Friday, August 5, 2011

Cooking Kale and Swiss Chard

I've been getting a lot of questions lately on how to cook kale and swiss chard. I'm just going to give a few quick suggestions for some super simple ways to cook these vegetables. These tips can also be used for any kind of leafy sautéing green, such as spinach or beet greens.

To prep kale or swiss chard for cooking, first you want to remove the tough stems (this isn't necessary for smaller, tenderer leafy greens such as spinach, or baby beet greens). Fold the leaf in half so that the rib is exposed and then cut it away with your knife or gently rip the leaves off the stem and rib. The stems are also delicious (particularly swiss chard and beet green stems) but I recommend that you chop them up separately into small pieces and steam or sauté them for a little while before adding the leaves. After the steam is removed, then chop the leaves into bite sized strips.

Winterbor Kale (curly leaf, tougher)
Red Russian Kale (flat leaf, more tender)

The easiest way to prepare kale is either by sautéing or steaming it. There are many different types of kale, ranging from very tender White and Red Russian Kale (my favorite type of kale and the kind we have been growing and selling all summer) to the tougher Winterbor Kale (which we'll have this Fall). With tender varieties a short sauté or steam will probably be sufficient to cook it through, but with tougher varieties you may want to sauté it for a little while to incorporate some flavors and then add some water and cover to steam until tender enough to eat.

Easy Sautéing Recipe for Kale

olive oil
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes*
lemon juice*


1. Wash kale well and prep for cooking by removing stems
2. Chop the leaves up
3. In a large pan sauté minced garlic with a Tbsp of olive oil until garlic is wilted (add some chopped up stems and/or onions if desired)
4. Add kale leaves and season with salt and pepper (Also good: crushed red pepper flakes and/or cumin)
5. Cook, stirring, until leaves are wilted and tender enough to eat
6. If cooking a tougher, curly leafed kale, add a little bit of liquid (water, vinegar and wine to name a few) and cover to steam until tender enough to eat.
7. Season to taste (maybe add a little squeeze of lemon juice) and enjoy!

Other Simple Kale and Swiss Chard Recipes:
Baked Kale Chips
Sautéed Swiss Chard with Parmesan cheese
Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Tomatoes

Kale and swiss chard are two of my favorite vegetables, they are delicious, nutritious and easy to cook.

If you have any tips or favorite kale recipes please share them in the comment section. 

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