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

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

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  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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113 thoughts on “Real Food Tips: 5 Ways to (Easily) Eat More Kale”

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  1. 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!

  2. 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?

    1. 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

      1. 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

    2. 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.

  3. 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!

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


    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


    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.

  5. 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)

  6. Well I am excited to try the kale pesto. I’ve made the “cheesy” kale chips with nutritional yeast before. Labor intensive just a little but quite worth it. My absolute favorite way to eat it, however, is cooking up a pan of chopped kale, garlic, and the peeled, chopped frozen tomatoes from my summer garden in plenty of olive oil and some salt and pepper. It goes with everything–even my favorite kale and hummus sandwich. Unbelievably delicious.

  7. My go to breakfast in the morning:
    One whole apple, sliced including core
    2 cups kale
    1/2 cup water(or coconut water)
    1/2-1 cup OJ
    1-2 bananas
    2 Tbs chia seeds
    Ice cubes if desired
    Blend in Vitamix or similar – I haven’t tried in a regular blender.

    YUM! Keeps me full until lunch

      1. Yes! Blended in the vitamix, it adds fiber. You could leave it out, if you wish. I don’t know notice a taste difference at all.

  8. i think someone else might have mentioned this, but it’s delicious…shred kale in food processor and mix in w/ cooked quinoa. can’t get enough of it!

  9. Hi, Lisa,
    I found your website last week and cant stop reading it. I want to change my food habits. I hope I can do it.
    It seems like kale is new for you. In Brazil, where I came from, is very common. Usually, it’s cut thin (make a roll with it and cut) and sauteed with garlic, onions, salt.
    Have a very good use for kale in a kind of soup we have there. It’s called “caldo verde”. Basically, you cook potatoes with water, oil, chicken broth, until the potatoes dissolves. Add little pieces of linguica (check wikipedia. You may be able to use some sausage) and let it cook. Turn the burner off and add the kale. It’s a thick soup. It’s delicious, specially for the winter.
    You can see the recipe here with photos.
    If you get interested, you may be able to translate the recipe using google. Or I can help you if you need.

  10. I have cubes of sautéed kale (which I’ve pureed after cooking) in the freezer. Two ideas:
    1. I often mix defrosted cubes into yogurt (like a modified raita).
    2. Or alternatively, mix with cream cheese for a sandwich spread.

  11. I love kale in a basic potato or sweet potato hash. Last time I did it, I blanched the kale really quickly, then put it in the crockpot with diced sweet potatoes, a splash of red wine vinegar, salt, and some dried red pepper flakes. We ate it in bowls with fried eggs on top. It was super-healthy and really good!

  12. We actually rub our kale with a small amount of kosher salt. It’s a “massaged kale” salad, and there’s no cooking involved. If you massage the kale leaves with a bit of kosher salt for about 5 minutes, the salt begins to draw out some of the moisture, and will tenderize the leaves. Squeeze out the green brine from the massaged leaves, toss with sesame oil and cranberries and a little honey. Holy cow. Yum.

    1. Yes, I second the massaged kale salad! It’s like nothing I’ve ever had before. The one I make goes like this: De-stem and chop up (or even chiffonade) a bunch of kale. Put the kale in a bowl with a big pinch of salt (more later to taste) and the juice from 1 lemon. Massage the kale for 3-5 min. Then add smashed avocado – I usually do 1/2 of an avocado for a bunch of kale. I also add diced fresh tomato and some cayenne powder if I’m feeling feisty! :) If I ever have a “last meal,” this will be on the menu.

  13. cook 1 cup of quinoa as directed but add a big bunch of Kale remove the ribs and slice chiffinade style (roll it up and slice thin slivers) at the start of cooking. also add juice of 1 orange and a handfull of dried cherries or cranberries.

  14. My favorite way to eat kale is sauteed in coconut oil over med-high heat with some chopped fresh garlic. Cook, covered for about 5 minutes with a large pinch of salt. When it’s done cooking, add the juice from a half a lemon. It’s amazing with a fried egg (or two!) on top, but also insanely good just by itself. It’s by far one of my favorite things to make for lunch. My one year old even loves it!

    I’m intrigued by the Live Kale Salad – can’t wait to try it!

  15. Live Kale Salad is the way to go. It “cooks” the kale by using Braggs Liquid Aminos, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice. My daughter eats this by the bowlful in the summer. It gives the kale an asian taste and it’s delicious. I don’t even like kale but I go crazy for this salad. And you can really use any greens that you have in the fridge. it’s a good end of the week salad to use up any veggies and greens that you have laying around. You can even add chicken or fish and call it dinner! Here is the recipe:

    Live Kale Salad
    30 minutes / 3-4 servings

    1 large bunch curly kale
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 large lemon – juiced
    2 Tbl nama shoyu, Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
    1 Tbl apple cider vinegar- raw and unfiltered
    1 Tbl agave nectar
    1 clove garlic – minced
    3 stalks green onion – rough chopped
    1/2 jalepeno, deseeded and minced
    1/4 cup fresh herbs, minced
    1 large red bell pepper, diced
    1 large carrot, grated
    dash cayenne powder
    Celtic sea salt, to taste
    Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
    1/3 cup white and or black sesame seeds

    1. Destem kale and place in a large mixing bowl with olive oil and lemon juice. Allow to sit for 20 minutes or longer, up to overnight to allow kale to soften.
    2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

  16. My relationship with kale has evolved so much over the years! I admit the first time I sautéed it it wasn’t my favorite. Since then however, I eat it regularly – in eggs, in salads, kale chips – love!! Have you tried red Russian kale or dinosaur kale, not great for kale chips in my opinion but so so good in salads!

    1. That really is the key to kale: finding the RIGHT kale. DInosaur kale is a world away from the frilly kale that you get at the grocery story (even Whole Foods).

      The three things that helped me appreciate kale the most:

      1. Buying it from the farmer’s market: fresh is best (as is buying the right kinds – more availability at the farmer’s market).
      2. Evolving my palate away from sweet foods: this was really a wholesale lifestyle change, but the less processed food that I ate, the more my palate came to enjoy things like kale.
      3. Learning many tasty ways to prepare it: I still saute it from time to time, but we eat a lot more because we know 1,001 ways to prepare kale

      Kale: the superest of super foods.

  17. I can’t get past how bitter it is- even the kale chips- any suggestions? (Plus the weird after taste you get later)

  18. We are kale fanatics. The health benefits are incredible, plus we love it! We do all of your suggestions. I’ve read that you can rub kale leaves with a little olive oil and it will soften the leaves for a rubbed kale salad. Also, when I’m overwhelmed by it from our farm share, I blanch and freeze it. Then, I always have it ready to add to things like soup, eggs, casseroles, and any other dish I can think of.

  19. We are getting kale in our produce basket next week, so this was great timing! We have tried so many things from your website and have loved them all so far. Thanks so much- it’s making cutting out processed foods so much easier.

  20. I ALWAYS put spinach in my eggs or smoothies. We basically use it as a lettuce. I’ll have to try Kale out more now. Thanks for the idea! Love you blog!

  21. I am with all of you on the smoothies. Blueberries seem to be key. It is the only fruit I can add that will disguise kale or spinach. Yay for blueberries! I love sending the kids to school knowing they have had kale or spinach smoothies for breakfast.

  22. Laurie Carlson

    We have been eating kale for over a year. When I make a smoothie I use frozen bananas, kale leaves, blueberries and almond milk. It comes out purple and no one even knows they are eating something so healthy with kale!
    Thanks for the post!

  23. We have been getting a lot of kale from our local organic produce delivery so I have had to be very creative with it. We have been putting it in potato soup, lentil soup, or white bean soup. I added it to a quiche with spinach. My favorite was lentil and brown rice tacos topped with sauteed kale, shredded cheese and sour cream.

  24. Pour 2 T of olive oil (or cocounut, whatever you prefer) in a sautee pan. Add garlic salt. Sautee the kale as you would spinach. For additional flavor, fry up bacon (or turkey bacon)and then add the kale. The garlic salt really adds a nice flavor. Since my body craves protein, and not having any turkey bacon on hand, I simply added some turkey meat I had in the fridge. The kale, garlic salt and turkey meat combo made for a healthy, filling and tasty lunch. Fast too!

  25. I love Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe for fried rice. She slices up kale leaves into ribbons, steams them for a few minutes, then adds them to fried rice. Delicious!

  26. I have a wonderful recipe from Fitness magazine I believe. Its for savory bean and spinach soup and I used Kale because I had no spinach and I thought it was wonderful! It even froze well!

  27. I make an Italian wedding soup and I serve with kale or sometimes spinach. I add it to the bottom of the bowl and serve the liquid on top so the greens wilt slightly. I also found a recipe for quinoa patties where you mix kale into them.

  28. Oh I love kale! My hubby and boys-not so much. They eat it fine if it’s raw in a salad or blended into a smoothie. I’m not sure if they would go for kale in their eggs but I’ll give it a shot!
    My favorite way to eat kale is Joy the Baker’s Kale and Coconut bowl. The first time I made it I scarfed mine down, then made a PB&J for Jonathan so I could eat his bowl (he wasn’t a huge fan of the kale and coconut bowl). I make a double batch of it now because I’m just a liiiittle bit obsessed with it!

    1. Also, I’ve found that the dinosaur kale is a little more tender and doesn’t taste quite as strong as the regular, curly kale. So if you’re trying to convince your family you might want to try the dinosaur variety first if you can find it.

  29. We love dino kale best. In addition to lots of great suggestions, I like to make kale potato quesadillas Рfilling is made of steamed kale, potatoes, garlic, onions, and sharp cheddar pur̩ed in the food processor.

  30. Earthbound Farms sells a clam shell with organic baby kales that my local grocery orders in for me. They are so delicious and so much more tender for salads. Toss with arugula/spinach or eat alone. The baby kale is more mild in flavor and blends much easier in smoothies as well. YUM!

  31. We love adding it to our frittatas. I can’t make enough kale chips for my kids. They eat it up too fast. I saute and make a variety of side dishes using kale. I tend to treat it like spinach, and I have made a lot of really nice dishes with it. I like your idea of adding it to salads and pesto though, and I plan to do that with my next CSA.