How to Chop Kale





Introduction: How to Chop Kale

I'm a fanatic for cold-weather greens, and kale is one of my favorites. It grows well just before the first frost and just after the last, making it seasonal in most places twice a year and available (if not local) almost all year round.

Kale grows into deep beautiful colors -- purplish red, glowing green and the warm blue lacinato -- that get more brilliant with cooking. It isn't as bitter as other winter greens. When cooked, the leaves hold their shape but go tender, making them perfect for long-simmering soups and stews.

Step 1: Wash and Dry the Kale

No matter how I'm using kale, I usually chop it. Here's what I do:

First I clean it by plunging the whole bunch into a big bowl of cold water. I then spread the leaves out on a large kitchen towel and roll them up into a cylinder. This dries the leaves and gives them a hospitable place to chill until I'm ready to use them.

Step 2: Cut Away the Stems

For most dishes I fold each leaf in half, then cut away and toss the stems. Sometimes I slice the stems into slivers and use them, too.

Step 3: The Cigar Roll

Next, working in batches of several leaves, I roll up the leaves like a cigar to consolidate them for easy chopping.

Step 4: Chop the Rolls

Finally, I chop across the rolled up leaves, coarsely for longer cooking, and into thin strips for shorter cooking.

Step 5: Cook With Kale

I cook kale all kinds of ways. Stirred into stews. Sauteed with white beans and lemon zest. Stir-fried with garlic, ginger and chiles. In soups with chicken, beans and vegetables.

My favorite way to cook kale pares it down to its essence: braised with a little water over medium high heat until tender, about 10 minutes, sprinkled with salt & pepper and red pepper flakes, drizzled with the best olive oil and vinegar in the vicinity, and eaten immediately.



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    17 Discussions


    2 years ago

    The dutch make an entire meal from kale. It's called boerencole. Here's a recipe:

    Our family recipe includes only potato's, kale, and barley. A Gelders Rook wurst is the "only" meat to eat with this dish. (Rook means smoked -- pronounced: roak. Like the sound a frog makes without the "c" LOL )

    A great way to separate the kale leaves from the stems is to freeze a whole bunch in plastic bags. When it's frozen solid simply crush the leaves in the bags. They'll break into snowflake sized pieces which are perfect for the stampot. The remaining stems make great compost.

    By the way, kale tastes way better after it's frozen and becomes more tender as well.

    I use them raw stems and all.I use a juicer/extractor.The kale is a little bit bitter,or strong green tasting. I add a kiwi, an apple, a half of a beet ,carrots,a cucumber a couple spriggs of scallion,and a tomatoe.A little kosher salt,and pepper,WOW!!!

    Um, one big problem here: cabbage moths lay eggs under leaves.  This means ins(p)ecting  ;<) and scrubbing.

    Probably not a health issue, but...

    1 reply

    Mustard greens are also easy to grow, and will survive light frosts, so they can be planted very early as well.  Fresh, they have a spicy aftertaste almost like radishes.  Fresh mustard is good in a sandwich where you would normally use yellow mustard or horseradish.

    you had me till the cooked part heheh try a Green Smoothie, use one bunch RAW KALE, some pineapple juice, 2-3 bananas and a kiwi, then Blend the hell out of it! its AWESOME!! plus kale is a Superfood in its raw state, it has one of the higest amounts of Vitamin K and A then any other source!

    If you chop kale finely, it's lovely raw in a salad as well!  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice plus a slight splash of vinegar, toss with salt, pepper, and finish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Yum!

    1 reply

    I loved emrald kale from whole foods, or Seasame. mmmm I Love veg.


    11 years ago

    Nice Instructable! I've been meaning to put up a recipe for kale & black-eyed peas- now (when I eventually do it) I can skip a step by linking to your prep Instructable! Kale is especially nice to work with because the crenelations hold beans and sauce so well. Good stuff. Thoughts on greens, if I can poach the space in your comments: Greens in general are quite good when they haven't been boiled to death. I find a bit of cider vinegar or other "sweet" vinegar such as balsamic, mirin, or red wine is great for cutting down the bitterness of the stronger greens. If you get young "baby" braising greens they can be chopped and added to almost anything- the bitter compounds only develop as the leaves age and thicken. I've been adding chopped handfuls of baby braising mix to stir fries and soups all this week.

    wow, cool colors lol! These look very deep in vitamins :-) and health crap lol.

    Great pictures! I hope we'll see more from you. Also, please feel free to include links to your blog.

    2 replies

    Thanks. We'll be putting up a lot more soon.

    The last picture looks quite delicious. :D I have yet to use kale, but I really want to. My friend Anna uses it in the soups she brings to work all the time and it seems like a good idea!

    This same technique works well for collards, mustard greens, etc. Of course, my washing is a little different: I use a large colander -- organic greens tend to be pretty dirty, so I need to really spray them down to get them clean. Another great way to cook them (and, again, other greens) is to braise them with some chopped garlic in olive oil. Then, when they're almost totally wilted, I add a couple splashes of soy sauce, rice vinegar and a pinch or two of sugar (organic, of course -- cuts the acidity of the vinegar). Very tasty! Just had that last night in fact.

    1 reply

    All those big leafy greens really lend themselves well to so many different cooking styles. Last week, we went to town on some collards. They're my favorite. I'll try them with your soy-rice wine vinegar combination. Sounds awesome. Thanks.