Lately I’ve been more than a little obsessed with kale because of its powerful health properties, low cost, and because it is so easy to grow in my garden. In fact, it grows so well in my garden that I feel challenged to come up with enough ways to use it before it overtakes all the other veggies growing out there.
I like to take one of the kids out to the vegetable garden with me to help me decide what vegetable to use in our dinner. When we use greens like kale, we take a pair of sharp scissors and I have them clip the big leaves into a large metal bowl. Then we bring it in and wash it thoroughly. This is a really important step as it may have dirt, bugs or sand clinging to it. I really like the kids to see how easy it is to grow some of our own food and how delicious it can be to make it part of our meals.
- Kale taking over Aviva’s garden.
So far this summer we’ve made Baked Kale Chips (Celia’s favorite), Kale Salad (Andrew’s favorite), and Fusilli with Prosciutto and Kale (Solomon’s favorite) with the kale from our vegetable patch.
When using kale, you and your kitchen helpers can easily separate the leaves from the stems by sliding your fingers up the stems from the bottom — the leaves should slide right off the stems. Any portions of the stem that are still attached to the leaves should be tender enough to eat. In this recipe, the prosciutto or ham gives it an extra smoky and savory flavor, but you can easily leave it out for a vegetarian meal.
What are your favorite ways to use kale in your meals and snacks?
Recipe: Fusilli with Prosciutto and Kale
The prosciutto or ham gives it an extra smoky and savory flavor
- 16 oz. fusilli noodles
- 1 head kale, large stems removed, coarsely chopped (about 1 lb.)
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs, preferably fresh
- 4 oz. prosciutto, smoked ham, or soy chorizo, chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions until it is al dente. Two minutes before the pasta is done, scoop out ¼ cup of the pasta’s water and set it aside. Add the kale to the pasta pot and cook it for 2 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat and add 2 Tbsp. olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, stir them for about 30 seconds but don’t let the garlic brown, then add the bread crumbs, toasting them until they are golden. Remove them to a plate. If adding the meat, wipe out the skillet and add the remaining Tbsp. of oil. Add the prosciutto, ham, or soy chorizo and sauté it until it is browned and crisp, 3 – 5 minutes. Transfer it to the plate with the bread crumbs.
- Drain the pasta and kale, return it to the pot or to a large serving bowl, and toss it with the bread crumbs (and meat, if using), adding the reserved water if it is too dry. Serve it immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese, or refrigerate it for up to 3 days.