A quick overview of the most common types of kale
Green Kale: With vibrant green wrinkly leaves, this is the most common kale found in grocery stores, and you can add it to just about anything!
Red Kale: Similar in texture and flavor to leafy green kale, red varieties — which are actually more purple — add a splash of exotic color, whether raw or cooked.
Tuscan Kale: Discovered in Italy in the 19th century, Tuscan kale (also called dinosaur kale or lacinato kale) has deep green, smooth stems and a rugged, wrinkly texture. It’s great for braising or sauteing and it’s terrific finely shredded and tossed into stir-fries.
Ornamental Kale: Also known as salad savoy, ornamental kale — often green, purple, pink or white — is popular in flower gardens and makes a great garnish. But it’s edible too, as long as it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides. It’s best harvested when still small and tender.
More Kale Cooking Tips
- Blend a few chopped-up young kale leaves — but not the stems or very thick leaves — into fruit smoothies. It’s a great way to sneak greens into the diets of the veggie-averse, especially kids.
- Add kale to breakfast egg dishes. Try an omelet with par-cooked potatoes, caramelized onions and steamed kale — or a scramble made with tomatoes, bell peppers, green onion and kale sprinkled with feta cheese.
- Whip up a quick summer kale saute with garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and basil. Saute kale with small amounts of bacon for flavor, then lightly braise it in vegetable stock to soften. Great with roasted turkey, meatloaf or grilled tofu.
- Chop, cook and mix kale with grains to add nutrients and flavor to dishes like barley risotto or rice pilaf.
- Kale is wonderful in miso soup or tossed with rice noodles.
- Kale’s earthy flavor pairs well with hearty meats, beans and sausages. I particularly like kale with braised pork. I often substitute sauteed kale for cooked spinach in spanakopita, on pizza, or layered with ricotta cheese in calzone.
- Blanched and frozen kale is great to have on hand. If you gently break it in the bag, it can be easily added to simmering marinara sauce, soups, stews and beans.
Kale, Mushroom and Cream Cheese Scramble
Sauteed, steamed or braised kale (especially refrigerated leftovers) is an easy and delectable addition to your breakfast eggs — or just about any other meal.
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup julienned kale
1/4 cup diced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 tbs. finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup small diced tomatoes
2 eggs, lightly whipped
1 tbs. milk
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add vegetables and saute until they begin to sweat, about five minutes.
2. Whip the eggs with the milk and season with salt and pepper. Slowly pour into the pan with vegetables. With a heat-resistant spatula, gently push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the uncooked egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there’s no liquid left.
3. Turn off the heat and add the cream cheese, gently stirring and turning the egg until all the uncooked parts become firm. Place on plate and serve with fresh fruit.