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  • Hui Hui Lee, RD/LD

Hello New Friend...kale

Hello freezing February! How are we doing lately? Are we done with this cold weather yet? After all the cold rainy days, we could really use a little decent weather to catch some rays. Don’t you agree?

This cold weather makes me crave for something warm (not just warm in temperature, but also the types of food seasoned with aromatic spices). I went to the grocery store the other day, to search for some food ideas, and I saw this fresh looking kale sitting on the shelf, calling my name. To be honest, I didn't make many kale recipes in the past. To expand my cooking horizon, I decided to take the challenge in trying to make some delicious kale recipes!

Before going into the recipes, I think it is nice to know a little about our friend, kale. Kale is one of the members of the cruciferous family, like cabbages, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. It comes in many varieties, but the most common types are Tuscan kale (AKA lacinato/dinosaur kale, is my favorite), curly kale (mostly available at the grocery stores), and baby kale (the young version of kale).

Kale is a superfood because of its high nutrient content. Raw kale is very low in calories, high in fiber and calcium. It also contains an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and is rich in phytochemicals (like beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin). Although eating kale raw sounds great, cooking kale helps in enhancing nutrient intake. Cooked kale provides excellent sources of vitamins C and K, and has a good source of vitamin A. It also consists of most of the vitamin Bs (except vitamin B12), zinc, iron, potassium, and phosphorus. There is another health benefit of cooked kale, which is the cooking process deactivates the enzyme activity of goitrogens found in kale (a natural substance that blocks iodine from entering thyroid glands, this is a concern for people with an iodine deficiency) (Ali, 2022).

Now that we understand a little more about kale, let’s talk about how we can incorporate kale into our diet. I am about to share with you EIGHT delicious kale recipes that you never thought you would try and enjoy them.

Cheesy Kale Scones: These scones are superb! They are extremely easy to make, and the flavor and texture of the scones are to the point! They are rich and filling, perfect for breakfast or brunch! I am going to warn you ahead of time, these scones are dangerous, and you might not be able to stop craving it after the first bite. The recipe was adapted from FOOD52.

Kale Pesto Pizza: This recipe is more about kale pesto. You can add it to pizza, pasta, sandwiches/wraps, and use it as your dressing for salad or a grain bowl. I just happened to crave for some homemade pizza, so I made them into kale pesto pizza, topped with some fresh mozzarella, kale, and grape tomatoes. The recipe is inspired by Cookie and Kate.

Spicy Kale, Feta Quesadilla served with Sunny-side-up Egg: Are you interested in adding some veggies in the morning? This kale feta quesadilla recipe is for you to try! These quesadillas are so flavorful and satisfying! I made them with two different types of tortilla, regular flour tortilla and spinach tortilla. They both are incredibly appetizing! The recipe is adapted from

Cereal Chicken Cutlets with Kid-Approved Kale Salad: We served this crispy oven-baked chicken with kale salad in pita bread. This kale salad is not an ordinary salad, instead it is extremely delicious. Plus, crispy chicken pairs so well with the kale salad. I shared this food with one of my friends, who told me that he is a picky eater and would never have thought he would try kale. He told me that I completely changed his mind after giving this chicken kale salad a try! I highly recommend you to try this recipe! The recipe is inspired by Food52.

Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale: This is a plant-based soup that is dairy- and nut-free, yet is creamy and tasty! I am amazed at the end result of this recipe! It is great for cold weather and is very simple to make. You have gotta try this creamy plant-based soup! The recipe is adapted from Rainbow Plant Life.

Ginger Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk Stew with Lentils and Kale: When a recipe calls for a variety of warm spices, I am all in! This is a very rich soup that is packed with a complex flavor. I am officially falling in love with this stew!! The recipe is inspired by the First Mess.

Vegan Pot Pie with Roasted Butternut, Lentils and Kale: Chef Brandon tried this veggie pot pie recipe. It is a vegan recipe that is full of fall flavors! It is a versatile recipe, in which you are free to make any adjustment to the ingredients per your preferences. To add depth to the flavor, I would recommend incorporating some miso paste (maybe about 1 teaspoon) when making the stew base. This pot pie tastes even better the next day. For the recipe, please refer to Feasting at Home.

Charred Asparagus and Kale Pasta with Lemony Cannellini Beans: Oh my world! I am astonished with how de-li-cious this pasta dish turns out! When I first saw this recipe, I was reluctant to try, with the first impression that this dish looked too bland. But I took my time to make it, and I find this recipe unlocks a new horizon of my cooking! The recipe adapted from Feasting at Home.

*NOTE: Some ingredients used to make the dishes were sponsored by DRH Health Food and Nutrition Department.


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