Kale Recipe - Updated
In a prior article, I suggested that kale should become one of our favorite foods because of its extremely high nutrient density. Kale is especially rich in nutrients that are good for vision, cancer prevention and more.
I also presented my first attempt at a recipe that would make kale taste good enough to eat on a regular basis. I don't think that recipe quite achieved my goal, so I came up with a second version, thanks in part to Route 79. (I altered my recipe with ideas I got from their recipe.)
My criteria remain the same as those I stated in the prior article. The dish must taste good and be easy to cook, while also being super healthy.
As I said in the first recipe, I am still undecided on which type of sugar to use. You can read my note there about why I included a little sugar in this recipe even though I don't normally eat any added sugar of any type. If you are curious about the garlic or ginger, read my notes there as well.
If you offer this as a side dish, it would serve 3-5 people. At the moment I am eating half of the recipe below by myself, together with some rice and dal (1/3 cup each before cooking). That is my main meal of the day.
I have managed to find orgranic versions of all the ingredients in this recipe except for hing. I am also using a very unrefined, dark brown organic cane sugar.
- 1 pound Kale greens or other leafy greens (chopped)
(so far I have tried kale, collard greens and turnip greens and all worked very well)
- 1 large carrot
- 1 small to medium yellow squash (use any in-season veggies you wish)
- 1 small piece of fresh ginger (I use 1/2 inch length of a typical diameter root)
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp ghee
Don't use butter. Butter and ghee are not the same. Ghee lowers bad cholesterol.
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- a pinch of hing
- 2 tbsp dried coconut flakes
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp natural rock salt
- 1 tsp natural sugar
- 2 cups water
- Bring the water to a boil a large pot, add the greens, salt and coconut flakes and cook on medium for about 45 minutes or longer, depending on which leafy greens you use. I cook the greens at a low boil.
- Chop the carrot, squash, ginger and garlic together in a food processor until they are all finely chopped.
- This is an intermediate step -- after the greens are cooked tender, take them out of the pot, but leave the cooking water in the pot. There should be between 1/2 and 1 cup of water left in the pot, as a general rule. The greens will be returned to this pot later.
- Put the greens in the food processor and chop until very fine. Blend together with the other chopped veggies. If your food processor is large enough, just process everything together until it has a fine consistency similar to the saag found at Indian restaurants.
- Return the greens plus veggies mixture to the large pot and simmer on low for another 15-20 minutes.
- When the veggies are almost ready, heat a small pot on low until the bottom reaches about 300 degrees inside. For me, this take about 5 minutes at #2 on an electric stove with a knob that goes from 1 to 10.
- Add the ghee. The ghee should reach about 300 degrees right away.
- Turn the heat as low as possible so the ghee doesn’t get any hotter than 310 degrees. I turn my stove down from #2 to just above #1.
- Add all the whole seed spices and sauté for 1 minute, until the aroma is released.
- Make sure the ghee isn’t too hot. If it is, remove the pot from the heat for a little while. The maximum temperature the the ghee should reach is 350 degrees F. I try to stay around 300.
- Add the ground spices and sauté for about 1 minute or less, until the aroma is released.
- When the kale greens and veggie mixture is ready, add the ghee and spices to it and blend together. Add the sugar also.
- Serve hot.
This version tastes much better than my first version. It is also better because the ghee isn't heated for as long a time. (This reduces the chance for free radicals to form in the ghee. BTW, you should store your ghee in the dark. Don't let any moisture get in it. Keeping it in the refrigerator isn't a good idea because of condensation. Also don't leave a spoon it in because metal could theoretically catalyze hydrolysis with moisture.)
Speaking of ghee, because my diet is predominantly plant-based, I can add more ghee and still maintain a relatively low fat diet overall. I enjoy whole milk, ghee, nuts and seeds and still take in less calories from fat (as a percent of my total calories) than the typical diet. The last time I checked, my diet was approximately 20% fat, 10% protein, and 70% carbs. I use Nutribase Clinical software (at least until I find something better).
With this version of my recipe, I have to use an additional pot compared to the first version, but the better taste is well worth it. I end up using 1 large pot, 1 small pot and a food processor. So there isn't too much clean up.
Here are some links to other recipes where you could use kale.