Cooking Kale and Swiss Chard

Kale can be eaten raw in salads or blended in a smoothie, or sautéed with olive oil.
It is so versatile and can be combined with many ingredients to create extremely nutritious and delicious dishes.

Kale is best eaten raw when it is young and tender, fresh from the farm.
Preparing kale: rinse, drain and chop; remove the spine by folding the entire leaf and tear or cut the thick, middle stem. Then tear or cut the remaining leaves. You can slice into “ribbons” for a salad or to add to soup or greens, or chop into 2 inch pieces to cook til tender.

To tenderize tougher, older kale, submerge into pot of boiling, lightly salted water. Stir kale, let come to boil, cover, keeping partially uncovered to allow steam to escape; cook for 3-4 minute, stirring periodically. Taste after 3 minutes; remove from heat when tender but still has a bit of texture. Strain + cool. This can be eaten as is with olive oil or sauté onion + garlic in olive oil and add chopped kale; cook another 3-4 minutes.

You can keep this prepared kale in your refrigerator all week; add to soups, pasta, cooked beans, rice, cooked potatoes, vegetables, your choice! Other ideas: puree kale and add to macaroni and cheese. Braised Beans and Kale recipe follows.
Swiss Chard is also extremely versatile and can be prepared identically to kale, with less cooking time and less attention to trimming stems. Almost the entire leaf is edible; trim very tips of chard which can be tough. Remaining part of the leaf and stem will cook nicely.

Kale Apple Smoothie
4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chopped kale, ribs and thick stems removed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

  • Place the kale, celery, banana, juice, ice, and lemon juice in a blender.
  • Blend until smooth and frothy. Key to this smoothie is to blend very well!

Braised Beans + Kale with Tomatoes: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds kale, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups Braised Beans, recipe follows**
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Braised Beans:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 stalk of celery chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ pound beans, pre-soaked overnight
  • 4 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and when hot, add the bay leaf, garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and the tomatoes and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to break down and become saucy. Add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the beans, cover and cook until the kale is wilted and cooked through, about 20 minutes. To serve, transfer to serving dish and drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil if desired.

Braised Beans:
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat; when hot add the olive oil, onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, until vegetables begin to caramelize. Add the crushed red pepper, beans and stock or water and cook at a slow simmer, covered for 1 ½ hours or until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste towards the end of cooking. You may substitute 2 cans of cooked beans in place of dried beans; cooking time reduced to 20-25 minutes.

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