3 Levels of Kale Recipes to Satisfy Skeptics and Die-hard Fans
We have kale recipes for all kinds of kale eaters, and they're all easy to make.
Trying to feed your family more healthy foods this year? By now you surely know that kale is a powerhouse ingredient — but it also happens to be delicious.
For you kale newbies, we have a few starter recipes to help you wade your way into the waters of this good-for-you green. And for you kale fanatics (even those who simply tolerate it), we have straight-up kale-focused recipes for you too. Bonus: These are all simple picks and every one of them is kid-tested too.
Level 1: Starter Kale Recipes
If your family is new to this leafy green, these mild recipes are the perfect place to begin.
Fresh pineapple and green grapes work their sweet magic in this simple smoothie that might be the most-nutritious thing you eat all day. (Tip: If it turns out that yours is just not a raw-kale-smoothie family, try freezing the leftovers in ice-pop molds. Everything’s yummier when it’s frozen on a stick.)
Kale Chips, 2 Ways
It only takes a few ingredients to transform kale into an irresistible snack or side dish. All you need is a baking sheet and a warm oven. Here are two of our favorite ways to do it: Crispy Kale Chips with Lemon (pictured above) for a bright bite and Smoky Kale Chips for warmer flavor.
Level 2: Delicious Entrees That Happen to Include Kale
For those already aboard the bitter-green bandwagon, here are a couple of interesting new ways to include kale in dinnertime favorites.
Valerie Bertinelli’s fresh take on the standard casserole has all the things everyone loves about a warm baked dish, like chicken, onions and a creamy sauce, and it’s paired with knock-out additions like artichokes, Parmesan and kale, which adds another layer of texture and flavor.
Like most kale salads, this one is as successful as it is because of the dressing; give the kale a few extra minutes to soak up all that lemon juice and oil. Then the slivers of sweet apple mix in with salty pecorino cheese to make an outstanding base for your quick and easy salmon.
Level 3: Kale Straight-Up
When you’re ready to dive in, these are the best kale sides I’ve ever eaten with my family.
This is the salad our kids ask for all. the. time. It’s not just the dressing (pictured above), though that’s certainly a big part of it. The kale itself is the perfect pairing. The thick and hearty leaves soak up the dressing to create the ultimate balance of sweet, savory and satisfying — even when your four dining companions are somewhere between two and seven years old.
Of all the side dishes in all the world, this one might be the best for you. And it pairs amazingly with a crowd pleaser like spaghetti. When we lived in Italy, they served a plate of bitter greens called ciccoria in just about every restaurant. Fresh greens wilted alongside finely minced garlic, drizzled with just the right amount of olive oil and lemon juice — I ordered it every time I saw it on a menu, and I always got a second when the kids were with me too.
If you’ve ever been to a steakhouse, you’ve probably eaten creamed spinach. But this version takes that old-school favorite in dressed-up direction. That’s because the hearty kale leaves hold the cream even better than spinach.
Charity Curley Mathews is the mom of four small kids. She blogs about food and parenting at Foodlets.com, where every recipe is full of fresh ingredients, simple to make and kid-tested 4x.