By request (and because, really, I should have done it in the first place), I’m going to share some of the recipes that I made during my Month of Kale.
Most of them came from my current favorite cookbook: Appetite for Reduction. It’s a low-fat vegan cookbook by the brilliant Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I know that, for many, either the low-fat or vegan label would be enough to scare a person off—let alone both together—but I have been cooking from it almost exclusively for the past two months, and I have been remarkably satisfied. That woman is a genius with spices—really, it’s alchemy, pure and simple. In other words: keep an open mind! And read on for the recipes…
Con PapasAdapted from Appetite for Reduction
Serves 6, Time: ~ 45 minutes
Note: The original recipe called for potatoes, but I’m just not a big fan of potatoes in soup. So, I skipped the potatoes and doubled the beans. If you find yourself clamoring for potatoes, you’ll want 1 lb. of yukon golds cut into 1/2 in. pieces, boiled separately, and added at the same time as the beans.
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, diced small
3 jalepeños, seeded and diced up (the recipe calls for slicing thinly…I am not that patient or skilled with a knife)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into a medium dice
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 lb tomatillos, papery skin removed, washed, chopped into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces
1 lb kale, coarse stems removed, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 cups vegetable broth (I think a milder broth would work best here)
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped scallions
3 cups navy beans (this is double the original recipe, see note above)
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp light agave nectar (I used amber agave, and it worked just fine)
(1) In a 4 quart pot, sauté the onion, jalepeño, and bell pepper in the oil over medium-high heat for 7 minutes. Everything should be getting soft, and the onions should be starting to brown a bit. If things start to stick, add a splash of water or, if you’re not concerned about fat content, use more oil (maybe another tsp or two).
(2) Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt; sauté for another minute until you can really smell the garlic.
(3) Add the tomatillos and white wine, turn the heat up a bit, let the white wine reduce some, and wait until the tomatillos release their juices—about 5 minutes.
(4) Add the vegetable broth, scallions, and cilantro (The recipe calls for 1/2 cup now and the rest for garnish. I don’t care about garnish, so I added it all now, and it worked just fine.) Turn the heat down until it’s simmering (medium-lowish), cover, and let it go for about 5 minutes to heat everything through.
(5) Time to partially puree everything. If you’ve got an immersion blender, go to it. If you use a food processor or blender, you’ll have to go in batches, and be careful not to let steam build up (we don’t want a kaboom with burns and/or splattered walls—maybe let it cool a bit first).
(6) Once it’s all back in the pot, add the kale, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes or so until the kale is soft. Add the beans and simmer for another few minutes until they’re heated through. Add lime juice and the agave, tasting and adjusting until you’re happy with the sweet/tart balance.
Curried Chickpeas and Greens
Adapted from Appetite for Reduction
Serves 6, Time: ~ 45 minutes
2 tsp olive oil
1 3/4 tsp mustard powder (I used Colman’s)
1 small onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (listed as optional, but I like it spicy, so I say go for it)
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1 12-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 lbs kale, coarse stems removed, chopped finely
1 28-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (that’s about 3 cups of cooked beans—if you want to use dried beans, cook up a whole bag and freeze what’s left in 1 1/2 cup portions—1 1/2 cups = 15 oz. can)
(1) In a 4 quart pot, add the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat for 4 to 7 minutes until it’s nice and translucent. If it starts to get too sticky, add a splash of water or a bit more oil (for those not concerned with fat content). Add the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and sauté for another minute or so.
(2) Add the tomatoes, stirring to get mix in everything that’s stuck to the bottom of the pot. (The pros call this deglazing.) Cook for 3 more minutes, then add the mustard powder, curry, cumin, coriander, garam masala, and salt. Stir it in well.
(3) This recipe call for a A LOT of kale, so add it in batches. Mix each addition around in the tomato-y sauce; then cover the pot, let it simmer for a few minutes, stir—repeat as necessary until it reduces in size, and then add another batch. Be patient—it takes time for all that springy kale to relax into the saucy goodness. Don’t worry, though; it’ll get there. Once all the kale has been added, let it simmer covered for 10 minutes or so, so that the greens are nice and tender.
(4) Add those chickpeas, cook for 5 minutes so that they get heated through, and taste to make sure you’re happy with the level of salt.
Notes: I skipped the potatoes and doubled the beans (are you sensing a theme here?). When I serve this, I add a squirt of sriracha sauce on top to finish each bowl. I warn you, it’s hopelessly addictive. The book warns that you may feel compelled to eat it for breakfast; I laughed and said never—but would you care to guess what I did this morning? (Yes, you’re right. And so is Isa…it makes a fantastic breakfast.)
Week 4 and beyond:
This is where I went crazy and started adding kale to recipes that called for nary a kale leaf. A few notes on that. Since it’s winter I’ve been making a lot of soups and stews, and I find it very easy to add kale here (much as I might have previously opted to throw in some fresh—or frozen—spinach). In both cases,
- I added approximately 1 lb. of kale to each recipe, but that’s a lot of kale, so do add however much suits your fancy.
- I prepped it by removing the coarse stems, washing it, and ripping or chopping it into bite sized pieces.
- I added it near the end of the recipe, stirring it into the soup, covering the pot, and allowing it to simmer for several minutes until the kale reduces and incorporates.
So, there you have it. Be off with you, and happy kale-ing!