Foodie Friday: Kale, it’s what’s for dinner — and breakfast

November 30, 2012 | Food, Foodie Friday

Kale, kale, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Kale is one of my favorite dark leafy greens, and, surprisingly enough, it’s also a favorite among my kids. So it’s a winner all around. I will throw kale into just about anything. And to prove I’m not kidding, how about this breakfast smoothie recipe:

1 cup almond milk
1 banana
1 tablespoon of almond butter
1 big handful of raw kale

Pure green deliciousness. I’m not kidding. If you can get past the electric green color, you will be pleasantly surprised. I also put kale in green juice, but that’s a whole other blog post.

Mainly I put kale with pasta in order to get my kids to eat it. I have created a seemingly endless array of crazy kale and pasta combinations. It started with beans and greens, but we have expanded to oh so many different combinations, one better than the next.

So…Beans and greens. So easy. So delicious. So healthy.

Beans and Greens
Like my Stone Soup recipe, this one changes every time I make it, depending on what I have in the pantry and fridge. Here’s one version:

1 big batch of kale, rinsed, tough stems removed, cut into wide ribbons
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
A handful of sundried tomatoes, soaked in boiling water to reconstitute and then sliced
(If I don’t have sundried tomatoes, I’ll just use a can of diced tomatoes. Another easy and delicious option. In fact, my kids prefer canned or fresh tomatoes to sundried.)
Baby bella mushroom, sliced
Six cloves of garlic, thinnly sliced
A splash of white wine
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound pasta, something short and chunky — ditalini, farfalle, shells, even rigatoni
Parmesan cheese (for the table, or skip for vegan version)

Put a pot of water on to boil. Meanwhile, prep the rest of your ingredients. When water comes to a boil, salt it and toss in kale to blanch quickly. Just a minute or so. Then drain and set aside. (Keep the water so you can boil the pasta in the same water/pot.)

In a large frying pan, add a swirl of olive oil and heat the garlic slices.
Add mushrooms and sundried tomatoes and saute for a bit over medium heat.
Don’t allow garlic to brown.
(Around now you should be putting the pasta into the already boiling, kale-scented pasta water.)

Add the beans to the frying pan and saute a minute or so more.
Throw in a splash of wine (if you like) or a splash of veggie or chicken broth.
When the pasta is close to done, add the kale to the saute pan.
Season with salt and pepper.
If it seems dry, take a little pasta water and add it to the saute pan.

Drain the pasta when it’s al dente and add it to the saute pan, if it’s big enough.
Otherwise, dump all of it into the serving bowl.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese on the side.

Add a nice salad and some crusty bread and you have an awesome dinner. (And at our house, the meat eaters had a link of chicken-pesto sausage on the side. Olivia and I had a tofu sausage, but it really didn’t need it.) You could also skip the pasta and make this as a side dish.

Most recently, however, I made a kale recipe that was declared the all time favorite version by the children. This one included butternut squash. Here are the basics:

Kale with Squash
Cube butternut squash, toss with olive oil, roast for about 20 minutes in 425 degree oven.
Blanch washed, trimmed kale in pasta water for about three minutes.  Meanwhile, saute some diced onions in EVOO. Strain out kale and add to saute pan. Cook pasta. When everything is done, toss squash with kale mixture and serve on top of pasta. Feel free to add some toasted walnuts or pine nuts and grated cheese when it reaches the table. Yum.

Still have more kale to use. How about this?

Kale Chips
Preheat over to 250 degrees.
Wash kale leaves, remove center stems, dry thoroughly.
Toss with a little olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt.
Place on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until crispy.

So there you have it: Kale, the wonder veggie. Do you have any favorite kale recipes?



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