"We use kale every week. It’s cost-effective, it adds bulk and color, and it’s packed with vitamins K, C, calcium, antioxidants and iron.
“Lacinato (or Dinosaur) kale is not as tough and cooks faster. Sauteed kale is great because it’s simple: oil, kosher salt, fresh garlic, and balsamic vinaigrette. For an Asian flavor profile, you can use tamari, ginger and rice wine vinegar.
“I’m seeing a lot of new dishes with broccoli rabe lately. Kale is a good substitute.”
—Jamie Baribeau, director of food and nutrition, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Brattleboro, VT
“Some might perceive kale to be a little bitter, but we’ve found that garlic counteracts that. As a bonus, garlic is really good for you, too.”
—Drew Patterson, culinary director, OSU Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH
“Kale is part of a very popular side dish in our bistro. We combine it with red potatoes, sesame oil, garlic and onions.”
—Nancy Stewart, MS, RD, LDN, Manager of Nutrition Services, Morris Hospital and Healthcare Center, Morris, IL
“We use kale for smoothies and we’ve also baked it and made it into chips. Another great use for kale is making pesto out of it and serving that with whole-grain pasta.”
—Jarrod McCarthy, general manager of dining services, Metz Culinary Management, Old Trail School, Bath, OH
“The earthy flavor of kale mixes nicely with sweet and sour ingredients. It can stand up to stronger spices and herbs. It works very well in our Moroccan vegetable stew with raisins, apricots and a heavy cumin edge. Curry and coriander also pair up nicely with kale.”
—Owen Moore, AVP, Operations and Business Development for Campus Services, New York University
The Secret to Tender Kale
Method: Rubbing fresh kale with mashed avocado tenderizes the slightly tough leafy green and adds even more nutrients to the plate.
You can use it raw in a salad, “tossed with very strong, acidic vinaigrette,” says Danny Wisel, Flik corporate chef, Hotel and Conference Center Division. “Keep playing the health card by adding pumpkin seeds, nuts, mango…even seaweed. This makes for a super(foods) salad.”
Andrew Schultz, chef at Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI, creates a simple dressing with smashed avocado and uses that to create fresh, zippy and tender raw kale salad.
“Just peel off the leaves from the kale’s spine and use your hands to mix it with a dressing of smashed avocado, lemon juice and olive oil,” Schultz says. He finishes the salad with grape tomatoes, sliced avocado, red onion and shredded carrot.