If you’re not already incorporating kale into your daily diet, you may want to reconsider. This nutrient-packed veggie contains more vitamin C than an orange, more than 600 percent of your recommended daily amount of vitamin K, and a healthy serving of calcium, according to Reader’s Digest. If you’re interested in reaping the benefits of this crunchy green, you don’t need to resign yourself to a lifetime of kale salads. In fact, these 7 recipes show you just how creative you can get when cooking with kale. Prepare to indulge in kale-filled waffles, decadent cake, creamy ice cream, and chocolate-covered kale chips.
1. Kale and Romano Ricotta Waffles With Cayenne Honey
The Gouda Life’s recipe may sound strange, but everything about it tastes so right. The savory flavor of the kale and ricotta waffles balances perfectly with the sweet cayenne honey. The recipe yields 6 to 8 waffles.
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Few generous pinches cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg (small pinch)
- 1 cup extra smooth ricotta
- 2 large eggs
- 1½-2 cups milk
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1½ cups chopped kale
- ½ cup finely diced pecorino Romano
- ½ cup honey
- ¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on spice tolerance)
- Pinch salt
Directions: Whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk the ricotta and eggs until smooth and shiny. Add the milk and butter and stir to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until no flour remains. Fold in the kale and romano. Spoon in the waffle mix and cook according to your waffle maker’s instructions. While the waffles bake, warm the honey and cayenne in a small sauce-pot over low heat. It shouldn’t boil or simmer, you just want to warm it through. Serve waffles hot with butter, a sprinkle of scallions, and a drizzle of warm cayenne honey.
This rich, creamy, and healthy Reader’s Digest recipe is perfect to use as a dip, spread, or dressing. The recipe yields 3 cups with each containing 60 calories and 7 grams of fat.
- 2 cups packed chopped kale
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Directions: In a food processor, combine the kale leaves, salt, and garlic. Process until finely chopped. Add in the mayonnaise and lemon zest and juice, and process until smooth.
3. Kale and Sausage Hand Pies
Kale, sausage, and dried fruit complement each other perfectly, creating a dinner pie that’s filled with nutrients and flavor. If you want to save time on Martha Stewart’s recipe, use store-bought rolled pie dough to make the crust for the hand pies. The recipe yields 8 servings.
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine salt
- ½ cup ice water
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 10 ounces (about 1 ½ links) sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 medium onion, diced medium
- 1 tart apple, peeled and diced medium
- 1 bunch kale (¾ pound), tough stems and ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- Heavy cream, for brushing
Directions: In a food processor, pulse flour, butter, and salt until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. With machine running, sprinkle with ¼ cup ice water; pulse just until dough holds together when squeezed; if necessary, add up to ¼ cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Do not overmix. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes or up to overnight. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high.
Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add apple, kale, and raisins and cook until kale is almost tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to an ⅛-inch thickness. With a large round cookie cutter or small bowl, cut out eight 6- to 7-inch rounds.
Place ½ cup kale mixture in center of each round and fold over filling to form half-moons. With a fork, press edges firmly to seal. Place pies on baking sheets and brush with cream. Cut a small vent in each pie and bake until golden brown and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
4. Kale Blueberry Ice Cream
Simple Green Smoothies has created a healthy ice cream recipe that you can enjoy guilt-free. In addition to being packed with nutrients from the blueberries and kale, it is also really easy to make. You don’t even need an ice cream maker!
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 large frozen bananas cut into pieces
- 2 large stalks of kale, deveined and chopped
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 dates, pitted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions: Place the the almond milk and kale into your high speed blender, and blend until the kale is blended in well with the milk. Then add all of the other ingredients, and blend well until the mixture is like a thick smoothie. Pour the mixture in a plastic container or a 9 x 13-inch dish. Then chill the mixture in the freezer for 2-3 hours until firm. Now the ice cream is ready to serve. Store the ice cream in the freezer. This treat is best served the same day but can be stored in the freezer for a few days.
5. Chocolate Kale Cake With Sea Salt
When you make chocolate cake, you normally don’t think about adding kale into the mix. However, after you try Foodie Underground’s cake recipe, which calls for kale, chocolate, and cocoa powder, you won’t be able to imagine eating a cake that doesn’t include the crunchy green.
- ½ cup rice flour
- ¾ cup ground almonds or almond flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 3 large kale leaves
- ⅛ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
- Coarse sea salt
Directions: Boil two cups of water. Remove from heat and place kale leaves in water. Cover and let sit for two minutes. Remove and drain water, keeping about 2 tablespoons of the water. Place kale and the remaining water in a food processor and mix until you get a puree consistency. Depending on the quality of your food processor, you may not get all the way to a purée. Just make sure that the kale is in the smallest bits possible.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Mix in cocoa powder. Add kale purée and olive oil. Mix in flour, almonds, and sea salt and stir until well-blended. Grease a circular cake pan and dust with ground almonds. Pour in cake batter. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle cake with the chopped chocolate. Turn off the oven and put the cake back in for a minute or two, just to melt the chocolate. Spread chocolate evenly with a knife. Sprinkle lightly with coarse sea salt.
6. Kale and Parmesan Croissants
Nesting Naturally’s recipe creates savory croissants that are perfect for breakfast or alongside a bowl of soup for lunch. The recipe is open to interpretation, so feel free to include additional ingredients if you’d like a heartier filling.
- 1 ½ cups of cooked kale (excess liquid squeezed out)
- 3-4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
- 1 shallot, minced
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Splash of chicken stock
- 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg (beaten with splash of water for egg wash)
Directions: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Begin by sautéing your shallot in some olive oil and add your chopped kale. Sauté and add a splash of chicken stock to help the greens wilt. Add a pinch of nutmeg, a touch of salt, and fresh black pepper. Continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and the kale is cooked and wilted, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and using tongs transfer into a bowl, squeezing any excess liquid out with the tongs before transferring.
Add the Parmesan cheese and fold in to combine. Next, place your thawed dough on a floured board and cut into 6 even rectangles. Add a heaping spoonful of filling on one end of the rectangle and fold over to seal. Once all of the croissants are made brush each with your egg wash and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until brown and puffed, about 15 minutes or so. Enjoy!
7. Chocolate Kale Chips
You’re in for a chewy and sweet treat with these chocolate-covered kale chips. Nouveau Raw’s recipe calls for sucanat sugar, but feel free to substitute with raw coconut crystals instead. Note: the chips need to dehydrate for 6 to 8 hours, so make sure you plan ahead!
- 1 bunch curly kale
- 2 cups pumpkin seeds
- ¾ cup sucanat sugar, (powdered, then blended with ¼ cup water in bullet or blender)
- ¾-1 cup water
- ½ cup raw cacao powder
- ½ cup raw cacao butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions: Wash and de-stem your kale. Make sure you get as much excess water off of the kale as possible. If you don’t, it will make your sauce soupy. Set aside. Using either your blender or bullet, grind your pumpkin seeds into a flour. Set aside in a small bowl. Using the same vessel, grind the sucanat sugar to a powder then add in the ¼ cup of water and blend a bit more to help dissolve the crystals. In the blender, combine the pumpkin seed flour, sugar, cacao powder, water, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.
Blend until nice and smooth. While the blender is still moving, slowly drizzle in the cacao butter and combine well. In a large bowl, pour the completed sauce over the kale and evenly coat. Use your hands for this job. Place the coated kale on the non-stick Teflex sheets that come with your dehydrator. Spread the pieces out. Dehydrate on 105 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 6-8 hours or until dry. Store in an airtight glass container.