Olivia Field/Old Gold & Black
Olivia Field/Old Gold & Black

How to: Get Creative with Kale

A telling sign that a specific food is popular is when you can walk across a college campus and see the food’s name on a piece of attire. That, or if, when browsing Instagram, every recipe has the item in it. I am specifically talking about kale — it’s  kind of a big deal right now, not just in foodie culture but also in the health scene. I am not too into healthy eating, considering I eat Moe’s Southwest Grill and frozen pizza often. Nonetheless, I am very much so a kale fan. 

Sadly, I only found my way to the sacred land of kale in the past year. Most times, I used spinach or other greens for salads or pastas until I found kale at the pasta station in the pit. Since then, I have been on the kale boat full sail, adding kale to every and any dish.

The power of kale is seemingly endless as well, as it can be an ingredient in everything from salads to pasta to smoothies. Given the high stature of kale, I am going to share five simple yet delicious kale recipes.

Kale salad

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Now this is both my signature and favorite kale dish. It is a simple kale salad that you can truly do anything with. It’s a fresh salad that has both sweet and savory elements with a nice crunch. And while it’s light, it’s very filling. The ingredients are as follows:

• Fresh baby kale with the stems taken off

• Either Feta or Blue Cheese crumbles

• Either chopped walnuts or crushed/sliced almonds

• Either dried cranberries or dates

• Lemon juice and/or a little bit of oil

Toss all of these ingredients together for a delicios, hearty salad.

Two variations of pasta with kale

If you are feeling a denser, carb-based meal, pasta with sautéed kale is the way to go. Combine the following ingredients to make the dish:

• Noodles of your choice, I usually roll with a whole wheat penne or rigatoni.

• Again, sauce of your choice. What’s great about kale is how versatile it is, and how it will go with any sauce. I usually go with a light tomato-based sauce to coat the noodles in.

• 2 cloves chopped garlic

• A pinch of red pepper flakes

• A healthy grating of parmesan cheese

While the sauce and pasta is cooking, I sauté some kale with garlic, salt, pepper and some red pepper flakes. Once everything is done I combine it all and top it with some parmesan cheese and more red pepper flakes. The kale adds both nice color and texture to the dish, not to mention great taste.

Another spin to the kale and pasta dish is to create a kale pesto to add to your pasta. All you need to do is combine the following ingredients in a food processor and blend:

• 1 cup of kale

• 1/2 cup of walnuts

• 1 clove of garlic

• 2 tbsp. oil

• 2 tbsp. lemon juice

• salt and pepper

Salmon and roasted kale 

If in need of a side to a dish, sautéed kale is again a great choice. A dish I make for my parents is often roasted salmon on top of a bed of kale. The ingedients include:

• Kale

• Olive oil

• Lemon juice

• Salmon

In a half inch deep pan, lay down a bed of kale toped with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Bake that for a couple minutes at 400.

Take the pan out and then lay the salmon on top, drizzle some lemon juice and salt and bake for around 10 minutes at 425.

Once the salmon is done, it can be plated on top of the kale and the dish is done. You can add some dill or mustard as well to bring in some more taste.

Kale smoothie

Kale seems to be in every smoothie these days, and what’s great about it is that there are so many variations of kale smoothies. Here is my favorite:

• A couple cups of kale (no stems)

• 1 cup of pineapple chunks

• One frozen banana

• A little bit of mango.

I blend the kale with a couple cups of water and a couple cubes of ice, and once blended I add everything else and blend it up well. Sometimes I also squeeze a lime and lemon in. In no time at all, you will have a delicious and healthy smoothie.

Kale pesto pizza

The last recipe I will share is something that will have you full of both delight and pizza. It’s a thin crust pesto pizza topped with kale. It is made up of:

•  Store-bought pizza dough, rolled out pretty thin.

• Kale pesto (recipe mentioned previously)

• 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.

• Chopped kale

• Lemon juice

• Olive oil

• Parmesan cheese and/or red pepper flakes

In a bowl I toss chopped kale (no stems) with some lemon juice, salt and olive oil and top the pizza with it.

Pop that into the oven and in around 13 minutes you have a beautiful pizza ready to be eaten. I top it off with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes and it’s something out-of-this-world good.

Kale is the future my friends, so start exploreing the evergreen, vibrant, and versatile green that will keep you feeling good.

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