AskChefDonnaThe sun is shining and in between our sunny days of spring, we are gifted plenty of rain here at the farm of Stony Point Center. The kale is growing abundantly, and our community has been enjoying it’s deliciousness in addition to its terrific health benefits. As well as being an excellent source of vitamin C and K, kale is loaded with antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol.

One of the things I love about kale is its versatility. Just like spinach, kale tastes delicious raw in a smoothie and also in a fresh garden salad. When cooking it, I enjoy adding kale to soups, stews, pasta, quinoa, lentils even potatoes. I can go on and on....

This week I’d purchased a big bunch of kale which I’d been enjoying a little at a time both in a salad and a couple of smoothies. This evening I noticed that the leaves were wilted and turning yellow in spots. It was still good, but it was time to use it up, so I roasted it in my oven for dinner. If I didn’t want to cook it for dinner tonight, in order to avoid my kale from going bad, I could have stemmed it, cut it in small pieces, and frozen it in a freezer bag or in an airtight container. If I’m using my kale which has been previously frozen, I use it in stews, soups or add it to hot foods. Freezing kale changes the color and texture and I prefer not using it in salads or smoothies.

There are several varieties of Kale and I find them interchangeable as far as my cooking methods.The heartier kales which tend to have a thicker stem and are stiffer will take a bit more time to cook. Some may be a bit more bitter then others, in which case you can add a bit of sugar, honey or a bit of fruit to offset the bitter taste.

I roasted mine and made one batch two different ways. With one batch I added nutritional yeast (and kept it vegan) and to the other, I added a little parmesan cheese. I put my toppings on the kale prior to roasting for an extra nutty flavor but you can add it afterwards if you prefer. There is no right or wrong way to flavor and enjoy kale. Play around with it, see which way you like it best and have fun!!!

Stony Point Center Farm Roasted KaleDonna KaleChips

yields four servings

Ingredients:

  • One bunch stemmed and chopped kale (approx. 3 packed cups)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Mix all ingredients together, plus any optional toppings
  • Spread evenly on a baking sheet
  • Bake 375 15-18 minutes or until crisp. Periodically check to assure that the kale is cooking evenly and toss it around a bit if necessary, to avoid any of it burning
  • Once out of the oven, add any additional toppings you like

Notes: Roasted kale is best straight out of the oven but if need be, you can reheat it uncovered. Avoid overcooking as overcooked kale tends to become bitter. It will shrink a lot so have plenty on hand and enjoy.

“It’s your Dish!”
Substitutions/additions ideas to make it your own:

  • You can substitute the 1 teaspoon salt for 2 teaspoons soy sauce or liquid aminos
  • Substitute the 2 Tablespoons olive oil with 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon Sesame seeds on the kale before or after the kale chips are roasted
  • Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon Nutritional yeast or 1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese on the kale before or after the kale chips are roasted
  • Add ½ small thinly sliced onion to kale and roast together
  • Sprinkle roasted kale with 2 Tablespoons shelled pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and/or nuts before cooking the kale.

If you have specific questions regarding the recipes and tips I share, or other questions about meals and ingredients, I invite you to reach out to me at askchefdonna@stonypointcenter.org. Let's start cooking!