Nothing says healthful eating quite like kale. The superfood of superfood, it has the added advantage of being widely available and relatively affordable. It can also be prepared in an insanely side variety of ways—some of our favorites are here.
Note that if you find the flavor of kale just too bitter to bear, blanch it to soften its flavor and texture: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, dip the kale in the boiling water just until it wilts, about 1 minute, transfer the leaves to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, lift the leaves out, squeezing out as much water as you can before using them in a recipe. Bonus prize for your effort: blanching “sets” the gorgeous green color of kale.
This super easy one-dish pasta dinner features kale, hearty whole wheat penne, spicy chile flakes, and a scattering of crunchy breadcrumbs. Another easy, one-pan and one-dish dinner is potato-kale baked eggs, flavored with garlic and lemon crème fraîche.
This kale and white bean soup takes a bit more time but is equally weeknight-friendly, as is a tasty and filling humble kale lentil soup. If you want something a tad more elegant, try kale and mushroom soup featuring pancetta and thyme.
For kale neophytes, knowing that there are several varieties of kale—from deep dark lacinato kale (aka dino kale) to lighter curly kale or purple-tinged Russian kale. Unless specified, they can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
Kale pesto with walnuts packs tons of flavor and nutrition in each spoonful. Toss it with pasta, spread it in a sandwich, or use it as a dip. It’s also tasty served alongside eggs or simply cooked chicken.
For those who want as much kale texture and flavor as possible, the answer is kale salads. Massaging, or just squeezing and crushing the raw kale leaves tenderizes them without heat. The classic kale salad features garlic, chile flakes, and parmesan cheese. Try a charred broccoli, lemon, and kale salad for a real hit of citrus tartness from the charred lemon slices or a sweeter take on the kale-citrus combo with kale salad with orange and roasted beets featuring bread cubes to help soak up the rich flavors. Match up kale’s strong vegetal flavor with an equally flavorful dressing in this kale salad with miso dressing or enjoy extra crunch in kale salad with peanut and honey dressing.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but if you want to work raw kale into your diet for health reasons but just don’t like kale salad, a great option is a kale smoothie. All the fruit mixed in does a decent job of overpowering the bitterness of kale, and pureeing it means the tougher texture isn’t a problem.