Elevate Your Salads, Snacks, and Sides by Cooking Kale the Right Way

Elevate Your Salads, Snacks, and Sides by Cooking Kale the Right Way

Despite kale’s superfood status, this nutritious veggie can be an acquired taste, so don’t blame yourself for not loving it at first bite. Raw kale is not easy to eat. Learning how to cook kale is a total gamechanger.

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What’s the Best Way to Eat Kale?

We prefer cooking methods that make kale taste good and will send it to the dinner table quickly. The healthiest cooking method for kale is the one that’ll get you to eat it — just don’t deep-fry it!

How long should you cook kale? While that depends on the cooking method, we don’t want you to sink too much time into this. To speed up the process, we recommend you remove and dispose of the tough stems. These stems will only become tender if you cook them Southern-style, which involves stewing it between one to four hours!

For those who find the kale bitterly off-putting, we have tricks to help you mask the bitter taste.

 

Prep the Kale

For all methods below, you’ll need one bunch of fresh kale. (If kale’s bitterness is concerning for you, shop for kale with smaller, younger leaves.) Start by washing the kale. You can use a chef’s knife to remove the center stem neatly. Or, you can use your hands to tear off the leaves into small pieces.

 

1. How to Make Kale Salad

kale salad | how to cook kale

Tough kale greens need extra coaxing if you’ll be eating it raw! By massaging the kale, you break down the fibrous structure and make it tender without using heat. Adding a little acid in the form of lemon juice should help cut some of the bitterness.

  1. Make the salad dressing. A lemon-vinaigrette will do nicely: In a large bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the kale and massage until it wilts, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Dress your kale salad with other toppings like pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, chopped apple, sliced radish, garbanzo beans, etc.

Looking to elevate your massaged kale salad? Try making a massaged kale salad with carrot ginger dressing.

 

2. How to Make Sauteed Kale

kale in cooking pan | how to cook kale

Enjoy sauteed kale in under 10 minutes! By quick-cooking with a small amount of liquid, you’ll get moist, tender kale greens. A splash of vinegar enhances the flavor and helps to offset some of the natural bitterness.

  1. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  3. Crank the heat to high and add the coarse-chopped kale and ⅓ cup of broth or water—cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and cook until most of the liquid is gone. Taste test for tenderness.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Add. 1 to 2 teaspoons of vinegar (balsamic, red wine, or sherry vinegar) and mix well.

 

3. How to Make Kale Chips

kale chips | how to cook kale

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
  2. Use a paper towel to dry off the kale pieces. These pieces should be about 1 ½” in size.
  3. Spray a large baking sheet with oil. Arrange the kale pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet and spray them with more oil. Lightly season with salt.
  4. Bake the kale chips for about 10 minutes. Use tongs to flip the chips over and bake for another 10 minutes until the leaves crisp up.
  5. Season with nutritional yeast (totally optional).

 

What Dishes Go Well With Kale?

That depends on how you made the kale. A savory protein dish like salmon, shrimp, or seasoned chicken breast goes well with the massaged kale salad or sauteed kale:

If you made the kale chips, you can eat them as is or serve them with your favorite dip!

Trinh Le

About

Trinh is a registered dietitian by day, blogger at Fearless Food by night. She loves helping folks develop a better relationship with food, which includes lots of cooking, eating and learning about nutrition. When she’s not snapping mouthwatering shots of (mostly) healthy food, you can find Trinh HIIT-ing it at her local gym. Follow her on Twitter.

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