
Kale is Packed with Nutrients
Dark leafy greens are packed with a mind-blowing amount of nutrients. To include: minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium, tons of fiber and lots of disease-fighting phytonutrients.
The thing is, learning how to cook kale can be a gateway to adding more greens to your diet. You don’t need to make radical alterations to the way you eat. Just start adding a side of cooked kale with your dinners. Yes, it’s that easy.
Kale is Full of Antioxidants
When it comes to ranking foods for antioxidants, did you know kale comes out on top for vegetables? A testing procedure used by the USDA to determine the antioxidant capacity of fruits and vegetables gives the highest ORAC rating of vegetables to kale.
The ORAC value of kale is 1770 (the next best vegetable is spinach with an ORAC value of 1260.)
The more ORAC units per serving, the greater the food is at combating free radicals that can damage cells. Free radicals can also trigger inflammation that may lead to a flare-up of symptoms if you have an inflammatory condition. And can accelerate the aging process both inside your body and outside, including more wrinkles.
Is Kale Good For You?
Yes, kale is healthy and yes, kale is good for you! Calorie per calorie, dark leafy greens deliver the most abundant and broadest spectrum of nutrients. This is compared to just about any other foods in the world, making them perfect to incorporate in clean recipes.
Think about what your normally eat. Then ask yourself, “Can I add a green with that?” If the answer is YES, then grab your greens out and cook kale by steaming, sauteing or roasting. Don’t worry, we’re sharing with you the three main ways to cook kale below.
Kale is a superfood. Which means, that kale is bursting with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and fats. We try to add cooked kale to our dinners at least three times a week.
Different Types of Kale
Did you know that there are only three main different types of kale but several varieties to choose from? Today, I am going to share with you the 3 kinds we typically use in recipes. But be sure to experiment if you find some of these varieties in the grocery story.
If you are a gardener, then please plant many different types of kale. They are all delicious and plus, the more the merrier. The many different types of kale have a different flavor and purpose.
1. Lacinto Kale (also known as Dinosaur Kale)
We love lacinto kale in salads. Just be sure to take the hearty vine out of the middle by using a paring knife. The leaves are soft and supple and make a perfect addition to most salads. Some people call this “tuscan kale” or “tuscan” cabbage. We love calling lacinto kale by the old name “dinosaur kale”.
The flavor of lacinto kale is mild and flavorful.
2: Curly Kale
This type of kale is the most commonly found in supermarkets and farmer’s markets. Curly Kale is easy to identify because it looks like romaine lettuce that’s been curled at the end. It has a peppery flavor and can be a bit pungent raw. We prefer to saute, steam or roast this kale.
3. Redbor Kale
Deep red in purple, the Redbor Kale it likely the easiest to identify. Most people use this for garnishes — but here at Clean Cuisine, we don’t believe plants are just a garnish. Perfect for sauteing, this Redbor Kale has a lovely flavor and is so pretty too.
4. Siberian Kale
Siberan Kale is a little harder to find, but thankfully our local Publix is now carrying it in the organic section. This type of kale is also very easy to grow. Of all the kale varieties, Siberian Kale is the sweetest with a little peppery taste.
There are MANY different types of kale, but these are my 4 personal favorites. We will use some of these varieties in the recipes below. Our easy recipes with kale can also be found throughout this post. Just be sure to read the caption at the bottom of each image so you don’t miss our easy recipes with kale.
What to Do With Kale
If you’re like me and go to the produce section of the grocery store and just start putting things in the cart, then this section is for you. I love the beautiful look of the different types of kale that our grocer carries. So, I almost always have a bag of fresh kale in the fridge waiting to be used.
So, what to do with kale. Here are a few quick ideas on what to do with kale that might be sitting in your fridge easy to be used.
- Add it to Pasta. Chop up 1 cup of kale and toss it with a pasta dish. They go so well together and balance each other out.
- Make Kale Chips. You can roast them (see recipe below for how to roast kale) and we’re going to share an Airfyer Kale Chip recipe soon. Stay tuned.
- Serve with a Salad. Add any of the different types of kale to a big green salad. Top with some of our favorite salad ideas here for the perfect kale dinner salad.
- Add to a Soup. You can easily steam kale at the end of making a big pot of soup. Just chop the kale, place it on top of the completed soup over medium h eat. Add a lid and wait about 5 minutes. Steamed kale can easily be stirred into your soup.
- Make a Kale Side Dish. There are so many easy recipes using kale. Check here for our top recipes.
How to Cook Kale
One of the easiest ways to get a daily serving of kale (or any dark leafy green) is to get in the habit of making a green smoothie every day. Try our Blueberry and Kale Smoothie.
However, once you learn how to cook kale, you will be set for life. Do not be shy, scared or concerned. Kale is fairly inexpensive. So, if you mess up – just go grab another bunch and try again.
How to Saute Kale
I am not sure that any one way to cook kale is considered the easier. Honestly, they are all pretty easy. However, learning how to saute kale is as easy as sauteing onions and garlic. Low-to-medium heat and don’t leave the burner.
When you are leaning how to saute kale, my best suggestion is to cut and trim. I almost always take out the middle vein with a paring knife. Then, I chop the kale before adding to a saute pain.
Before you saute kale, just turn on a skillet to medium heat. Add a little extra virgin olive oil and add the kale leaves. Again, remove the bigger stem pieces.
Saute the kale on medium heat, stirring frequently until the kale begins to wilt. Toss in a handful of sliced almonds and saute until the kale is cooked through.
However, it is nice for variety to know how to cook kale too. Luckily, cooking kale is beyond simple.
How to Steam Kale
The easiest and least messy way to cook kale is to simply steam it. You can cook collard greens, beet greens and all other greens the same way.
When you first learn how to steam kale, you are going to be so excited. Steaming Kale will become an automatic thought. When I’m making a large pot of chili or spaghetti, adding some kale to steam in at the end is second nature.
How to Steam Kale in a Stock Pot of Soup or Chili
To steam kale with an existing dish, just leave your pot over medium heat. Add the chopped kale to the top of the pot, but do not stir it in. Add a lid and let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes. When it’s done, the kale will wilt and be tender to the touch. Stir it in and turn off the heat. Your meal is done.
How to Steam Kale in a Steamer Basket
To steam kale by itself, just heat water in a steamer and bring to a boil. We suggest cutting the leaves off and removing the stems. Add the kale to the top of the steamer and steam the kale for 4 minutes.
You can then drizzle the cooked kale with a little extra virgin olive oil, hemp oil or flax oil. For a special treat, try a little bit of black truffle oil. Or, if you love the citrusy flavors, try lemon juice, red pepper flakes and Himalayan unrefined sea salt.
How to Roast Kale
Have you ever roasted kale? If not, this little tutorial on how to roast kale it going to make you very happy.
To roast kale, all you need is a bunch of kale, some good extra virgin olive oil, a little sea salt. If you want a little heat like we do, add some cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper at the end.
How to Roast Kale: Quick and Easy
Start by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees. Then, wash the kale under cold water and dry it in a salad spinner or with paper towels.
Place the kale on a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the sea salt and slide into the oven.
When roasting kale, you don’t want to overcook it. So, be sure to stay in the kitchen and roast for about 10 minutes and then check. Roast the kale for an additional 2-5 minutes, as needed.
Kale On the Go
However, if you just want an easy grab-and-go kale snack be sure to check out my all-time favorite raw, vegan kale chips. We love Rhythm Chips. Ranch Flavor and the Original are my favorites. Although the kale chips are a bit pricey, they are worth it occasionally.
RECIPE: Sauteed Kale with Shiitake Mushrooms
With just a few simple ingredients, this easy kale recipe is a sure hit. It’s easy to add to any dinner as a side dish, or add your protein right to the saute.
Sautéed Kale with Shiitake Mushrooms
If you have a little more time on your hands and want to prepare a special kale dish then try this recipe for sautéed kale with shitake mushrooms and dates. Combining meaty shitake mushrooms with sweet chopped dates might sound a bit strange, but the winning duo delivers a sweet and savory result that is absolutely incredible.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 2-4 1x
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves crushed garlic
- 8 ounces shitake mushrooms, chopped
- unrefined sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (omit for AIP)
- 12 ounces kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup vegetable broth or white wine (try this vegetable broth recipe for Whole30 or this one for AIP)
- ½ cup chopped pitted dates
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic and mushrooms.
- Season with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.
- Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 6 minutes.
- Add the broth (or wine) and chopped dates.
- Bring to a boil and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
- Season with addition salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.