Kale is a very useful vegetable to us where we live. It can survive and thrive in my garden and polytunnel all year round. I grow several different varieties, both annual and perennial. And we love it here. Yet many of the people I speak to about kale seem to find that after a while, they get rather bored of it over the winter months.
I highly recommend growing kale and other hardy brassicas. They really do provide great value for money, and in the kitchen, they can be far more versatile than you might think. Here are a few of the ways in which I use it in my kitchen:
- Kale crisps – maybe you are already familiar with these, but they can convince even the most reluctant to eat their greens. If you are familiar with this idea but want to ring the changes – try coating the crisps with different seasonings. I’ve even seen one recipe for sweet kale crisps with chocolate and coconut (though I can’t say I’ve tried that one myself).
- Kale based pesto. We have a lot of kale and other leafy greens at this time of year. And I like to use them in a range of pesto recipes. Add some oil, some home grown garlic, and some seeds or nuts, and you will have a versatile pesto that is not only great with pasta but which can also be spread in sandwiches or wraps, used in veggie bakes, in dips or dressings…
- Kale ‘dolmades’ – kale can also be used to make a slightly different take on dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) or cabbage wraps. I make a range of different stuffed leaf dishes using kale leaves filled with a range of other ingredients, such as beans, pulses and grains. You can make a range of different sauces too.
- Kale sauerkraut – fermented foods are great for you and kale can be added along with other cabbages and other foods to make a sauerkraut crammed with nutrients.
- Kale muffins – when you think of muffins, sweet options are likely to first spring to mind. But muffins can be savoury too. How about making some muffins with kale, cheese (or vegan. cheese) and some nuts and seeds, for a healthy start to your day or an interesting lunch.
Of course, these ideas are just the beginning. I add kale to soups and stews, chillies and curries, omelettes, quiches and pies… kale definitely does not have to be boring, and your winter diet, though it may not be as varied as that of the summer, can still be very interesting indeed.