Bagged, chopped and pre-washed kale have been flooding the supermarket. My local organic market has it and so does Trader Joe’s. While this kale is a lot easier to use, I really don’t think it tastes as good. So I stick with buying kale in bunches and cleaning it myself.
With the kale that is especially dirty, a general rule of thumb (from where I’m not sure) is that you should wash it three times. Here is my technique for washing it, especially when I find little bugs, like this one, even after I take it out of the fridge.
Step 1. Fill a large bowl with water. Tear of kale pieces from the stem and drop them into the bowl of water. With clean hands, fully emerge and stir the kale to loosen up the dirt.
Step 2. Using a large colander, take big handfuls of kale out of the bowl of water and drop it into the colander until no kale is left in the bowl of water. You’ll see bits of dirt in the remaining water. This is supposedly the best way to separate the dirt from the kale.
Step 3. Dump out the bowl of water. (Ideally, dump it into your garden and use it to water your plants so as to not waste the water). Then repeat the process until you don’t see any (or at least not much) dirt in the leftover water, or about 3 times.
Step 4. Enjoy! in recipes such as…
Tags: Greens, Kale
There are several vegan advocates who also advocate for a low-fat, largely oil-free diet, such as Happy Herbivore, the folks at Forks Over Knives, and Engine2 Diet. While I have not tried to cut out oil completely, I have played around with eliminating it from some dishes and realized it is surprisingly easy. Matt complains that sauteing onions in water instead of oil smells bad, but he hasn’t said that it affects the taste at all. And I haven’t been able to tell the difference in either smell or taste.
My primary way of making greens used to be sauteed. Here is a way to saute the greens in water — which is basically like steaming them but with less dishes. Don’t expect to enjoy these greens by themselves; they will be too bland. Serve them under a high flavor dish such as roasted delicata squash, roasted vegetables, chili or other stew, a curried dish, etc.
- 1/2-1 lbs mixed greens such as kale, chard, spinach and arugula (or, just one type of green — although arugula by itself may be too strong), torn/chopped and rinsed clean
- 1-2 teaspoons chopped or minced garlic (approximate – a few cloves would work fine)
- 2-3 teaspoons capers (optional – it adds a nice salty flavor)
- 1/4-1/3 cup water
- pinch of chili powder (optional)
- salt/pepper to taste
- Using a medium to large saucepan or saute pan that has a lid, heat the water at medium-high heat (A little higher heat than you heat olive oil or other saute oil)
- Add the garlic and capers, stir and cook for a couple minutes
- Add the greens, stir around (using tongs, ideally), then cover with the lid. Let sit for 3-5 minutes. This is important for getting rid of the bitterness in greens like kale.
- Uncover and season with salt, pepper and chili powder if using. Cook for about 3-5 minutes more, or longer, until only a little water is left in the pan.
- Serve by mixing with a high flavor dish such as roasted delicata squash, roasted vegetables, chili or other stew, a curried dish, etc.
Tags: Greens, Kale
Apologies for the long break in posting. I took a two week work trip to northern Iraq and got off track. Now I’m back home and eager to enjoy the last of summer’s tomatoes and the new fall vegetables.
Here is one of our favorite squash varieties: Delicata Squash.
How to prepare:
Delicata squash does not need to be peeled or steamed. Just scrub the outside of the fruit, then chop it into rounds. Using a paring knife or your fingers, scrape out the middle part with the seeds, so that you have donut-like rounds. After that, you can saute, grill, bake or roast it.
Roasted Delicata Squash with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and Shallots
The three vegetables in this dish all have rich, sweet flavors once roasted. You do not need much oil for this dish at all. As they cook, the tomatoes will break open and when the juices mix together that is when the taste becomes amazing. It is perfect to serve on top of simple steamed greens, because the strong flavors mask the blandness of the greens.
- 1 delicata squash, cleaned, sliced into rounds and de-seeded
- 1 large container of orange cherry tomatoes, cleaned
- 2-4 shallots, peeled and chopped in quarters
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- several sprigs fresh rosemary and thyme (or you can use dried if you don’t have fresh)
- 1 teaspoon (approx) crushed garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 425
- Spray a long baking dish with cooking spray. Add the vegetables, olive oil, herbs, garlic and salt and mix together
- Cook on the middle tray for about 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes
- Serve mixed with steamed or sauteed greens, like kale, arugula and chard
Served with steamed greens (kale, arugula, and chard):
We took a last minute trip to the beach with my parents this weekend. None of us had planned ahead about dinners. I thought up this one in a hurry. Delicious, filling and super easy.
Tempeh Taco Salad
- 2-3 packs tempeh
- 1 bottle mexican-themed marinade. We used a chipotle lime marinade
- 5-8 oz baby spinach, pre-washed
- 1.5 large avocados (or 2 medium sized avocados)
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons mild vinegar such as white wine or apple cider
- 1.5 cups black beans (or 1 can, rinsed and rained)
- 3/4-1 cup salsa (freshly chopped salsa that isn’t liquid-like is best for this. I got it from the produce section in Harris Teeter)
- 1-2 cups baby corn, frozen then heated in the microwave until no longer frozen
- Tortilla chips
- 1/2 jar olives, chopped
- Marinade the tempeh ahead of time, for at least 30 minutes and ideally longer
- Grill the marinade on a grill for about 5 minute, flipping on both sides. Or, bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until browned.
- Combine the baby spinach, 1 avocado, olive oil and vinegar in a large salad bowl. Using your (clean) hands or strong salad spoons, mix them together, squishing the avocado until only a few chunks of it are left and it has fully coated the spinach. The spinach should look wet and slightly wilt.
- Mix in the beans, salsa, corn and olives
- Take a couple handfuls of tortilla chips and break them into the salad
- Slice the remaining avocado and add to the bowl
- When the tempeh is finished grilling, slice it in half length-wise. Then slice it into strips horizontally so that you have 1-2 inch strips. Add to the bowl
- Serve topped with extra tortilla chips, salsa, corn, olives, and/or non-dairy sour cream, to taste
Sorry, I don’t have a picture!
I made up tonight’s kale dish using leftovers in our fridge and served it next to marinaded, grilled tempeh.
I made it up as I went along, so these ingredient measurements are approximates.
- oil or water for sauteing
- a few shakes of cumin, garam masala, and turmeric
- 1 small or medium red onion, sliced in half moons
- 1-2 large garlic cloves, slices
- 1/2 large yellow pepper, diced
- 1/2 bag chopped kale, rinsed (approx 1 bunch, de-stemmed and chopped)
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
- about 1 cup cooked brown rice
- balsamic vinegar (a few shakes)
- lemon juice (a few drops, maybe 1 tsp)
- salt/pepper to taste
- 1/2 avocado
- Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add spices and stir into oil for about 30 seconds. Add onion and garlic and saute for 5-7 minutes, until tender
- Add yellow pepper and saute a few more minutes
- Add kale and water, stir and cover. Steam for 5 minutes.
- Remove the cover, add the rice, and cook for a few more minutes until most of the water is gone, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off heat, add the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Stir in the 1/2 avocado and serve
Yield: Side dish of 2-4 servings
I had to cook two batches of greens — one chard, one kale — tonight because they had been in our fridge for far too long without being eaten. I figured this is a good time to use my two favorite recipes for each of those superhealthy greens.
My favorite simple kale recipe is based on Bobby Flay’s recipe at this link. Start by sauteing garlic and yellow onion (onion is optional) in oil or water. I add curry-like spices such as cumin, coriander and garam masala at this time, but that is also optional. Then add the kale with some water or vegetable broth. Cover and steam for 5 minutes (this is important to get out the bitterness), then uncover and cook until the liquid is about gone. Add 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and salt/pepper to taste.
My favorite simple chard recipe is from the cookbook, Color Me Vegan by the Compassionate Cook, Colleen Patrick-Goudrea. It involves mixing curry paste with non dairy milk. The creaminess is delicious and low-fat. Check it out in the picture below:
Categories: Easy, Sides
Tags: Chard, Greens, Kale
I’ve been wanting to try some of the tofu recipes on Pinterest, so I tested out this simple stir-fry recipe one from Vegetarian Times. Be warned, it is super spicy!
1. I cooked the tofu first using the recipe linked above, then removed from the pan.
2. Keep the pan hot, add a bit of oil and water, sliced onion and cook for a few minutes.
3. Then added as much cleaned, chopped chard as the pan can handle and cook it until it cooks down.
4. Serve on top of quinoa, topped with cashews and the tofu.
Tags: Cashews, Greens, Tofu
Have I mentioned I love asparagus season? There’s only about a month left, so we’ve been eating it every week. I found a recipe in my latest issue of Vegetarian Times that I modified and put into a salad.
To prepare, chop up the asparagus into 1 inch pieces.
Slice the garlic and green parts of green onions or spring onions.
I also had some dried sweet red pepper lying around that I accidentally bought, so I decided to throw that in the mix. I soaked it in water for 10 minutes to reconstitute, then through it in the saute with the onions, garlic and a bit of oil.
(Because I’m putting this in a salad with salad dressing, I didn’t add any spices here.)
Then add the asparagus and cook until soft but crisp. Remove from heat, and add fresh mint leaves and almonds, if you have them.
Mix with greens, cooked quinoa and chickpeas.
Top with rhubarb salad dressing. Delish.
Kale chips are a fad right now. And there’s a good reason for that. They’re good! I haven’t bought them in the store before, but I’ve played around with different homemade recipes. My favorite is from Color Me Vegan. As the author says, it is surprising how little oil and salt you need to make these things taste good!
Admittedly it is annoying to clean the kale, although I noticed that Trader Joe’s now carries bagged kale, which would make that much easier. I don’t know if it would sacrifice taste though, I haven’t tried the TJ’s bagged kale.
Ingredients include only olive oil, salt, chili powder and nutritional yeast (and kale of course).
Bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes, and they shrink into crunchy chip-like bits:
(In case you noticed, there’s broccoli in there too. I had 1/4 of a head that was about to go bad, so I threw it in with the kale).
Kale chips can be hit or miss, so don’t get discouraged if you the first few times you try it, they don’t come out right.
Here’s an up-close shot:
Tags: Greens, Kale
Kale is a superfood.
Here are my 3 tips re: Kale:
1. It lasts many days (a week+) in the fridge, unlike many other greens (like spinach), which is great.
2. The biggest pain about kale is cleaning it. I rip the pieces of the stem, put the pieces in a bowl full of water, then pick up handfulls and put it in a strainer so that all the dirt is remaining in the water. Repeat until water is clean.
3. Very important: once you put kale in the saute pan, cover it and let it steam for at least 5 minutes. This gets rid of some of the bitterness.
(NOTE: there are sauteed onions, red bell peppers and chickpeas underneath all that kale).
This recipe from FatFree Vegan called for blending soaked cashews with water, garlic and bullion to make a sauce. That’s the white specks that you see in the picture below. It adds a different, creamy but light flavor.
This is a side dish by itself, or an entree if you eat 1/2 of it on top of a hearty grain like rice or quinoa.