The Quest for the Tasty Kale

Instead of the “Holy Grail”–get it?

I know. It’s not funny if I have to explain it. Or even if I hadn’t.

I feel like I should be explaining why I haven’t posted anything in so long, but . . . I have no idea, so I can’t.

For last the four or five weeks in our weekly box of veggies, we’ve been getting bunches of kale. This is good because kale is really good for you, but kind of bad because we’ve been having a little trouble finding ways to eat it that we like. It’s kind of leathery, and the flavour is strong and somewhat bitter. I don’t mind it so much; sometimes I eat it off the plate when it’s a garnish at a restaurant. (I like eating garnishes because I can.) But my Paul isn’t a big fan of it in any form, so I’ve been experimenting, trying to find a recipe that makes it palatable.

First we tried boiling it up with some collard greens. I couldn’t really distinguish the kale taste, but Paul could. Then I went online and looked up kale recipes and found a few for kale chips. That sounded intriguing, so last Friday I spent part of the morning of my day off de-ribbing kale leaves, coating them in olive oil and salt, and then spreading them on a tray for baking.

They seemed to take a long time to bake. Not long enough, however, for me to take a shower while they were finishing up, evidently. They were more than finished up by the time I got out of there. They were also completely inedible, even to me, and I eat most things. Except chicken livers. (Long story.) I tried munching on a few of the chips just to see, but they were really, really bad. I pitched both baking sheets-worth into the trash and then the house smelled like I had really wretched indigestion for the rest of the day until I had the sense to tie up the bag and put it outside.

So far the good-tasting kale enterprise was not going so well, but then we got this week’s farm newsletter. Not only does Former-Roommate-Sarah’s family provide vegetables every week, but they also, in their weekly email, compile a recipe or two from various recipe websites. This week, they included this one:

Kale Salad


  • 1 bunch kale, stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • Small handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons


In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas. Toss and serve.

photo by Jennwith2ns 2012

Kale and mango. Who knew?

I didn’t have any pepitas, so I threw some sunflower seeds and chia in there, mixed it all up . . . and loved it. My Paul tasted it, but still didn’t like it. But it doesn’t matter anymore. I could eat kale like that every day.


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