Kale. It’s one of those veggies that people either love or hate, there’s really no in between. In my house, we love it but it’s because of how it’s cooked. I grew up with some really bad kale dishes and so did my husband, which I’m sure many of you have stories you can tell. I’m so glad that we gave it a try again
One of the tricks to cooking kale is to blanch it for a few minutes before cooking it, unless of course you’re going for the crisp, chewyness of it in a salad or for kale chips. Blanching keeps the bright green color and allows you to stir fry it or do a quick braise without overcooking it. I do mine between 3 and 6 minutes depending on the dish and the type of kale. Some kales are more tender than others and each variety has each other flavors.
Part of the fun of using kale are the strong earthy flavors it gives to a dish, whether it’s a juice drink, salad, chips or side dish. It also makes a great bed to display the main attraction of the meal, just make sure you’re planning on it being part of the dish and not just a condiment for making the dish look pretty. I find it sad and such a waste of wonderful vitamins, minerals and yummy goodness when I see kale being used only as a garnish.
The recipe I’m sharing today is Garlic and Ginger Kale with Sesame Seeds. Asian inspired flavors make this dish a star (I could eat it as the main dish). Soy sauce, ginger and roasted or toasted sesame seeds all work together to create a dish that will work tossed in noodles or served as a side dish for any Asian inspired meal (or any meal in my opinion). It’s one of those dishes that you can use to entice those who don’t like kale to try, because they might just change their minds about kale after they give it a taste.
This is a low-fat, healthy side dish that will have you asking for more. Do remember that the kale will reduce in size from raw to cooked by more than half, so plan to have enough for everyone (they will be asking for seconds). I usually plan on a small bunch per person or a large bunch for 2 as a way of measuring when buying in the store. Another great thing about kale is that it’s easy to grow in a garden or in containers and will grow through the winter (summer in higher altitude places and where it stays cool at night), so you can easily grow your own.
If you want to add more Asian flavor to the dish, switch up the olive oil for sesame oil for stronger sesame flavor. Personally our taste buds loved for the roasted sesame seeds to be the star because they offered plenty of sesame flavor along with just a little nutty crunch to the dish.
Garlic and Ginger Kale with Sesame Seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced (about 3/4″ piece)
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large bunch of kale
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. roasted or toasted sesame seeds (optional but I wouldn’t leave them out)
In a large pot, blanch the kale for 3 minutes. Drain and squeeze most of the water out before setting aside. If you need instructions on blanching check out this link for more information.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and bring to just before smoking. Add the garlic and ginger to the oil, stirring for about a minute before adding the kale. Add the soy sauce, toss to coat and cook kale to your desired doneness. Toss in the sesame seeds and remove kale to serving dish.
The kale is good served warm or cold and you can substitute with spinach, bok choy, Swiss chard or collards for more variety.
Serves 2 to 3.
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