Not convinced? Read on, these dishes are awesome

Kale’s moment in the foodie spotlight continues with Gwynnie Paltrow, Deliciously Ella and the Helmsley sisters all raving about it. 

 

Why? Because of its alleged health benefits. Apparently the mighty leaves contain vitamins A, C and E, as well as iron, calcium and potassium – all sounds a bit like a chemistry lesson, doesn’t it?

 

Guess what? Kale isn't new. Oh no. It’s been cultivated for more than 2,000 years and was such a staple in 19th century Scotland that kail was used as a generic term for ‘dinner' and all kitchens featured a kail-pot for cooking. So, now you know.

Kale is the hardiest member of the cabbage family and keeps going when nearly everything else fresh and green is decimated by winter. In the UK, we normally eat the green, curly variety, but you can also get black kale (cavolo nero), which has a more haute-cuisine image thanks to its long dark, blue-green leaves.

 

To prep, give the leaves a good wash and cut off any thicker stems, adding these to the pot for a couple of minutes before the leaves (they take a bit longer to cook). Bin any really tough stalks. Kale is best properly cooked, so steam, simmer or sauté until soft rather than al dente and add some stock, depending on your dish, for extra flavour. 

 

But honestly, kale isn’t just virtuous. It can be damn delicious too and these recipes will prove it...

Italian stuffed roast pork

Via: Sainsbury's Magazine/Photo: Martin Poole

 

Risotto with trout and kale

Soft risotto topped with tender flakes of trout and Parmesan shavings. Yum.

 

Cabbage ‘pasta' with walnuts and kale pesto

We can hear the Helmsleys whooping in the background. If you scoff at the idea of replacing pasta with cabbage (and we don’t blame you – it’s cold out there, for crying out loud), make the kale pesto anyway and stir it into whatever variety of dried durum wheat you happen to have in the cupboard.

 

Chipotle and kale frittata

This is no ordinary frittata – ground chipotle adds spicy, smoky and sweet notes and the whole thing's topped off with a punchy, Mexican-inspired salsa. 

 

New year, new you smoothie

Don’t wait till January to jump on the health wagon. This coconut water, kale, mango and mint smoothie is for drinking now.

 

Very green quinoa

One for the hardcore who like their kale raw. Drizzled with sumac, lemon and pomegranate molasses, we can see why.

Very green quinoa

Via: Sainsbury's Magazine/Photo: Dan Jones