We all know how tough fresh kale is and that eating it fresh can be very difficult to chew. So, definitely, cooking it will make it a whole lot easier to eat. The Best Way To Cook Fresh Kale would be to either boil it or bake it. Here are 2 different ways I always use to cook my fresh kale, including 2 simple and delicious recipes I love to make with it.
Best Way To Cook Fresh Kale
I use 2 different methods to cook fresh kale leaves. I either boil them to make a simple kale salad or bake them in the oven to make kale chips. I will provide you with instructions for both of these super easy recipes below.
First of all, you may or may not know this. There are different kinds of fresh kale. Curly kale and Lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan Kale, Italian Kale, Dinosaur Kale, Flat Back Kale, Palm Tree kale, or Black Tuscan Palm) are the most common types of kale. Most grocery stores carry curly kale as it seems to be the more popular one. I’ve only seen Lacinato kale at some grocery stores.
Kale is edible leaves that belong to the cabbage family. You can eat it fresh or cooked, but fresh kale leaves can be very difficult to chew, which is why cooking them will make it a lot easier to eat.
I cook both kinds of kale differently, depending on the recipe I use them for.
Here are the main differences between Curly Kale and Lacinato Kale:
1. Curly Kale has crinkly leaves and is lighter in color and harder to chew. It’s best to cook curly kale to make it easier to chew. I prefer the boiling method for curly kale, but you can also steam it.
2. Lacinato Kale leaves are flatter and darker in color. It cooks more quickly, and you don’t have to massage (or break it down as much if using it in fresh salads). I prefer coking Lacinato in the oven for kale chips.
Both Curly Kale and Lacinato Kale are very healthy and full of nutrients. They are super low in calories and contain very high amounts of potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and fair amounts of Iron, Vitamin B-6, Magnesium, and Calcium.
What a great reason to eat kale more often, right?
First, I’ll explain how to prepare your fresh kale before cooking them. Then I’ll share my two favorite methods I use to cook each kind of kale properly, including a simple and delicious recipe for each one.
1. Preparing Your Fresh Kale For Cooking
First of all, wash your fresh kale by rinsing it under very warm/hot water to remove any dirt, etc. Then remove all of the hard stems that are located right in the center of each leaf by either tearing it off with your hands or cutting the leaves off with a sharp knife. Don’t worry if you have a few small ones left over. It can be hard actually to get every little piece.
NOTE: If you are making kale chips, it’s best to dry the leaves first for the best results. You want them to be super dry so they can get crispy. Otherwise, for other kale recipes, the leaves don’t require being dried first before cooking.
2. Bake Fresh Kale in the Oven for Kale Chips
You can bake with any kale you like. However, baking with Lacinato kale makes way crispier kale chips. Curly kale will take a bit longer to cook all of the water out of it for crispy chips. I prefer to bake with Lacinato kale for the best kale chips.
Here is a photo of baked Lacinato (Tuscan) Kale Chips I made.
Instructions for Crispy Baked Kale Chips;
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Toss 1 full bunch of clean kale leaves (without stems) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Do not over-drown them, or it’ll take too long to cook and get crispy.
- Sprinkle on some Sea Salt of choice.
- Spread out the kale leaves on a cookie sheet (parchment paper if needed).
- Cook at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes. Tossing leaves around halfway through for even cooking.
- Take the crispy kale out of the oven and place them on a plate to eat.
3. Boil Fresh Kale on the Stovetop for Kale Salad
You can boil any kale you like on the stovetop. I prefer to boil curly kale for my salads. It only takes a couple of minutes and is an easy and quick way to prepare this very nutritious salad.
I will also explain how you can prepare this easy kale salad and the toppings that go with it. I use unsalted sunflower seeds. They really help give boiled kale salad a delicious light crunch.
NOTE: Salted sunflower seeds will be way too salty for this recipe. I used them in it once, and it was overkill.
Instructions for Stovetop Cooked Kale Salad;
- Fill a pot with water with some sea salt on top of the stove and set to high heat.
- When the water comes to a boil, add 1 full bunch of clean kale leaves only (no stems).
- Boil on high for approximately 2 minutes.
- Pick up the cooked kale leaves using tongs and gently allow as much water as you can to drip back off into the pot.
- Place kale on a plate (Optional – dab it with a paper towel to absorb some of the excess water) and set aside.
Prepare Kale Salad Toppings;
- Using a small frying pan on medium to low heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a handful of unsalted sunflower seeds.
- Roast the unsalted sunflower seeds for approximately 2 minutes and then set them aside.
- In a small bowl, add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to create a dressing.
- Drizzle the dressing over top of the cooked kale and sprinkle with unsalted roasted sunflower seeds on top.
Conclusion – Two Easy Ways To Cook Fresh Kale!
There you have two easy ways to cook fresh kale.
It only takes a couple of minutes to prepare and is considered one of the best superfoods on the plant.
I believe we should be eating more of it!
I buy both curly kale and Lacinato kale as both provide many essential nutrients that are so good for us to eat.
I prefer to boil curly kale for kale salads and bake with Lacinato kale for crispy kale chips.
Fresh or frozen kale also goes great in smoothies. But, It’s best to use an excellent blender like this to ensure very smooth results, so you don’t get any chunks of kale left in it.
There you have 2 effortless ways to prepare your fresh kale.
What kind of kale do you have?
What recipe do you plan to try?
Please feel free to share with us in the comments below.