Kale, Apple, and Pancetta Salad
With slightly bitter kale and radicchio, crispy-salty pancetta, tart apples and sweet maple syrup, this hearty winter salad hits all the right taste buttons.
Fusilli with Sausage, Kale, and Sungold Tomatoes
This delicious, wintry combination of sweet Italian sausage and earthy kale is an intensely rich dish, dependent on the gorgeous taste of porky fat reduced with pasta cooking water to create an unctuous sauce. The blanched kale is added once the sausage is crisp and caramelized. The tomatoes come last, left to blister and soften for just a few moments. Their sweet-tart burst does wonders for this dish.
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Butter Beans with Kale and Eggs
This dish takes its inspiration from Toledo, Spain, where suckling pigs roasted in a wood-fired oven are served alongside a large cazuela filled with judias--a fat, white kidney-shaped relative of the butter bean or lima bean--cooked into a porky, creamy, tomatoey stew. Definitely something worth replicating at home, with a few local-friendly modifications. This dish is also a great way to use pork bones and scraps left over from other kitchen exploits.
Farro Salad with Roasted Kale and Beets
When facing cold weather, nothing beats seasonal vegetables treated to the deep flavor of caramelization the oven provides. The roasted kale is tender in parts and starting to crisp in others, which adds fantastic texture, and the filling farro makes this a satisfying main.
Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale
This is one of those incredibly versatile recipes that can be eaten any time of the day, as a main or side, served warm or chilled; most importantly, it's incredibly healthy and comes together in about 10 minutes. Non-vegans might add a poached egg perched on top of the kale, or a mound of creamy, cheesy polenta on the side. But if you prefer to keep things animal-product free, a side of vegan risotto or grits would make a lovely accompaniment to these garlicky greens.
Vegan Marinated Kale and Chickpea Salad
This tasty marinated kale salad, combined with some sort of bean--in this case chickpeas, but any bean would work just as well--and topped with some sumac-marinated onions (or just plain onions if you like), makes for a hearty side dish or a light lunch. And unlike most salads, this one keeps very well in the fridge, retaining its crunch and developing flavor over a couple days.
Italian Kale and Farro Soup
This minestrone-style soup is rich and satisfying thanks to root vegetables, but bright and leafy thanks to the canned tomatoes and a winter staple like kale. The real secret here is farro, the Italian grain. Nutty and chewy, it's sort of like barley but with a much more interesting flavor and texture. It adds something substantial without turning it into health food.
Lemony Kale Caesar Salad
This a great, unexpected take on our winter go-to green.The recipe takes a super charged Caesar dressing (think plenty of lemon, garlic, and anchovies) and uses it to dress dark green leaves of kale. It will add brightness to your winter salad repertoire, not to mention inspiring all sorts of other kale salad ideas.
Kale and Onion Pie
This recipe, adapted from Mark Bittman, is surprisingly easy and delicious. The crust is unusual--it's made with mayonnaise and sour cream--but involves no work of folding in butter or rolling things out. It's more like a batter, which is as easy as mixing together some ingredients, spreading it in the bottom of a pie dish, and layering kale and onions on top. This recipe could also be adapted to a number of fillings--something as similar as chard or any manner of other vegetables.
Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut
Something magical happens when you put dry kale in the oven. As the moisture leaves the tough raw kale, the leaves are transformed into dark green potato chip-crisp bites. This recipe from Heidi Swanson takes the basic kale chip-making method and dresses it up by adding unsweetened large-flake coconut to the kale and seasoning with soy and sesame oil. In a matter of just about 15 minutes, the kale dehydrates and the coconut caramelizes and soaks in all of that deep sesame-soy flavor. Once you've got your crunchy, umami-ified coconut and kale you can mix it with any cooked grain that you'd like.
Lentil and Carrot Salad
This warm and colorful dish combines lentils, carrots, onions, and kale, tossed with a light mustard vinaigrette. It's the perfect meal to coax away a winter chill while loading up on fresh, healthy ingredients.
Smoky Charred Cauliflower and Potato Soup with Kale
In this recipe, starchy potatoes are simply simmered with onions and kale until the kale is tender and flavorful, the onions have melted into the broth, and the potatoes completely disintegrate, thickening the soup into a rich, thick stew. Some really good olive oil drizzled over the top, and you've got a great, filling lunch or dinner. A couple of chipotle chiles add plenty of smoke and just a touch of heat, while lightly charred cauliflower brings a nuttiness that borders on meaty while simultaneously becoming sweeter; all flavors that go very well with the neutral potatoes and kale.
Shrimp with Kale and Shiitakes
With warm weather just around the corner, this earthy, savory dish is a last hurrah for our favorite winter vegetables. It's packed with both nutrients and flavor to tide you over until spring delivers its much-anticipated bounty.
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Braised Kale with Caramelized Onions, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese
This festive side dish is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. Toasty and decadent, it's the very definition of comfort food.
Spicy Stir-Fried Tofu with Kale and Red Peppers
This New York Times stir fry recipe is quick and relatively foolproof. The kale is an unexpected but pleasant addition and behaves well, keeping its size and texture intact. The sauce hits all the notes—garlic, ginger, sesame oil, rice wine, and soy sauce—and employs the common technique of using cornstarch to give the sauce a luxurious texture. While this is billed as a spicy dish, those seeking heat might wish to double or triple the amount of serrano pepper in the recipe.