Food School: a 31 Day Course (day 21 Cooking with Kale)

Cooking with Kale

On Day 20 of Food School–I wrote about how to clean kale and prep it for meals.

What is kale? and what are the benefits of eating it?

  • Kale is a leafy green vegetable related to broccoli and cabbage.
  • One cup of chopped kale has just 33 calories.
  • One cup has 9% of the RDA of calcium (this helps answer the questions about my kids getting enough calcium.)
  • Loaded with tons of vitamins:  206% of vitamin A, 134 % of vitamin C, and 684% of vitamin K, these antioxidants are what gives kale the bragging rights of being a cancer fighting food.  
  • A good source of the minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
  •  Kale is also great for eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.  (I think my eyes might be too far gone for kale to help–but it can’t hurt.)

How to incorporate kale into your diet.

Personally I do not sit and eat a plate of kale.  I love the taste and texture but haven’t yet been able to eat a full kale salad or smoothie.  But I don’t need to–an neither do you!  To get the benefits of kale and to begin using it in my cooking–I thought of using kale like onions!  I wouldn’t eat a plate of onions–but I do love caramelized onions as a garnish? condiment? I’m not sure the best way to describe it but –I use kale the same way.

How I eat kale.

  • first I clean a bunch of kale ahead of time so that I can easily add it to my foods.
  • I steam kale with onions and red peppers–I enjoy this just by itself–but have added a little balsamic vinegar and feta cheese to make a more substantial side dish.  (I don’t eat cheese but my family does–preparing food with cheese sprinkled on top–is a way to make everyone happy and respectful of our different food choices.)
  • Sautéed kale with apples, walnuts and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Note:  when you cook balsamic vinegar that taste changes to a earthy, full bodied . . . almost sauce (but not quite).  I have a recipe here for brown butter sauce.  Note:  this is a more complex recipe than I would normally make–it was for a contest . . . which I did win!
  • I add minced kale to my spaghetti sauce.
  • I make kale chips.  Simple toss them in a little bit of olive oil, add some really good salt, lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake @ 275 F for 20 minutes, flip them 1/2 way through cooking.  The kids love these as a snack.  I often use kale chips to garnish a meal–makes it look fancy and the kids love that!
  • I buy baby kale from the store and add it to my salads.
  • I cook polenta and layer the kale, pepper, onion mix.  This is a great make ahead meal.  
  • I add it randomly to my soups.
  • I add it to quiche.  You can find my quiche recipe here and another one here.

Ok, so have I convinced you how easy it is to eat kale?  to just try it maybe?  If you have any questions at all about my recipes, how to make polenta, or where to get more info about kale–leave a message in the comments.

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cookbook coming soon

Books I suggest: The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat,

Young Readers Edition The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet

Some of my friends have also joined the 31 day challenge:  

Anastacia Maness

Racquel Narciso…/

Pamela Hodges

I’m linking up to these blogs



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7 replies
  1. katina vaselopulos
    katina vaselopulos says:

    Renee, what a great post!

    I love kale and enjoyed all your suggestions and information.
    I used to sauté it. Now we prefer it as a salad. I grow kale in the garden, so it is available from May to November…even longer some times. We like it very thinly sliced, drizzled with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and wild cherry concentrate, dried cherries or fruit of the season, crumbled feta or goat cheese, sautéed thinly cut onion slices and garlic, and with toasted or raw walnuts. Left in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to even a day to wilt is more comforting.
    I have missed so much for months…So much behind. Life and my book took front seats. Trying to catch up with Tribe, slowly.
    All best!

    • Renee
      Renee says:

      We eat kale several times a week–but since it does have so much Vitamin A–which is fat soluble–meaning it stay in your body longer vs. Vitamin C which you just pee out . . .

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

      Be Blessed.

  2. katina vaselopulos
    katina vaselopulos says:

    Renee, I grew up with kale. We had it in our garden in Greece. It was not the curly type though, and my mom boiled it and served with an olive oil/lemon dressing, olives, and feta cheese.

    Here in Chicago, I grow the curly type and love it in a salad.

    I am sorry I missed you 31 day “school!” Hopefully when things get back to normal of me, I will be able read these food posts. I love cooking…have for all my life.

    Blessings to you too!


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