Right behind meal planning and shopping for healthy ingredients, the most reader emails I get are for ways to cook Kale and get more leafy greens in our diets. Basically, How to Eat More Kale!
Especially for our family members who we may cook for and might have some push-back around this now popular, yet still controversial leafy green veg.
So, today we are going to talk how to incorporate greens – specifically Kale and Collards – into your diet and do it in a delicious way!
Soups are a natural place to use these hardy greens – they respond really well to the long cooking time and high heat and add a lot of nutrition right into the broth.
1. This Slow Cooker Lentil Soup is one of my most popular recipes and is very forgiving – I have made it with Swiss Chard, Kale and Collard Greens and they are all excellent in there!
2. This next soup is really tasty but it’s one of the first recipes I ever posted on here and let’s just say the photography is not drool-worthy so I will save you from having to stare at a somewhat ugly picture. This is in the “re-take the photo file” but trust me when I say this is one good bowl of soup. Mushroom Barley Soup with Kale.
3. A personal favorite – Collard Greens Soup with Beans and Spicy Chicken Sausage. This is just a bowl full of goodness and could convert the biggest Greens hater in my opinion. The Collards get so buttery and sweet from the long cooking time, the beans are creamy and then the Spicy Sausage rounds the whole thing out. I’m getting hungry just writing about it! TIP: If you are trying to convert a Greens Hater with this soup, make sure to cut your Collards into small bite sized pieces!
4. This Vegan Chickpea Stew with Bulgur + Za’atar (and Kale) has some great flavors going on and is perfect for those who love Mediterranean flavors. There is just enough Kale to get the benefits of this super-food but not so much that it overwhelms the chickpeas, bulgur and za’atar.
5. Last but definitely not least in the Soup department is this Vegan Double Greens + Orzo Soup. So, what could be better than a soup with Greens? A soup with not one, but two kinds of Greens. This easy-to-make gem features Kale and Organic Baby Spinach.
Now, let’s talk Salads. Kale Salads are all the rage and for good reason. These greens are one of the few that actually get better the longer they sit around with dressing on them. Think about the implications? Easy to pack, pre-dressed salads that can go to work, travel, picnics, ball games, etc. This is a game changer for me – easy to take-along greens that are ready to eat? Count me in.
6. I would probably get clubbed if I didn’t start with my Sort of A Kale Caesar. This recipe has been pinned over 6K times (as of when I wrote this) and is on weekly rotation in my house.
7. Another sneaky place to start getting more of these healthy Greens into your diet is with recognizable side dishes like this Collard Slaw. Who isn’t familiar with Cole Slaw and this while this version modernizes it and adds some greens, the familiar taste is not lost!
8. Now, this Massaged Kale Salad is for you more experienced Kale Lovers out there. This uses Flax Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar to soften the Kale and tosses it around with a couple more detoxifying ingredients. You know that I love Kale and I eat this all the time but I think you have to like the taste of Kale to start with if you are going to make this.
9. Kale Chips.
Do we even need to introduce them? I still make them all the time and usually eat a whole head of Kale “Chips” to myself. TIP: Winter Kale (after the first frost) is generally sweeter and you may not have to remove the stems. I do recommend removing them in other seasons as the stems can add a lot of bitterness to the chips. Personally, I always remove the stems but play around with it.
Entrees and Side Dishes: Side Dishes are a bit more obvious when it comes to leafy greens so in case you don’t have a couple go-to recipes in your back pocket, here are two.
10. Garlicky Braised Collard Greens are so delicious. Again, like in the Collard Greens soup above, the Collards cook long enough to get sweet and tender. They are brightened up with just a touch of lemon juice and rounded out with butter, garlic and crushed red pepper. Hands down, one of my most favorite ways to eat Collard Greens!
11. This next side dish features Kale and is a bit spiced up but not in a chili pepper kind of way. Peppery Braised Greens with Mushrooms is an earthy and flavorful way to get more Kale in your life. Like my Mushroom Barley Soup with Kale mentioned above, this is a very early Everyday Maven recipe and I will spare you the ugly photo.
12. A really easy place to get more Greens in your life is in Stir-Fry’s. Most people who eat Stir-Fry’s are accustomed to leafy greens (like Bok Choy, Chinese Cabbage, etc.) in there so if you just substitute some Kale or Collards, you probably won’t scare them at all. This SuperFood Stir Fry has Kale in it and is great. The Kale doesn’t stand out amongst the other strong flavors but really makes this simple Stir Fry a nutritional powerhouse.
13. A family favorite and a totally different way to think about these greens is this Lasagna Inspired Spaghetti Squash Casserole. If you haven’t tried this yet, do it while the cold weather is still here. This is really satisfying and loaded with healthy ingredients plus it is a casserole that feeds a hungry crowd– that always make life a little bit easier!
14. Finally, a radical way to think about Collards and a Low-Carb Burrito. These Shrimp + Beans in Greens Burritos are fun to make and practically guilt-free. I don’t know about you but those huge flour tortillas are very rarely appealing to me in terms of calories and Points Plus.
And, to top it all off, I also asked some fellow food bloggers for their favorite, healthy Kale and Collards recipes. I was thrilled to get so many great responses so here are even MORE Kale and Collards recipes for inspiration!