CSA Veggie of the Week: Kale

Photo: Flavia Cori/CC BY 2.0

Anyone who belongs to a CSA understands the beautiful—and often overwhelming—bounty of kale. Just looking at the green, you can tell it’s hearty, making for a wonderful addition to any plate.

Many call it a super-veggie. “One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K,” writes Kathleen Zelman, director of nutrition for WebMD. “It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.”

Usually, when something’s this good for you, it doesn’t taste good. But not in the case of this powerhouse. Though kale can taste pretty similar regardless of what it’s paired with, it can go with so many different foods—pastas and garbanzo beans and chicken and steak. (This spread from Cooking Light offers kale 14 ways.)

One of the best uses we’ve found thus far has been in a crustless quiche. Any simple quiche recipe will work for the base; we’ve used this Mark Bittman recipe in the past. Before combining the cream, eggs, cheese, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, we sautéed two cups of fresh kale with garlic scapes and a little bacon. Mix it all together and bake for 30 minutes in the oven.

You can also try kale chips. Wash and dry a head of kale, then cut out the middle ribbing. Break up the remaining leaves into chip-size pieces, toss with olive oil and salt, and bake for about 20 minutes at 275° or 300°. Rotate once. These are best when eaten right out of the oven because they retain their crunch; eaten later they’re still tasty but, let’s be honest, a little chewy.

In talking with my colleagues about kale, someone suggested making a smoothie with the greens. I’ve not yet tried it, but I included a recipe below, in case it piques your interest. Plus, four other kale-inspired recipes:

Strawberry-Kale Smoothie, Taste for Adventure
Orecchiette with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Cooking Light
Quinoa With Mushrooms, Kale, and Sweet Potatoes, Real Simple
Spicy Stir-Fried Tofu With Kale and Red Pepper, Serious Eats
Kale and White Bean Soup, Martha Stewart

Next week I plan to tackle the tomato, which we’re getting this week for the first time this CSA season!

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