Kale is packed full of vitamins and minerals, making it a superfood that you need in your diet. We’ll show you how to prepare kale in four different ways.
Kale is a superfood that is packed full of nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K, along with potassium, calcium, and fiber. It has been hailed as an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Kale is a dark green vegetable with long, curled leaves that grow out of a hardy stalk. It has quite a strong taste, similar to spinach, and is in season during the winter. There are three types of kale with slightly different characteristics: curly kale has ruffled leaves, is a dark green color and has the strongest flavor, dinosaur or Tuscan kale has a lighter stalk, slightly sweet taste, and dark blue-green leaves and finally, ornamental kale or savoy can be white, green or purple and has a lighter flavor than curly kale.
Kale can be used in a variety of dishes such as soups, salads, or even smoothies and it can be cooked in several ways such as steamed, blanched, sautéed, and boiled. When buying kale, go for crispy, tender leaves that look fresh and moist, larger leaves have a stronger taste. Store unwashed in the refrigerator in a reusable/resealable bag or container and it will last for up to three days, the flavor will become more bitter the older it is.
We’ll discuss four nutritious ways to prepare kale and give you some recipe ideas on what to eat it with.
Prepping Kale for Cooking
Preparing kale for cooking is quick and easy, but needs to be done in order to fully enjoy this leafy vegetable. Check out these simple steps:
- Use a knife to remove the kale from the center stalk, at the base of each leaf.
- Wash thoroughly in cold water, ensuring all dirt and grit are removed from the leaves. Pat dry using a dish towel.
- The kale is ready to be torn or chopped into pieces, depending on the recipe. As a guide 12 oz. of kale is equal to 12 cups of torn kale, or four servings.
How to Prepare Kale: 3 Pot-Based Methods
There are three different ways to prepare kale that require the use of a pot and hot water. You can choose to steam it, blanch it, or boil it.
Steaming kale is quick and allows the leaves to retain their nutrition content while turning a brighter green color.
- Fill a large pot with half an inch of water and place a metal colander inside so that the handles sit on top of the water and the base doesn’t touch the water.
- Heat the water on medium heat and bring it to a simmer.
- Cut the kale as desired and place it into the colander, cover. Steam for around five minutes, until the desired texture is reached, add more water to the pot if needed.
- Carefully remove the lid. Remove the kale with tongs and serve.
Blanching vegetables is when they are scalded in boiling water or steam for a very short time, the vegetables are then submerged in cold water to cool and stop cooking. It is a good method for preserving color and flavor.
- Bring a large pot to a rolling boil and add the kale.
- Blanch for three minutes and then use tongs to remove the kale and place in a bowl of cold water.
- Drain the water away, squeeze out any excess water, and serve.
Boiling kale is quick and easy, but doesn’t retain as much nutrition as other methods.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, add the kale and cover. Boil for five minutes.
- Drain well in a colander.
How to Prepare Kale in a Pan
Sautéed kale has a slightly different flavor to the previous techniques and the texture is slightly crunchier. This is the ideal method for stir-fries or for a standalone side dish.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium-sized frying pan on medium heat.
- Add the kale and cook until lightly browned, adding any seasoning such as garlic and salt and pepper.
- Remove from the heat and serve.
Great Ways to Use Kale
Kale is a tasty, versatile vegetable that can be used in a wide range of dishes. For something hearty and warming go for Tuscan white bean and kale soup, or check out our 30 best soup recipes for the winter months which includes a recipe for zucchini and kale soup.
Alternatively, for a crunchy, healthy snack try making air fryer kale chips. For something a bit lighter you could try this healthy spring salad, just ensure you steam or blanch the kale first. Kale doesn’t just have to be eaten, it can be made into a healthy drink too. Try our green juice recipe, packed full of vitamins from ginger, apple, celery, and cucumber.
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