This week I invited my friend Karla to my place to show her three different ways of preparing kale. We made kale pesto, ribollita, and raw kale salad. Karla was surprised by how easy everything was to make. I really love each of these dishes for different reasons, but I was excited about the ribollita. Kale, white beans, bread, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and the rest, make a great soup. Kale is one of those under-used, but oh-so-good for you vegetables. Here is my contribution to show that there are many fantastic ways to get more kale into your diet.
Recipe #1: Raw kale salad
1 bunch kale, any variety, washed and chopped
1/4 medium red onion, chopped
Handful pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
Handful dried cranberries
Juice of one lemon
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2-1 tsp sea salt
Place the kale in a large bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice on the kale, and add the olive oil and salt. Massage the kale until it softens, about 1-2 minutes or so. Add the onion, cranberries, and pepitas. Add some freshly ground black pepper, and you’re done.
Recipe #2: Kale Pesto
1/2 bunch of kale, washed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp sea salt
Juice of one lemon
Add the garlic, walnuts, salt, lemon juice, and about half the kale to the food processor. Pulse until the kale is roughly chopped. Add the olive oil and the rest of the kale. Process until the mixture is at a uniform pesto consistency.
Recipe #3: Ribollita
(This recipe comes from Heidi Swanson at 101cookbooks.com, though I didn’t copy it exactly.)
3 T extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 14-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bunch (1 lb.) cavolo nero (aka dinosaur kale, or lacinato kale), washed and chopped
4 cups cooked white beans
1/2 pound white bread
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
Zest of one lemon
Chopped black olives (I didn’t use these because I didn’t have them, but will try it next time.)
In a large pot suitable for soup, combine the olive oil, celery, garlic, carrot, and red onion over medium heat. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring a few times to ensure even cooking. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, simmering for another 10 minutes or so. Stir in the kale, 3 cups of the beans, and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mash the rest of the beans (the remaining 1 cup) in a bowl. Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces. Stir both the mashed beans and the bread into the soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the bread breaks down and the soup thickens, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in the salt, taste and add more if needed. Stir in the lemon zest.
Serve immediately, drizzled with olive oil and topped with chopped olives.
Makes about 10 servings.