4 Creative Kale Recipes to Try Right Now | Reader's Digest

4 Creative Kale Recipes to Try Right Now

Nutrient-packed and extremely versatile, kale is definitely having a moment. If you haven't embraced this delicious cruciferous veggie, try these kale recipes from the new cookbook Fifty Shades of Kale.

By Lauren Gelman
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    It’s Time to Bond with Kale

    It has more vitamin C than an orange and more than 600 percent of your vitamin K need per serving. One tiny cup has almost three times as much calcium as a school lunch milk carton. No wonder some nutrition experts consider kale a goddess—especially psychiatrist/farmer Drew Ramsey, MD and chef/recipe developer Jennifer Iserloh, authors of the new cookbook Fifty Shades of Kale, who proclaim kale as attractive as she is nutritious. After all, “nothing is sexier than a sharp, happy mind atop a lean, healthy body,” they write. “Few foods are able to deliver this promise like kale.”

    The vegetable, they continue, “possesses a veritable medicine chest of healthy molecules known as phytonutrients.” Kale’s sulforaphane may protect against diseases like diabetes and cancer. Her flavonoids may boost your heart and immune system.

    Think kale is just for salads or a simple side dish with dinner? Not so. Ramsey and Iserloh have found unbelievably tasty, fun ways to cook with kale—from Blood Marys to chocolate chip cookies to risotto. Here are a few of their kale recipes we can’t wait to try.

    Sweet Stuff: Chocolate Kale Fudge Pop

    Meet your new go-to dessert: these indulgent treats have a guilt-free dose of fiber, which can quell cravings, improve immunity, and even boost libido (leave it to the authors of Fifty Shades to make that connection). Serves 8
     
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 2 cups warm water
    • 1 cup torn kale leaves
     
    1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except kale and add the warm water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth and thick.
    2. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.  Place kale in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
    3. Stir the kale into the chocolate mixture and divide it among 8 ice pop molds and insert ice pop sticks.
    4. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.  The pops will keep for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container in the freezer.  
     
    Nutrition information per serving (1 pop):
    127 calories, 2 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 8 mg sodium

    Smarter Spread: Kale-onaise

    Dress up any dip, sandwich, or dressing with this tasty, healthy mayo. Ramsey and Iserloh insist you’ll soon be swapping out butter for this delicious spread on your morning toast—and more. Makes 3 cups

    • 2 cups packed chopped kale
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 cup mayonnaise (organic if possible)
    • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
     
    1. In a food processor, combine the kale leaves, salt and garlic.  Process until finely chopped. 
    2. Add in the mayonnaise and lemon zest, lemon juice and process until smooth.  
     
    Nutrition information per serving (2 tablespoons): 60 calories, 0 g protein, 0 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 3 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 93 mg sodium

    Summer Picnic: Kaleslaw

    Coleslaw, healthy? Not when it’s drenched in full-fat mayonnaise. But this lighter version is rich in superfoods like kale, carrots, and colorful bell peppers. Serves 8
     
    • 10-ounce bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 10 cups)
    • 6 carrots
    • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced or thinly sliced
    • 1 1/2 cups kale-onaise (recipe on next slide)
     
    1. Fit a food processor with a shredder attachment. Shred the kale and carrots and transfer both to a large bowl. 
    2. Add the bell pepper and Kale-onaise (see next slide for recipe) and toss well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight before serving.
     
    Nutrition information per serving (1 cup): 187 calories, 3 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat (2 g saturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 591 mg sodium

    Better Barbecue: Beef Burger with Grilled Kale

    The grass-fed beef this recipe uses is lower in calories than your usual burgers—and it has a unique fat that may help prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Serves 4

    • 1 pound grass-fed ground sirloin
    •  4 teaspoons barbecue or steak sauce
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
    • 4 large leaves kale
    • 4 whole grain or whole-wheat burger buns
     
    1. Place the sirloin, sea salt, barbecue sauce or steak sauce in a large bowl. Using your fingers, mix well and form the mixture into 4 patties.
    2. Fire up the grill or heat a large grill pan over high heat. Grill the burgers 10 to 15 minutes, until they are brown on the outside but still slightly pink (but not translucent) on the inside.
    3. Top each burger with 2 tablespoons of the blue cheese. Transfer the burgers to a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. 
    4. Add the kale to the grill for 2 to 3 minutes, turning often, until the kale is soft.  Grill the buns halves for 30 seconds, cut side down. Remove from grill.
    5. Assemble burgers, placing grilled kale on bottom bun with the burger and top bun on top.  Serve immediately.

    Nutrition information per serving (1 burger topped with kale plus bun): 347 calories, 34 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat (6 g saturated), 82 mg cholesterol, 4g fiber, 642 mg sodium

    More Kale Delights

    For additional kale recipes, plus cooking tips, nutrition secrets, and more, get the book Fifty Shades of Kale.

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    Your Comments

    • Merry

      what is Kale-onaise??

      • WellLahdidah

        The recipe is there if you just scroll thru. I made it – its a variation of Spanish Aioli sauce. — very good!

    • yeah

      Coleslaw is good drenched. You should use french style plain yogurt instead of mayonaise

    • Cathy

      I love Kale, I chop it up and add to sauted onions and 1 diced slice of bacon, use paper towel to get out the fat and add two scrambled eggs. cook until set and remove to plate and sprinkle on a little parm cheese, so good! Kale is so easy to grow start like regular lettuces or spinach. It grows all summer and then I start an other growth about the start of summer and it grows way into winter and through winter if covered. So easy and cheaper than store bought!

      • claudette

        Does it set up with useing the eggs, not scrambled and putting them in an oven after sautaing the kale with bacon, onions, garlic,, chicken broth in an individual cup, with parmasian cheese sprinkled over top, and then put in an oven to firm up. Hmm? Do you think it would be good?

    • Mary in Ohio

      Watch out for the worms. They start out looking like a grain of rice, then they are about an inch long and as round as a toothpick , white in color I thought. Turns out as they eat they turn green and are hard to find….

    • Lorena

      What’s KALE means in spanish???