Real Food Tips: 5 Ways to (Easily) Eat More Kale

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If you want to eat local foods in the winter then you better figure out how to eat some big leafy greens like kale. Not to mention kale is packed with all sorts of good stuff for your body so if you can learn to enjoy this veggie then it’s a win-win for everyone. :) Also just like apples, wheat and other whole foods there are many different varieties – and therefore flavors – of kale available. We recently picked up some “dinosaur kale” at our farmers’ market because with a name like that who wouldn’t want to at least try it?

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally figured out a few ways that our family can easily “eat more kale”….

  1. Eggs.
    Puree kale into an egg dish like scrambled eggs, mini egg casseroles, quiche or egg soufflé. You could also use sautéed kale instead of a layer of meat on your Eggs Benedict this weekend. My husband says he might even like eggs better with kale than without. I am not sure I exactly agree with him on that, but the kale/egg combo is surprisingly good.
    Green Eggs Recipe
  2. Salads.
    I actually need to thank some of my blog readers for telling me that you could just eat kale raw in a salad. For a while I had the impression that kale had to be cooked. I will say though if you’re somewhat new to kale it could be overkill to just sit down to a big bowl of it so we started out by just mixing in a little bit of kale with our regular salad greens. The first night we tried this my husband declared, “The kids are NOT going to like this” but I said, “Just don’t say anything and see what happens.” Sure enough they ate it without even noticing the new, darker greens in the mix. (FYI – My kids did not always eat salad…it took a lot of repeated exposure before our 4-year-old learned it would be a “dinner norm” around here.) And I am also not a huge salad person myself so adding just a little bit to our standard lettuce was a good compromise for everyone.
    Hint: Remove the center ribs from the kale before eating it raw.
    Salad Recipes
  3. Pesto.
    I don’t know about you, but our family LOVES some pesto. It’s great on everything from pasta to pizza to caprese salad to panini sandwiches. I’ve discovered that if you replace half the basil with kale in your pesto recipe that you can hardly even tell the difference!
    Pesto Recipe
    Pizza Recipe
  4. Smoothies.
    I’ve been adding a handful of spinach to our smoothies for a while, which doesn’t necessarily turn our smoothies “green” but instead just adds a veggie without altering the flavor very much. So I finally took the plunge and added a handful of kale instead, and I have to say…not bad. Now I actually kind of like raw spinach so I can’t say I like our smoothies with the kale just as much, but almost as much.
    Smoothie Recipe
  5. Kale Chips.
    Most of you have probably heard of these by now, but if you haven’t you are missing out. If you can manage to cook them just right this is another tasty way to “enjoy” kale!
    Kale Chips Recipe

Please share how you like to eat Kale (and what varieties you prefer) in the comments below!

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104 comments to Real Food Tips: 5 Ways to (Easily) Eat More Kale

  • Amy

    We have a new favorite kale recipe — we added kale to your Easy Cheesy Crackers! We use extra-sharp white cheddar and we add 1/2 cup kale, an extra 1 T butter, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, and salt + pepper as desired. We roll the dough into one-inch rolls and freeze them so we can cut the crackers rather thinly. And we bake just a few minutes less than we tend to bake the crackers when vegetables are not included. The resulting crackers are green, much to my three-year-old’s delight, and delicious. :o)

  • Elisabeth

    LOVE this Garlicky Kale recipe from Whole Foods! It’s so delicious that I eat it every single day!

    Ingredients

    1 bunch kale, de-stemmed, chopped and massaged
    1 tablespoon Bragg’s Amino Acid (or soy sauce)
    2 tablespoons tahini paste
    2 tablespoons lemon juice (or one lemon)
    2 tablespoons water
    4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    Black pepper, to taste

    Instructions

    Put all ingredients (except for kale) into a blender, adding nutritional yeast last. (Adding it first causes it to gum up the blades and stick to the base.)
    Mix until smooth.
    Transfer kale to a salad bowl, then pour dressing over the top and toss until coated.
    Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

  • Charlene

    I’ve been eating kale for YEARS… my favorite way to eat it is a simple and delicious recipe: Cut fresh raw kale into bit-sized pieces. Drizzle with olive oil (you need less than you think) and stir to get it all coated. Sprinkle with sea salt and put it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. The olive oil softens the kale, then eat it like a salad. You won’t believe how delish this is!

  • Amy

    I’ve tried adding kale to multiple smoothies and I always end up with tiny pieces that almost require chewing. I’ve used the blender and the food processor. Any suggestions for how to fix this?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Amy. For most smoothies the blender or food processor work fine but I have found that in order for green smoothies to be PERFECTLY smooth and without “bits”, an investment in a really good blender may be helpful. I am saving up for that investment now. :) Would love to hear if readers have other feedback. ~Amy

      • gigi

        I bought a Nutri-Bullet at Bed Bath Beyond 1.5 yrs ago, now Wal mart sells them-99 dollars, and it whips through anything- nuts, seeds, kale and liquefies it!
        Love it!!!
        Oh, and I did not buy the recipe book for an extra 20 bucks-go online, and 100 days and your imagination makes awesome smoothies. gigi

    • Sandi

      Whenever I put tough greens in my smoothies, I make sure to put them in first, with only as much liquid or yogurt as is necessary to blend them up. I find that if there is too much volume in the blender, then the greens tend to “escape” the blades and end up in noticeable pieces. If they are in with a small amount of soft ingredients they don’t have any other place to go and get blended up really well. Then I add my other ingredients, blend, and enjoy! HTH.

  • evelyn

    Hi Amy — I had the same problem for years. My family and I got used to gritty / chunky “smoothies” for breakfast while I scrimped and saved for my dream machine : the Vita Mix. I was able to purchase a VitaMix blender last summer, and could not believe the difference. I’ve heard similar great things about Blendtec. I use my VitaMix at least once per day, usually twice, so the initial cost, while daunting, is more than worth it for me. It beats my old blender (a solid KitchedAid) into the dust!

  • Hey, Jude

    I find the baby kale (bag or box of organic) easier to eat in salad / drink in smoothies. It is less stringy than the large, curly kale. Favorite “super food” salad is baby kale, chard, chopped Brussels sprouts (yes, raw), dried cranberries and pepitos (shelled raw pumpkin seeds) with Amy’s organic poppy seed dressing — or homemade dressing is even better!

  • PJ

    Regarding the small bits in the smoothies: We used to use a Ninja blender which is great for most things, but not when adding greens. Recently we purchased a Nutribullet and we will never go back! It literally liquifies anything you put in there! Even nuts. We’ve never had larger pieces of greens since. We purchased the larger one, not the little mini. (Not sure how that would work.)

  • Cassie

    I made scrambled eggs tonight and decided to throw some kale in to try. I ended up putting a lot of kale and the mixture was really green but I decided to cook it and try it like that. I was delicious! It had such a subtle flavor that I wouldn’t have even known the difference if I didn’t put the kale in myself! I’m going to try these other tips too!

  • joanna

    Just ate chorizo kale soup from paleopot! So delicious!

    http://paleopot.com/2013/02/one-pot-chorizo-and-kale-soup/

  • Beth

    I discovered a quick and easy chicken and kale dish that my mom concocted a couple of weeks ago. I recreated it tonight and we loved it! Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter (olive oil would probably work fine) in a 12″ stainless steel skillet. Add about 1/2 onion sliced in rings. Add as much washed, torn kale leaves as you can fit on top of the onions and cover. Turn heat down to medium. Then place 4-5 thin/small raw chicken breasts on top of kale (I sliced my giant chicken breats horizontally). Sprinkle with your favorite chicken seasonings (eg, garlic salt, onion powder, whatever). Cover entire dish and let simmer for as long as you can, but at least and hour. In the end you have delicious kale and tender, moist chicken.

  • Victoria

    Kale Slaw with Sprouted Hummus & Sunflower Sprouts
    Kale, cabbage, peppers, carrots, all cut small or julienne.
    Our fav hummus recipe; we sprout chick peas 3-4 days, rinsing frequently. Parch, then cuise w/ aminos, garlic, lemon & oil. We like the hummus runny so it pours over kale & sprouts. This combo was first fed to me by Kindness Kafé & Karma Karavan. Yuumm!

  • Leah

    Also; cooked kale in lasagna is awesome!

  • Leslie Guidry

    My twin boys love cream of broccoli soup made with organic chicken broth, celery and onions. Today I threw two big handfuls of kale. You let it simmer and then blend. Add a little half and half and cheese. They loved it and the kale just blended in.

  • Meredith

    We enjoy raw “cooked” kale salad. Massage kale about 2 minutes in bowl with olive oil ( or other oil you enjoy) and lemon juice to your liking and it softens easily for a tasty salad. I usually then add nuts and fruit. But anything would work!

  • Judy

    I have a Black & Decker “Cyclone” blender. I use it to make smoothies all the time, and I haven’t found anything it won’t completely puree! :) It’s just a cheaper option for those that can’t afford the more expensive versions! I think it cost about $30.

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