I used to think kale was gross. It was tough, bitter, and seemed to suck the flavor out of anything I cooked with it.
Little did I know, I was just eating the wrong kind.
Yes, friends, there is more than one type of kale. And the most popular curly-leaf kale is the least delicious of the bunch.
So before you decide “all kale is gross,” I dare you to buy the tastier variety of kale and give my latest recipe a shot. (Don’t knock it ‘til you try it!)
The kale in question is called Lacinato kale (also called dinosaur kale, Italian black kale, or Tuscan kale), and it’s dark, smooth, thin leaves have a naturally sweeter, less bitter flavor (see picture below).
It also happens to boast more antioxidants than traditional curly kale. (You may recall I use lacinato kale for making Lemon & Garlic Kale Chips.)
Raw vs Cooked Kale
Most of the time, I prefer kale cooked. It softens the leaves, reduces the natural bitterness, and also deactivates some of the goitrogens (naturally occurring plant chemicals found in cruciferous vegetables that can, in high amounts, inhibit thyroid function).
But, I do love an occasional marinated kale salad, especially if I can get my hands on really fresh, tender leaves of Lacinato kale.
When making marinated kale salads with raw kale, be sure to “massage” the dressing into every nook and cranny of the leaves. This helps soften the leaves a bit (by mechanically breaking down some of the fiber) and also ensures the delicious salad dressing evenly flavors every bite.
If you’re particularly sensitive to eating raw kale, meaning you’re overcoming chronic thyroid issues or your digestive system cannot handle raw vegetables, simply steam or blanch the kale before preparing the salad (drain thoroughly before adding the dressing, though).
So, clean up those hands and get ready to massage a delicious sesame ginger kale salad.
Sesame Ginger Kale Salad
- 1 bunch Lacinato kale (also called dinosaur kale, Italian black kale, or Tuscan kale) de-stemmed, leaves cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled, sliced into matchsticks
- 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons coconut sugar, or other sweetener
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce, wheat-free tamari, or coconut aminos
- dash red pepper flakes (optional)
In a large bowl, mix ginger, sesame oil, lime juice, coconut sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and (optional) red pepper flakes.
Taste test and adjust seasonings to your preference (more fish sauce/soy for salt, more lime juice for sour, more coconut sugar for sweet). Keep in mind, you'll want the dressing to be highly seasoned.
Add de-stemmed and chopped kale leaves.
With clean hands, massage dressing into every leaf (no need to be delicate here!).
Let marinate for 30 minutes or more before serving.
Before you go, I’d love to hear from you.
Are you a fan of kale? If so, what’s your favorite way to prepare it?
Tell us about it in the comments below.
Until next week,
P.S. If you’d like more tips for making vegetables taste good, be sure to grab my free ebook below, “Veggies: Eat Them Because You Want To, Not Because You Have To.” Thousands of people have used this book to ignite their love for produce. Will you be next?