Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kale Krisps

Admittedly, at first sight...kale might not be one of the most yummy-looking vegetables you could buy, but take my word for it--it's worth a try. Did you know this about kale?

"Kale is (...) a form of cabbage, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms. Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties; kale is considered to be anti-inflammatory. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium."  (from Wikipedia)

Kale is easily one of my family's favorites. And, as a parent who is forever concerned with the nutrition my family receives, it is a favorite of mine for ensuring my favorite peeps will be getting lots of great vitamins with every bite! We like it cooked (in the last few minutes) in soups or shredded up and wilted in homemade spaghetti sauce, but we also enjoy it as a side dish prepared as follows:

You'll need...
1 bunch organic Lacinato kale (Whole Foods has it, but you can also get other varieties from your local farmer!)
1/2-3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Fill your nice, shiny sink with cold water, allowing your greens to soak for a few minutes. Then swish them around a bit, allowing loose dirt, sand, etc. to fall to the bottom of the sink. Shake the excess water off.

Sometimes I tear each stem of kale by folding the two sides of the leaf toward each other, grasping the stem in my left hand, and then tearing the doubled-up leaf from the top of the stem to the bottom.

(P.S. Noah thanks you for reading and, hence, giving him the opportunity to use his mommy's camera.)
Other times, I find it's faster to fold the leaves in the same way as above, but then just cut them away from their stems on a cutting board. Depends on my patience level at cooking time, I suppose.

Once you've got your stems out of the way, shred the kale thinly.

Now spread the greens out on a parchment paper-lined baking pan. The thinner you can spread them out, the quicker and better they will cook.

(I didn't spread mine very thinly.)

Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. I've tried mozzarella, but it's not nearly as tasty. The cheddar pairs very nicely with the natural saltiness of the kale. I find that this dish needs no extra seasoning. How's that for simple and healthy? Pop your pan in the oven to bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. (If you have as many hungry mouths in your family as I do, you might want to do two bunches...)

About the time that your cheese starts really getting brown, your kale will be crisp-tender and ready to eat.

This side dish can go with lots of different meals. Sometimes we have it along with tomato soup (my favorite pairing). Or with baked potatoes. It also goes well with a chicken, fish, or meat dish.

My kids adore it. But then, they ALL ate pureed kale regularly as babies. It's a flavor they are accustomed to. If you, dear grown-up, have not tried it, you really should do something wild and crazy today and buy yourself a bunch of kale. How much easier can this dish get? 

I originally posted this at Real Food in Little Rock, and today it is linked with Works For Me Wednesday and Real Food Wednesday.


1 comment:

  1. I love kale, but have never tried baking it. Looks really good..especially with the cheese!


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