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Kale has been gaining popularity over the years.  For some of you, this may be a leafy green you’ve always had in your diet.  Lucky you!

As part of our kidoing! In Season Cooking series, I bring to you:  Kale!

I think once you try some of these recipes you will be hooked.  Kale one of the most nutritious leafy greens.  It has the highest score on Dr. Fuhrman’s Nutrient Density list.  It’s also really versatile, which I’ll show you below.

To prove to you how much I love kale, I expressed to my husband that I would love a t-shirt that says “Kale”.  Ask and ye shall receive…my mother’s day present was a homemade “Kale” t-shirt! Rock. On.  You can make your own kale shirt or you can buy one here (along with a kale bumper sticker or coffee mug).

Here are some of the ways I use kale.  I am really excited to share that I received permission from raw food chef Ani Phyo to include her Cheesy Kale Chips recipe in this post!

1.  Smoothies

This post contains my favorite kale smoothie recipe.  Blend, blend and blend some more for a smooth ultra-healthy treat.

2.  Cheddar-Kale Chips

There is no cheese in this recipe (it is vegan), but there is a bunch of other amazing ingredients that result in a perfect flavor explosion in your mouth.  I dehydrate mine, but if you don’t own a dehydrator, you can put them on parchment in the oven (although they will lose “raw” status).  I have to tell you this, though:  these kale chips are SO good, less than half of mine make it out of the dehydrator…someone (me) sneaks a bite every time I check to see how they are doing!

Ani Phyo’s Cheddar-Kale Chips

(recipe courtesy of Ani Phyo, from “Ani’s Raw Food Essentials”, page 110)

“Nutritional yeast is mixed with red bell pepper and cashews to make a cheeze that is then used to coat the kale before dehydrating it.  The cheese mixture is orange and tastes like cheddar.  These chips are hearty and crispy-chewy, and my absolute favorite.”

-Ani Phyo

  • 1 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons water, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 cups bite-size pieces of kale, tightly packed (about 1 bunch)

Place the red bell peppers in a blender, then the remaining ingredients, except for the kale.  Blend, using only enough water to process into a thick cream.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the pepper mixture with the kale, coating it evenly.

Spread the kale onto two 14 inch square Excalibur Dehydrator trays, and dry at 104 degrees F for 8 to 10 hours.

(For those not comfortable with using agave, you can use honey.)

3.  Massaged Kale Salad (accompanied by Curried Quinoa with Leek Chips)

This salad is more of a technique than a recipe.  Wash, stem and cut the kale into thin strips or bite-size pieces.  Make a quick salad dressing with citrus, olive oil and a little sea salt.  Take a bit of that and drizzle it over the cut kale.  Massage it with your fingertips for about two minutes until the kale is wilted and soft.  Add some orange segments, some nuts/seeds, maybe some chickpeas and the rest of the dressing.  The last time I made this my kids asked for THIRDS!

4.  Kale, Dried Cherries and Baked Tofu over Whole Wheat Couscous

There are several different versions of this dish that I have tried.  The one pictured is from my 30 Day Vegan workshop, slightly tweaked.  Another of my favorites is from Cookus Interruptus.  I have used coconut oil or olive oil instead of butter and it’s great.  Serve over quinoa, couscous, or any other grain.

5.  Green Juice

Last, but not least, I juice kale almost every morning.  It’s lovely with pineapple, cucumber, celery, and a small lemon slice.  This is one juice that everyone in the house can enjoy!

Basic tips when using kale:

1.  There are many different varieties of kale, but the two main varieties you will see often are curly and dinosaur (or lacinato).  While I have used both for all recipes, I tend to like the curly for salads and sautes and the dinosaur for chips.

2.  If using the curly kale, be sure to wash really well because dirt can hide in the curly leaves.

3.  The finer and smaller you slice the kale the easier it will be for kids to eat it.  No one wants a mouthful of a long strand of kale – am I right?!

I would love to hear from you!  Do you like kale? What is your favorite way of preparing kale?