Kale can be a staple crop over the winter months, and it really comes in handy over the winter when there are fewer foods available. But my spring, you may be getting a little bored. If you are looking for new and interesting kale recipes to try, then look no further. Here are some interesting suggestions for ways that you might like to use up your crop:
First off, this may be a familiar one. But for those of you who are not yet converts to the world of different vegetable crisps – this one is a must. Even those who ‘hate’ kale can be converted when they try these crisp morsels. So it could be a great way to get more vegetables into reluctant kids (or even reluctant partners)!
If you are familiar with kale crisps already, you could shake things up a little by trying a range of different savoury coatings and seasonings on your crisps. And you may be astonished to learn that the seasoning does not even have to be savoury. Someone has even suggested making sweet kale crisps with chocolate and coconut!
An Alternative Take on Dolmades/ Cabbage Wraps
Large kale leaves are perfect to use for wrapping other ingredients. Use them for an alternative take on dolmades, with kale in place of vine leaves, or to make a sort of cabbage wrap. There are plenty of things you can put inside them, from mince (or veggie mince) to a range of vegetables, beans or pulses, and/or grains. And you can use a wide range of sauces too.
Kale Based Pesto Ideas
If you have more kale than you know what to do with, blitzing it up can be a great way to use plenty of it. Kale can be used to make a pesto, either on its own or with a range of different herbs or wild foraged greens. Add some oil, some garlic, some seeds or nuts, and you have a versatile pesto that can be used as a condiment, spread on top of fish, pizza or vegetarian bakes, mixed into pasta… There is almost no end to the recipes that can be enhanced by the addition of a scoop of green pesto.
Another great thing about making a pesto with kale and other greens is that you can also pop it in the fridge, or freeze it for later. Freezing kale in the form of a pesto will mean that it will take up less valuable freezer space.
Kale Recipes for Pizza
Pizza is one of those recipes that you can customise with whichever ingredients you have to hand. If you have plenty of kale, try cooking it on top of the pizza for a crispy kale topped delight. Or layer it on beneath some cheese and tomato sauce with a range of other spring greens or other veggies. Alternatively, as mentioned above, you can replace (or add to) the tomato sauce with a kale pesto. Finally, you could also consider adding finely chopped kale to the pizza dough before baking.
Kale Spring Rolls
Whether you buy the pastry or make your own, home made spring rolls can be amazing. Of course, there are a wide range of different vegetables that can be wrapped up in these thin pastry parcels. But kale and daikon radish are a great pairing that works very well for spring rolls that are just that little bit different. And eating them with a honey-tahini dipping sauce really does make these spring rolls a treat.
Interesting Kale Soup Ideas
Of course you can add kale to a wide range of soups. But one interesting idea that you might not have considered is to make a fruity soup by blending kale and apples. This is one way to ring the changes. But of course you can also fall back on the old favourites, like kale and potato soup, for example, or a lentil and vegetable soup with kale in addition to plenty of root vegetables.
Interesting Kale Salad Ideas
Use young kale leaves raw in salad, or older kale leaves cooked for a warm salad. Salads definitely don’t have to be boring. You can ring the changes and add interesting ingredients – if you wanted to, you could probably have a different salad using polytunnel produce every day of the year. Add a zesty dressing and you are far less likely to get bored.
As well as adding plenty of other spring greens and other veg to your salad, it’s also worth remembering that tomatoes are not the only fruit you can add to a salad. Kale and strawberry salads, and kale and raspberry salads, for example, are both unusual combinations that can work well.
Interesting Kale Grain Bowl Ideas
We should all be eating plenty of leafy greens, and plenty of whole grains. But eating your grain bowl does not have to be boring. Eating healthy food doesn’t have to be a slog. Try out some more interesting or unusual grains, and pair kale with peanuts, tahini, apples, chickpeas or a range of other interesting ingredients, and add herbs and spices to add interest. There are plenty of grain bowl recipe ideas out there to choose from.
Kale Recipes With Pasta
Kale works very well in a huge range of pasta dishes, both as a fresh green, and as a pesto or in a cheesy sauce. But if you want to try something a little different, how about making your own pasta for a change… either using pasta flour, or, for something different, try a lower carb alternative and make ‘pasta’ from vegetables.
For example, how about making a beetroot ‘pasta’ and combining that with crispy kale, blood orange and honey walnuts. Or make ‘courgetti’ to serve with kale.
Kale Smoothies (And other Kale Recipes for Breakfast)
If you really cannot handle eating another green kale leaf, why not blend some up into a smoothie. You’ll still get all the goodness, but won’t have to chomp your way through the leaves. By blending the kale with some fruits or other sweeter vegetables like carrots, for example, you can make a healthy smoothie that you will actually enjoy drinking.
But kale smoothies are not the only way to enjoy kale for breakfast. You might also like to consider making a somewhat more substantial variant of a smoothie, with some overnight oats or oatmeal porridge.
Another option is to consider serving your eggs on a bed of greens like kale. You could have them plain, or add tomatoes and spice for something a little more flavoursome.
Another idea for eggs is to make kale omelettes. Or if you love pancakes first thing, try savoury ones with kale and cream cheese, for example.
You could also bake kale into a range of artisan breads to eat in the morning or at any other time throughout the day. For example, how about a kale and herb soda bread? Or get a Mediterranean vibe by adding kale to bread along with some feta cheese, olives and herbs. If your gluten free, you can also make a gluten free kale loaf with almond meal and baking powder.
Baked Goods Kale Recipes
There are also a range of muffin recipes you could try. How about coconut kale muffins, lemon kale muffins, or quinoa and kale muffins with feta cheese, ground almonds and avocado? There are plenty of great sweet and savoury recipes out there that incorporate kale as one of the ingredients.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty more interesting ways to use up all the kale that you grow in your polytunnel. From stews and casseroles, to risottos, to curries and chillies, there are so many ideas for kale that you should never run out of intriguing new options. So next time you look at the kale growing in your polytunnel and sigh – feeling bored by the idea of eating it – just think about some of these more unusual kale recipes, and the great many ways it can be used.
Got any more great kale recipe ideas? Share your recipe suggestions below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.