11 innovative healthy recipes that make kale exciting again
But before you totally abandon it for a new relationship with romaine, remember: It's one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there, with benefits in every bunch—like vitamins C, K, A, and cancer-fighting carotenoids.
So, we found 11 innovative recipes from top food bloggers that make kale fun again. No salads (just a slaw!), no smoothies, and absolutely no kale chips. Now, please pass the Sweet Potato and Kale Bites. —Sarah Sarway
(Photo: Kale Burgers from Instinctively Raw)
“There are few foods I don’t secretly want to infuse with kale—and granola, no matter how delicious on its own—is no exception,” says Gena Hamshaw of Choosing Raw. By combining the kale with ‘buckwheaties’ and cacao, you’ve got the perfect way to eat your greens in the AM. Plus, “If there is a kale-phobe in your life, this recipe might be the game changer.”
Visit Choosing Raw for the recipe.
(Photo: Choosing Raw)
Julia Tambor, the blogger behind Beauty and Some Beef, adapted this recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest cookbook, It’s All Good. “It’s a great way to use up your leftover quinoa, or even worth a new batch altogether,” she says. “It’s filling, delicious and of course good for me.” And it totally is—with over 8 grams of protein between the quinoa and the egg, kale just got another boost.
Visit Beauty and Some Beef for the recipe.
(Photo: Beauty and Some Beef)
Although we promised a salad-free selection of ways to use the favorite green, we had to sneak this one in, since you can use it as a condiment, too. "This is a salad that I will make again and again, I have no doubt," raves Tina Jeffers, of Scaling Back. The recipe does call for a fair amount of cheese, but that can be omitted, or replaced with nutritional yeast, for a vegan version.
Visit Scaling Back for the recipe.
(Photo: Scaling Back)
Growing up, blogger Adira was no stranger to the backyard BBQ and the hamburgers that came with it. So when the time came for her to host her own, she decided to craft a healthier substitute. "I experimented a little and came up with this, which was not only a hit at the function I made it for, but it's now a favorite of ours," she writes. "I chose to use kale as the base for this as it's the healthiest and heartiest of the leaves." The mushrooms, cilantro, and avocado helped add some 'southwestern flair.'
Visit Instinctively Raw for the recipe.
(Photo: Instinctively Raw)
Kale, Chickpea and Feta Tart with a Buckwheat Crust
Hello, gorgeous! This picnic-perfect tart is made with a gluten-free base of buckwheat, brown rice, and corn flour. The chickpeas and feta cheese add a nice amount of protein, while the anti-inflammatory tomatoes add a summery vibrancy and color. Why was kale the leaf of choice? “This dark and richly textured green vegetable is both pleasingly humble and big flavored, and has tremendous health benefits,” writes Eleanor Ozich of Petite Kitchen.
Visit Petite Kitchen for the recipe.
(Photo: Petite Kitchen)
These tiny bites come fully loaded. The beans provide fiber and protein, sweet potatoes are full of beta-carotene, and it's topped with omega-3-rich flax seeds for texture. Oh, and there's the kale. “Perfectly sized, sweet with a crunchy top and stuffed with greens—doesn’t get much better than that for a quick and easy side dish,” says Gina Matsoukas of Running to the Kitchen.
Visit Running to the Kitchen for the recipe.
(Photo: Running to the Kitchen)
Jeanine Dorofrio, of Love and Lemons, couldn’t bear the sight of heaping piles of kale stems in the trash, so she’d throw them in the freezer. “When I’m ready to make this, I mix them with freshly chopped stems so the whole thing doesn’t taste too ‘frozen,’” she says. Grab your crudite and get dipping.
Visit Love and Lemons for the recipe.
(Photo: Love and Lemons)
Summer's coming, and it's going to get hot. Stow these iced kale cubes in the freezer to make your morning smoothie process turn into a cool breeze. “Into the blender go two to four kale cubes, one lemon juice cube (I use these all the time), berries, milk, chia seed, a little Stevia—delish,” raves Lexie Croft of Lexie’s Kitchen.
Visit Lexie's Kitchen for the recipe.
(Photo: Lexie's Kitchen)
Susan Powers, the sommelier-turned-mostly-raw blogger behind Rawmazing, tried this recipe both baked and dehydrated, and wound up really loving the latter. “The taste of dehydrated raw crackers is a lovely fresh, intense flavor,” she says of her creation, loaded with the cheesy zing of nutritional yeast. (But you can still bake them if you're dehydrator-deprived.) Tote them to work for a healthy mid-afternoon snack.
Visit Rawmazing for the recipe.
Warm Black Rice
Don’t be intimidated by the photo of this tri-color masterpiece. The kale salad on top is very easy to make, and you can even simplify the rice by doing an overnight soak. “It's better for digestion,” says Belen of In the Making, and cuts the cooking time in half. And it's a balanced meal, with lots of protein, vitamin-packed carrots, kale, and healthy seeds.
Visit In the Making for the recipe.
(Photo: In The Making)
“It’s 5 p.m. and I’m hungry, but I don’t feel like cooking or facing the small but mighty mountain of dishes that would inevitably take over the tiny kitchen if I did,” writes Ileana, of her kitchen-friendly recipe. By combining a fillet of salmon—or any fish of choice—with kale, tomatoes, and fresh herbs into a piece of parchment paper, you’re left with a perfectly steamed dinner (and hardly any dishes). “It’s super light, too, since this is only fish and vegetables, it cooks without the help of butter or oil.”
Visit A Little Saffron for the recipe.
(Photo: A Little Saffron)