Kale and the CSA Box

Kale. Courtesy of Rasbak, from Wikimedia Commons.

According to Locally Grown’s Eric Wagoner, one of the proverbial problems with a standard CSA is “too much kale.” Oh,  how does it love the cold!…so much, in fact, that before the joyous pied summer days of tomatoes and squash, the constant, wearying sine qua non of every farmer’s harvest is kale. Yet, this vitamin-packed leafy green doesn’t have to wear out your culinary and gustatory patience.

Coming to the rescue is Kathleen Purvis, the elegant and estimable Food Editor for the Charlotte Observer, with an account of her own battle and triumph over the curly, often purplish cabbage. You can find all of her articles on the Observer’s site; her recommended kale recipes have been copied below:


Based on a New York Times recipe. The original calls for lacinato kale, also known as black kale or dinosaur kale, but I made it with a mixture of lacinato and the sweeter Siberian kale.

1 large bunch kale
1 slice country-style bread or  1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan Reggiano cheese, divided
About 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Juice of 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
1/4 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Trim off the bottoms of the kale stems and discard. Pile up the kale leaves and slice them into ribbons about 1/2 to  3/4 inches wide. You should have about 5 or 6 cups kale. Place the kale in a large serving bowl and set aside.

Toast the bread lightly, then pulse in a food processor or rub on the large holes of a cheese grater to make coarse crumbs. If using fresh bread crumbs, spread out on a pan and toast lightly. Set aside.

Pound the garlic clove into paste in a mortar with a pestle or with the back of a large knife. Place the garlic in a small bowl. (If you’re using a mortar, you can just make the dressing there.) Add  1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper flakes and pepper and whisk to combine.

Pour over the kale and use tongs to toss well to thoroughly combine. Let stand at least 5 minutes and up to 15 or 20 minutes.

Add bread crumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons cheese and a small drizzle of oil and toss again before serving.

Yield: About 4 servings.


From allrecipes.com. This sounds like the strangest snack ever, but it’s really good–if you like kale.

1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, nonstick foil or a silicone baking mat.

Pull or cut the kale leaves away from the thick stems, discarding the stems and tearing the leaves into large pieces. Place in a mixing bowl and drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with salt. Toss well with your hands to combine.

Spread the leaves on the lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges of the leaves are browned but not burned and the leaf pieces are crispy.

Yield: 6 servings.


Adapted from several recipes. This is close to the kale chips, but you don’t let it get as crispy. The sherry vinegar forms a slightly sweet sauce.

1 large bunch kale, any kind
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
About 1 tablespoon coarse or flaky sea salt or kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons sherry, balsamic or red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pull the kale leaves off the thick stems and discard the stems. Wash the leaves and spin or shake dry. Pile the leaves up and slice them into strips about 1 inch wide.

Place the kale in a large mixing or serving bowl. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt, then toss well to combine.

Spread the kale on a large baking sheet and place in the oven. Set the bowl aside. Roast the kale about 7 minutes, toss with tongs and return to the oven for several minutes. The leaves should be beginning to brown around the edges.

Remove from oven and return the kale to the bowl you mixed it in. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon more oil and the vinegar. Toss well with tongs and serve.

Yield: 2 to 3 servings.


Mediterranean cuisines from Portugal to Italy are full of versions of this adaptable soup. Potato and white beans are traditional, but you can just use one or the other. It’s also a two fer b” use the leftovers for Italian Ribollita (see recipe).

1 pound kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
About 1 pound Italian sausage, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 medium russet or Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon smoked or sweet paprika, or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste

Pull the kale leaves from the stems, setting stems aside. Pile up the leaves and cut into strips. Cut the stems into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

Place the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot and heat over medium-high. Add the Italian sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the potato and cook several minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pieces are starting to brown a little, about 5 minutes. Stir in the kale stems and cook 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, paprika and kale leaves and cook about 1 minute. Return the sausage to the pan and add the stock and drained beans, stirring up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Check first, in case the stock is salty enough.)

Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes, until everything is heated through.

Yield: 6 servings.


Ribollita is Italian for “reboiled” and it’s a traditional way to use leftover bean and greens soups in Tuscany. It’s good enough to be worth making soup in advance just to use this way. We adapted this from www.cliffordawright.com.

Leftover kale soup, such as Kale and Sausage Stew
3/4 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, sliced or crushed
Pinch dried thyme
8 slices country-style Italian bread, toasted
1 large onion, very thinly sliced

Place the stew or soup in a large, ovenproof casserole. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and thyme, then cook about 1 minute, until garlic turns a light gold. Discard the garlic and pour half the oil over the top of the stew.

Layer the bread over the top of the stew. Place the onion slices in an even layer over the bread. Pour the remaining oil over the onion.

Bake about 30 minutes, until bread and onion are golden. Serve, making sure each bowl has a generous chunk of bread pushed into the stew.

Yield: 6 servings.

Finally, for all you bibliophiles and etymologists, dig this from kale’s wikipedia page:

The name borecole most likely originates from the Dutch boerenkool (farmers cabbage).

The Kailyard [S]chool of Scottish writers, which included J. M. Barrie (creator of Peter Pan), consisted of authors who wrote about traditional rural Scottish life (kailyard = kale field).


4 thoughts on “Kale and the CSA Box

  1. I second the kale chips, yum! And the Olive Garden makes great potato soup with kale and sausage, not quite as healthy though…

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