I’m A Kale Convert

Yesterday I ventured in the rain to the Hillsdale Farmer’s Market and I am SO glad I did.  My disappointment last week at New Season’s slim local pickings was replaced with my delight at the bounty I found available. The booths were piled high with colorful produce including gorgeous bright orange kabocha, a delicious squash I ate often during a post-college year in Japan, to tiny sweet kiwi fruit plus fresh Hood Valley apples and pears, leafy greens and loads of root vegetables like turnips, parsnips and carrots. I left with a backpack plus several shopping bags piled high with goodies I couldn’t wait to convert into this week’s meals.

One item I purchased with a healthy dose of skepticism was a big bunch of leafy green kale. I’ve been wary of winter greens ever since an attempt several years ago to cook swiss chard. Let’s just say it was not good. I’ve been hearing how healthy kale is though and decided to give winter greens another go. My husband looked less than delighted at the bowl of kale soup I set before him last night. That is until he tried it. He actually loved it and so did I. It’s a spicy Thai-style noodle soup, adapted from a recipe from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything. When cooked, kale becomes chewy yet tender, with a flavor and texture resembling a tasty meat you might find in a soup.  Today Grace even happily ate bite after bite when I heated up the leftovers.

The recipe, below, will definitely be making a return visit to our dinner table soon. If you have your own delicious recipe for kale or other winter greens, please do share by leaving me a comment.

Thai-style Kale Soup
(adapted from Mark Bittman’s Kale Soup with Soy and Lime)

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 cup minced onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 cups roughly chopped kale leaves (stripped from stems and washed)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on your preference for heat)
1 tablespoon lime juice or 1 lime cut in quarters
Minced cilantro leaves

Asian noodles (I used Chinese egg noodles but Thai-style rice noodles would work great as well)

  1. In a large pot boil enough water for your noodles, according to package directions. Cook and drain noodles.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, place the oil in another large saucepan and heat on medium-high. Add the onion and cook until soft.
  3. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and add the soy sauce, fish sauce and redpepper flakes. Taste and add more soy sauce and/ or fish sauce according to your preference.
  4. Add the kale to the simmering broth and cook about 10 minutes, until tender.  Add the cooked and drained noodles to the soup and garnish with lime juice and cilantro sprigs.



  1. Lorie Dolo said,

    January 13, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    This sounds yummy. I have used Kale in minestroni soup before and it was really good. Micah likes potatoe greens so he might like the kale as well. Thanks for the great recipe. I’ll give it a try.

  2. Lisa said,

    January 14, 2009 at 11:57 am

    It’s fun to hear about your food adventures! :) Kale is good cooked with a little balsamic vinegar and garlic. Also, we like kale raw, chopped in salads. It’s also good in a salad with Braggs liquid aminos and pine nuts. This is a good recipe that I tried at a potluck this summer and really liked:

    Recipe calls for 2 bunches of kale. Wash and shred if you buy stalks
    2 to 3 leeks chopped
    tsp minced garlic
    2 limes
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup Braggs liquid aminos
    1/2 cup roasted pine nuts

    Adjust olive oil and Braggs to taste.
    If kale is fresh this will keep in the fridge for a few days.

  3. Beth said,

    January 14, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    I am a huge fan of kale (and all other greens) and look forward to trying this soup. My favorite kale soup heretofore has been the Portuguese Caldo Verde http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/caldo-verde (although we don’t often do the pureeing step).

  4. Beth said,

    January 14, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Thanks Lisa! This sounds great. I still have another bunch in the fridge so I might try one of these ideas with it. I love Bragg’s amino acids too.

  5. jill said,

    January 16, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    I’ll try it!

  6. Liz said,

    February 12, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I actually tried to work with raw kale in college. In a pita with generous amounts of olive oil, salt, cracked black pepper, and a squirt of lemon, it’s a nice light summer lunch. In soups I (once) made a kale and potato soup with a slightly creamy base, also yummy.

    Swiss chard is really popular here in Argentina and is great on pizza (with a white sauce, not red, and sauteed onions) or as an omelette-filler.

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