Cooking With Kale: 4 Kale Recipes To Try This Summer

Kale is every health nut’s go-to greens, but with the right recipes it can be the perfect super food for anyone. Chock-full of antioxidants and calcium, among many other benefits, this leafy relative to cabbage can be used in so many different dishes, drinks and snacks.

If done right, for someone who doesn’t like kale it can be easily disguised in something as easy as your favorite smoothie – allowing you to enjoy a yummy frozen favorite while still taking in all of those health benefits. Kale is great sauteed with simple seasoning or the perfect addition to any salad.

There are SO many amazing kale recipes on the internet and VALLEY has narrowed down our favorites from the bunch. With so many unique and deliciously great combinations, these are the kale-inspired recipes you need to try before your summer comes to an end.

A Fruity Mix

There is nothing better for the summer than a salad full of fresh fruits. This salad, by The Balanced Berry, loads up on strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, dried cranberries, raspberries, blackberries and peaches. Walnuts, almonds and a homemade dressing finish off this fruity-kale experience.

The best part of this salad recipe is that it can be made for a quick lunch or whipped up in a big bowl for a summer backyard cookout. No one can refuse a healthy and vibrant salad staring right at them.

What You’ll Need
  • 1 bunch of kale (4-5 cups)
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1 cup of blackberries
  • 1 diced peach
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries
  • 1/2 cup of diced mango
  • 3 tablespoons of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of almonds
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts
Homemade Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
What You’ll Do
  1. Mix all ingredients for the homemade dressing
  2. Mix the dressing together with the kale and let it rest for a few minutes in the fridge
  3. After the dressing and kale have sat in the fridge, add the fruit and nuts and mix it all up

The entire prep and cook time should be no more than 10 minutes.

Vibrant Protein Smoothie

What’s better than a protein smoothie with kale? One that also has pineapple.

Pineapples are one of the most notable fruits when it comes to naming summer favorites. Some may think pineapples and kale can’t work – especially alongside peanut butter and greek yogurt – but this recipe will change that.

Protein shakes and smoothies are  a common trend more than ever before due to the many health benefits and convenience of taking them on-the-go. Many, however, think these smoothies need to be dull or tasteless and are limited to certain flavors.

Recipes like this one by Well Plated by Erin elevate the protein-smoothie world. What was once a dreaded, chug it all at once so you can’t taste them, chore has become a flavorful breakfast or meal-replacement that will keep you nourished all day long.

What You’ll Need
  • 2 cups of chopped kale
  • 3/4 cup of milk (unsweetened vanilla almond milk is suggested)
  • 1 frozen medium-sized banana cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup of nonfat greek yogurt (plain is suggested)
  • 1/4 cup of frozen pineapple chunks
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons of honey (for taste)
What You’ll Do
  • Add all ingredients together in a blender and blend to the perfect consistency
  • Add more milk if the smoothie is too thick
Seaside snacks

Kale chips are the snack you’ll want to have on you at all times this summer. It’s easy to grab a bag of chips or a pack of cookies, but why not swap them out for an equally delicious and healthier option? Kale chips – just like other chips – can be made with differing flavor profiles for whatever crunchy mood you are in.

For the summertime, Valerie Bertinelli from the Food Network created three different ways to cook up these leafy chips, but of all three, the summer favorite is the Seaside Spice recipe.

A little bit of cayenne gives a nice kick of flavor, while lemon zest offers a bright bite. Give your chips a hint of your favorite summer seasoning, maybe some Old Bay, and you’ll have a snack you won’t be able to put down!

What You’ll Need
  • 6 cups of kale
  • 1 tablespoon of seafood seasoning (i.e. Old Bay)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne
  • Zest of 1 lemon
What You’ll Do
  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, then fill a 2 gallon bag with kale, olive oil, salt and pepper, seafood seasoning and cayenne
  • Massage the kale with the oil and seasonings until coated
  • Evenly spread the kale over two baking sheets and place into the oven for approximately 22 to 26 minutes (if not do fully crisped, leave in for an extra 2 minutes)
  • Once removed from the oven, immediately add lemon zest and allow chips to cool

Tacos with kale? Sign me up. Now you can make your favorite Mexican food dish a healthy kale-inspired meal – but sorry I don’t think Taco Bell will feature kale on their menu anytime soon.

Food & Wine has so many kale recipes, but their homemade green chorizo tacos with kale and potatoes are a MUST try. Like right now.

Sauté up this spicy, green chile and garlic sausage with kale and fingerling potatoes and add your favorite taco fillings (extra hot sauce please). For those who want to stray from sausage, replace with your favorite meat or filling, but don’t forget to add some spice seasoning for an authentic taco taste.

(And don’t forget to perfectly toast that tortilla!)

What You’ll Need
  • 3/4 pound of green chorizo or meat of choice (for green chorizo recipe, follow the link)
  • 1 pound of fingerling potatoes (1/2 inch slices)
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3/4 pound of chopped kale
  • 12 tortillas
  • Crumbed queso fresco and Mexican crema (or sub for sour cream) for serving
What You’ll Do
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Toss fingerling potatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper, then place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden and tender
  • In a skillet, add the remaining olive oil and the green chorizo (or other meat) and cook over a moderately-high heat for 10 minutes while breaking down the meat until browned
  • Add the kale and cook until the kale is wilted
  • Once wilted, add a cup of water
  • Lower heat and occasionally stir until meat is fully cooked and kale is ready, which should be another 10 minutes
  • Mix in the potatoes and add a little more salt and pepper. 

Let us know which kale-fueled recipes are you favorites @VALLEYmag on Twitter!


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