How to Make Kale Taste Good

How to Make Kale Taste Good

I used to never like to eat kale in salads or smoothies. When I would juice it to get its nutritional benefits, I never loved the flavor on its own but would enjoy it mixed with apple, lemon, orange, etc.

When I went vegan I would eat salads with lettuce but could never enjoy kale. Every time I would buy it I never knew how to prepare it well. It would be hard to chew and super fibrous. Over the past year, I’ve began craving salads as a meal more and began experimenting. By reading, learning, and experimenting I learned new ways to prepare kale that makes me crave it. I can eat a whole head now saying “mmm” in every bite.

Tip #1: Massage your kale.

Massaging your kale does a lot to bring out the flavor and breakdown the fibers in the leaves. It completely changes the texture of kale from hard to soft and light. Give your kale some love, massage it with your hands, and make it wet and juicy for you to enjoy. I also tear it up into small pieces when I do this.

Touching your food before you eat it sends signals to your brain which sends signals to your stomach that begins releasing enzymes for digestion. Also, massaging your kale breaks it down and pre-digests it in a sense. So this tip is crucial for optimal flavor and digestion when you eat kale. Playing with your food isn’t bad, it actually helps your body get ready to eat!

Here’s kale before you give it some love: hard, uptight, not wet

Here’s kale after you give it some love: wet, juicy, and ready

 

Tip #2: Use a delicious dressing.

One day I put my spicy peanut sauce that I normally put on thin rice noodles onto my kale salad and it rocked my world. It was the first time I could eat a whole head of kale as a meal in one sitting. When I use this recipe on noodles, I typically add more water so it’s a little more liquid-y. I adapted it to be more thick for the salad recipe just because that’s how I like it. You do you.

1. Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing

Ingredients:

peanut butter

soy sauce

vegan sriracha

minced ginger or ginger powder

Method:

  • Add at least 2 tbsp of peanut butter into a jar or mug
  • Add 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • Add 1 tbsp of minced ginger or 1/2 tbsp ginger powder
  • Add sriracha to your liking, more for more heat
  • Add a dash of water
  • Use a fork to stir and mash up the peanut butter
  • Keep stirring until it’s liquid-y, shouldn’t take more than 1 minute
  • Combine dressing with your massaged and torn up kale.
  • Add hemp seeds, tomatoes, shredded carrot, and saurkraut for an ultimate meal. ~22g+ of protein

2. Vegan Caesar Dressing

This recipe I got and adapted from @mamaeatsplants. She also has her website mamaeatsplants.com which is full of plant-based recipes and zero-waste living help. She’s one of my biggest inspirations on living healthy and sustainably.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp of olive oil

1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1/3 cup tahini

pinch of himalayan salt + pepper

3 tbsp capers, chopped

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

zest + juice of 1 lemon

Method:

  • Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl
  • Chop up your kale finely in a separate bowl. You can add romaine or red leaf lettuce too.
  • Combine the dressing with the salad. Mix well.
  • Add roasted chickpeas, tempeh, or tofu for added protein if you’d like.

Tip #3: Eat a family-size salad as a meal once a week. Watch your taste buds change. 

The way I started truly craving lettuce and kale was trying to eat it often. Our taste buds renew every 2 weeks and it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. So if you incorporate healthy foods into your diet you don’t really have an affinity to, your body will begin craving it more! Don’t eat things you don’t like. But if you try to learn to make insanely healthy food that you can wolf down with the same enjoyment as a veggie burger or a burrito, you’re winning.

Tip #4: In smoothies, blend it first.

In the past when I would add kale to smoothies I would never like it because it would never blend all the way and I had to chew. The trick to adding greens to smoothies, especially kale, is to blend it first. Add your greens and your dairy-free milk or water to your blender. Blend it on high for 1 minute. Then add the rest of your ingredients. It makes the BIGGEST difference.

Tip #5: Buy organic.

When you buy organic, you are avoiding putting unnecessary and harmful pesticides and chemicals into your body. You’re also keeping the environment from being polluted and keeping bee species alive. When you don’t buy organic, you should do your best to rinse and clean your lettuce to get as much as the pesticidal residue off as possible. In fruits and vegetables as porous as lettuce or kale, it’s much safer to buy organic. It’s safe to buy non-organic avocados, bananas, etc… Things with a thick skin. But if you can afford it, organic is much better for the environment!

 

Thank you for reading 🙂