If there were an award for most-buzzed-about vegetable, it would probably go to kale. Scratch that—it would definitely go to kale. (Hey, once you’ve made it onto Beyoncé’s sweatshirt, you’re golden.)
So while kale might not get a little statuette, it gets something better: its own day, which just so happens to be today.
To celebrate National Kale Day (it’s a thing, and it’s rad), we’ve rounded up some not-so-traditional ways to use everyone’s favorite leafy green—most of them on the hearty side—to cater to the season.
Because it’s high time you experienced kale’s antioxidant power, gut-friendly fiber, and vitamin prowess in new ways. Sorry, salads, you’re not invited. —Larkin Clark
(Photo: The Awesome Green)
1. Quinoa Kale Pesto Bowl with Poached Eggs
As impressive as it looks, this dish only takes about 20 minutes to make and works for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. “If you have some leftover kale pesto (like I did), then this recipe is a complete no-brainer,” says the athlete-turned-food blogger behind The Iron You. “But even if you do have to make kale pesto from scratch, it’s still going to be super duper easy and quick.”
(Image: The Iron You)
To update an Italian classic, Edible Perspective‘s Ashley McLaughlin combined spaghetti squash with a mixture of garlic, shallots, white beans, sun-dried tomatoes, and kale. “And because it’s way more fun for serving, I re-stuffed the squash shells with the mixture and set it off to bake.”
(Photo: Edible Perspective)
While store-bought mint fro-yo often gets its green color artificially, this one pulls it straight from your fave leafy vegetable. Veggie Desserts‘ super-easy DIY recipe calls for three cups of kale, which not only adds nutrients, but also a fresh, vibrant hue.
(Photo: Veggie Desserts)
Cauliflower dough makes a pretty genius (and tasty) gluten-free crust. Add a burst of flavorful toppings, like kale, roasted garlic, tahini, tomato sauce, mozzarella, onion, and a poached egg, and you’ve got a surprisingly decadent pizza.
(Photo: The Awesome Green)
“This soup recipe takes just about 30 minutes or so to put together [and] it is incredibly rich and decadent,” says Sherrie of With Food + Love. “A small bowl of this will serve about four people.” In other words, it’s the perfect first course for a holiday feast.
(Photo: With Food + Love)
Potato chips seem blah compared to these kale treats from Jeanette’s Healthy Living, which get their savory flavor from nutritional yeast (which is often used as a vegan cheese substitute), cashews, light miso, and soy sauce. Make them in bulk and keep them handy for midday snack attacks.
(Photo: Jeanette’s Healthy Living)
7. Sweet Potato Kale and Quinoa Fritters
“Loaded with vitamins and flavor, these little patties have a crispy exterior and a soft creamy interior. The quinoa adds texture and a little crunch,” says Mariana McEnroe of the Yes, More Please! blog. They make for a fabulous appetizer, side, or two of them on top of a salad makes a kale-tastic lunch or dinner.
(Photo: Ian McEnroe for Yes, More Please!)
A kale recipe round-up wouldn’t be complete without at least one smoothie recipe. This one is holiday-ready—not just because it looks festive, but because it’s packed with vitamin-rich kale, bananas, and flaxseeds, and it’s topped with anti-inflammatory pomegranate seeds. Food coma cure? Right here.
(Photo: Pinch of Yum)
“The past few Thanksgivings, [I] have made some seriously tasty meals that could easily replace, or sit beside a Thanksgiving classic,” says Lindsey of Dolly and Oatmeal. We agree that this dish is way more exciting than traditional stuffing or mashed potatoes: think spiced kale, shallots, chickpeas with quinoa, and a peppery tahini sauce to top it all off.
(Photo: Dolly and Oatmeal)
10. Spicy Lentil Kale Burgers
After you try these vegan burgers, you’ll give all other patties the cold shoulder. “They’re spicy yet savory, crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside, and very nutritious,” says Kaila of Potluck at Oh My Veggies. “Lentils and kale combine to make one superfood-filled patty!” A mix of spices including coriander, chili powder, cumin, basil, thyme, and oregano take “tasty” to a whole new level.
(Photo: Oh My Veggies)
(Photo: Vegetarian Comfort Foods)