It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when people barely knew what kale was, let alone think to include it in their meals. That time has come and gone, however, as no other leafy green is talked about or is lauded for its health benefits as much as kale. October 7th will mark the third annual National Kale Day, and we are more than ready to celebrate this awesome leafy green.
Kale, which is a member of the cabbage family, is loaded with health benefits for us. It is related to cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and collard greens, so it’s no wonder that it is considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. A single cup of kale can give us good amounts of vitamins A, K, C, B1, B2, B3 and B6 as well as manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, iron, phosphorous and magnesium. To learn more, see Popular Types of Kale and Their Health Benefits.
Speaking of types, kale comes in many different varieties. The leaves can be green or a beautiful purple color like Red Russian Kale. Kale can be curly or smooth like Lacinato, Tuscan or dinosaur kale. There is also Baby Kale, which has extremely tender leaves.
Of course, when a veggie is as popular as kale, it shows up in a gajillion recipes (not a real number). Kale can be eaten raw or cooked, or it can be blended in a smoothie or green juice. Kale can be tossed into a salad, added to soups and stews, used in sandwiches and on burgers in place of lettuce, used to make pesto and on and on. For recipes and ideas, see 20 Ways to Enjoy Kale, The King of Greens. Then get ready to celebrate National Kale Day with these 21 recipes using kale. And as much as we love kale salad, you will only find one in these 21 recipes that are perfect for the colder seasons.
1. Kale Honeydew Melon Smoothie
There are smoothies you drink, and then there are smoothies you savor. This Kale Honeydew Melon Smoothie falls under the latter. Sweet, vitamin C-rich honeydew melon, calcium-packed kale, and protein superstar chia seeds unite in this refreshing, unique, and bright green smoothie!
2. Creamy Pumpkin Seed Alfredo With Kale and Sweet Peas
This Creamy Pumpkin Seed Alfredo with Kale and Sweet Peas is luscious and comforting and good for you all at the same time. The raw hulled pumpkin seeds used in the recipe are what gives it its richness, as they’re full of healthy fats, and are an excellent source of plant protein, iron, and zinc. There is no added oil in this either, making it an excellent choice for those watching their oil consumption.
3. Asparagus Potato Pizza With Kale Pesto
Putting potatoes on pizza is such a great idea. They are just as satisfying as cheese, most people love them, and they are pretty healthy. Adding asparagus is an even better idea. Making pesto out of kale falls under genius, so when you have a slice of this Asparagus Potato Pizza with Kale Pesto, you will instantly feel smarter and happier.
4. Kale and Roasted Corn Stir-Fry
Stir-fries don’t have to have a dozen different ingredients. Sometimes it’s better to let two or three shine through. This Kale and Roasted Corn Stir-Fry is quick and easy to make. Spiced with ginger, mustard, and cayenne, it’s packed with flavor and nutrients.
5. Russian Kale and Roasted Squash Noodles
Squash and kale are both healthy foods, so when you put the two together, you get a meal that’s twice as good for you. This Russian Kale and Roasted Squash Noodles dish has caramelized roasted squash paired with tons of kale and served over udon noodles. Your growling stomach will be purring after this dish.
6. Beanball Sub Sandwich With Marinara and Greens
This Beanball Sub Sandwich with Marinara and Greens is a hearty filling sandwich even meat lovers will drool over. The beanballs are a combination of lentils and kale and then more kale is served on the sub. Reminiscent of the true Italian classic, this much healthier version will not disappoint.
7. White Bean and Kale Soup
This vegan White Bean and Kale Soup is a quick, low-calorie recipe. Great for lunch, a light dinner, or anytime you feel hungry. Made with white beans and dinosaur kale, your hunger is about to become extinct.
8. Miso Soup with Garlicky Lentils, Kale, and Mushrooms
This Miso Soup with Garlicky Lentils, Kale and Mushrooms is going to be a new favorite of yours. It’s perfectly packed with protein, fiber, and secret hidden veggies. It’s extra-filling and extra satisfying, and particularly awesome to make in a batch to eat throughout the week.
9. Lemony Kale Chips
Kale chips are the best alternative to potato chips and other unhealthy snacks. These Lemony Kale Chips are made in a dehydrator and balanced with feisty spices. Once you try these, you’ll never buy a bag of chips again. Eat all you want because after all, it’s just kale.
10. Kidney Bean and Kale BBQ Burger
This Kidney Bean and Kale BBQ Burger is super easy to make and baked, not fried. These mouthwatering burgers hold together perfectly, plus baking it keeps the outside, nice and crispy, and helps the inside stay moist and flavorful. Loaded with healthy veggies, they are quick and easy, gluten-free, and you could easily make a double batch and feed a crowd.
11. Kale Avocado Wraps With Miso-Dipped Tempeh
These Kale Avocado Wraps are perfect for a quick dinner anytime. The tempeh is dipped in a miso dressing that’s also used for the crunchy kale. Avocado adds creamy deliciousness. If you’re looking to cut back on carbs, skip the tortilla, and it makes an awesome salad!
12. Kabocha Squash Stuffed With Black Rice, Kale, and Wakame
Try something new for dinner like this Kabocha Squash Stuffed with Black Rice, Kale and Wakame. Kabocha squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin, is an often overlooked delight. It’s stuffed with a flavorful mixture of black rice, seaweed, and kale. Exotic yet easy and so good.
13. Jolly Green Giant Burgers
These Jolly Green Giant Burgers are a healthier version of standard sports-watching fare. Whether you’re watching football, the end of baseball, or anything else in between or even if you’re entirely indifferent to all televised sports, these make for great handheld food, leaving you one extra hand to high-five with or hold your adult beverage of choice.
14. Vegan Creamy Ginger-Coconut Kale Zucchini Spaghetti
Go green with this Creamy Ginger-Coconut Kale Zucchini Spaghetti dish. Nothing says healthy like green pasta and zucchini noodles are the healthiest pasta around. The pasta sauce is green too with immune-boosting superfoods like ginger, coconut, garlic, and kale. It’s thickened with raw cashews and seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. It’s so easy being green!
15. Winter Kale Vegetable Stew With Rutabaga Noodles
This Winter Kale Vegetable Stew will keep you warm and satisfied all through autumn and winter. In addition to kale, veggies and cannellini beans, it has spiralized rutabaga noodles. It makes the dish much more filling because you feel like you’re eating a pasta dish and veggie stew all at once.
16. Savory Kale Oatmeal Cups
Oatmeal is a favorite breakfast for most of us, and sneaking the green into this whole grain makes it a hearty breakfast or brunch. These Savory Kale Oatmeal Cups are perfect for breakfast, lunch or a nutritious snack that will keep everyone satisfied all day.
17. Kale Salad with Chili-Lime Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Sriracha Vinaigrette
When is a kale salad so much more than a salad – when it has a lot of different ingredients that make the dish interesting, fun and filling. This Kale Salad with Chili-Lime Roasted Butternut Squash is perfect for the colder months. It’s topped with a garlic Sriracha vinaigrette that will instantly warm you up and tickle your taste buds.
18. Breakfast Mini Muffins With Kale and Sundried Tomatoes
These Breakfast Mini Muffins with Kale and Sundried Tomatoes are a delicious savory breakfast recipe. The sundried tomatoes give the muffins a tangy and salty zing with complements the earthy flavor of the kale. These also make a great portable snack.
19. Shiitake Tempeh and Kale Stir-Fry
This dish screams savory and umami. This Shiitake Tempeh and Kale Stir-Fry is filled with tempeh marinated in a savory blend and rich mushrooms. The kale is sauteed in a garlic-ginger sauce and served over red rice for a beautiful and delicious meal.
20. Spicy Peanut Mushroom Kale Soup
This Spicy Peanut Mushroom Kale Soup is filled with ingredients you love like coconut milk, peanut butter, hoisin sauce. They all contribute to the rich, velvety texture of the broth, and along with the mushrooms and kale add a great umami flavor.
21. Tempeh and Kale Steamed Gyoza
Gyoza, otherwise known as Potstickers or dumplings, are easier to make than you might think. You can fill them with whatever you like. These Tempeh and Kale Steamed Gyoza have minced tempeh and kale with lots of flavorful spices. It’s like having a mini stir-fry wrapped up in a delicious package.
It’s no wonder kale is considered the “King of Greens.” Hearty, healthy and delicious, kale adds something great to every recipe. Happy National Kale Day!
Lead image source: Shiitake Tempeh and Kale Stir-Fry