Kale, one of the most healthful dark greens around, is known for being a nutritional powerhouse. But it’s easy to buy a big, leafy bunch of it and forget about it in the fridge, or to simply chop it up for a salad. There’s nothing wrong with either scenario, of course—you can always throw wilting greens into a soup or smoothie—but some studies show that cooking kale may boost its health benefits. So think about all the ways to love kale next time you have a good-looking bunch of it, whether it’s sautéing it, blending it, or turning it into chips. Here are a few of our favorite ways to love it.
For that first meal of the day, consider greens. It’s such a smart way to sneak yourself extra vegetables over the course of a day, and this recipe is spicy and satisfying. Bonus: It’s ready in about half an hour, and delightful alongside toast.
Pasta is another clever place to sneak in some greens, as with this delicious carbonara. Pork of any sort and kale are wonderful together, and bacon is one of its favorite foils. Pro tip: Call this dish “bacon and eggs pasta,” and watch even children give it a chance.
Turning kale into a pesto with Parmesan and olive oil tends to soften any bitter notes. This pesto finds its true calling in a pizza with blue cheese and thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes. It makes an enormously satisfying vegetarian supper.
If you’re accustomed to solely making Western dishes with dark greens, consider looking east for your next meal. Saag paneer, the delightful Indian cuisine classic, gets a neat twist in these simple spiced greens featuring plenty of paneer. A pre-packaged mix of kale and other winter greens is a fine starting point for this weeknight meal.
Sometimes it’s good not to overthink the vegetable portion of your meal, which is why we’re partial to drizzling a bunch of washed, dried, julienned, seasoned kale with olive oil, tossing it together, and plunking a roast chicken, chops or a steak on top. This pork chops with kale salad recipe employs a similar technique. The chops are the star player, but you can use them to lightly wilt the kale by just popping them on top of the accompanying salad.
Tried-and-true kale chips are one of the best way to get children to eat their dark greens we’ve spied (and we’ve tried a lot!) Salty, oily, and crackly, these make a gratifyingly crunchy sound when you eat them. Try telling the kids the grocery store was out of potato chips, and see how far you can get.
When in doubt about kale, soup it up! This cauliflower number is as tasty as it is pretty, and features a crackle of crisp kale on top for a gorgeous final flourish.