If someone had asked me two years ago, "Hey, do you want some kale?" I wouldn't have even know that they were talking about food. I had never heard of kale and didn't have the slightest clue what it was.

It seems like not too long after I became vegan and discovered kale it started to become popular with mainstream eaters too. This past Sunday I went to the grocery store and they were completely out of kale. I was shocked, disappointed, but definitely happy that it's catching on.

A few days ago a friend of mine posted a Facebook status asking for advice on how to make kale taste good. I could definitely sympathize with her desire to mask the taste of the kale. The first time I made kale at home I followed the recommendation of a man at the farmer's market. I sauteed it in coconut oil with some garlic -- just the way his wife does -- and sat down for dinner. I'm convinced I must have done something wrong because the flavor of my kale didn't seem to fit the enthusiasm with which he had described it to me.

I was determined to like kale though so I kept trying different ways to eat it. The first success was with a butternut squash and kale salad recipe from Whole Foods. I changed some things (raisins instead of dates, red wine vinegar instead of sherry) and I loved it! Now I have a few go-to recipes for eating kale, one for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Breakfast: Kale Smoothie!

  • 2-3 handfuls of chopped kale (removed from thick stem)
  • 2 cups frozen fruit
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 a peeled cucumber, chopped
  • optional ingredients: stevia, protein powder, peanut butter, cinnamon, spirulina, chlorella, maca, fresh mint leaves... the possibilities are endless!

Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. This will make a very large smoothie.

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Lunch: Kale Salad!

The kale salad can be done many ways but one thing is really important: the creamy component. This can be added with some avocado or a creamy dressing. I've had kale salads with a vinaigrette dressing and it is not the same. It's just not as good. Below is my favorite dressing for kale salads.

  • 2-3 handfuls of chopped kale, removed from thick center stem
  • shredded carrot
  • shredded beet (not pictured but definitely recommended)
  • 2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • optional: 1/2 cup chickpeas

Dressing - makes about 3 servings

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1-2 tsp honey alternative
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil

Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. If you like your dressing a little sweeter than you can add more honey alternative. Once added to the salad stir well to completely coat the kale with the dressing.

A big bowl of kale with shredded carrots, pumpkin seeds, and my favorite sesame mustard dressing.

I also have another great kale salad recipe that has beets in it! Check out the recipe and original post here. I used curly kale for the salad pictured above and dinosaur kale for the salad pictured below.

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Dinner: Mac-n-cheeze with kale!

You can make this with any mac-n-cheese recipe that you have. I always use this mac-n-cheese recipe because it's just so damn good.

Once you have your mac-n-cheese made add it to a large mixing bowl with a few handfuls of kale. How much kale you use will depend on how much mac-n-cheese your recipe makes. Kale wilts and decreases in volume once it's cooked so when you add your kale it should look like you've added way too much. Don't be scared of the kale!

For my recipe I usually use almost an entire bunch of kale, chopped with the thick center stem removed (it's tough to chew). Then stir until the kale is well incorporated with the mac-n-cheese, pour it all into a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

A few weeks ago my oven was broken but I really wanted some mac-n-cheese with kale. Instead of adding it to a baking dish and letting it sit in my cold oven I added it all to a large pot, put the lid on, and cooked it over medium heat, stirring occasionally. This allowed the kale to wilt down the same as it would in the oven. I still like it better baked (the top gets a little crispy) but this did the trick given my circumstances.

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