Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Loving Our Greens!

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesdays and Pennywise Platter Thursdays.

I told you yesterday how I tried and failed with rainbow chard, now let me share with you some great ways of getting your green on using kale and spinach!

I had read about Kale Chips and I thought, "My family would never even go near something like that."  However, my daughter is on an eating plan right now that requires two meals a day to have at least two servings of green vegetables.  After burning out on the usual suspects, it was time to venture into new territory.  When I told my daughter what I was making she said, "NO!  Don't make kale!  I hate kale!"  After I assured her that she didn't have to like it, she just had to be open minded and try it, she calmed down.  And when she actually did try it, she loved it.  She now asks for kale chips everyday!  The taste is similar to popcorn or if you use spinach I think it tastes like pumpkin seeds.  If you use spinach and kale both, do them in different batches or use separate trays because of the different cooking times.

Kale (or Spinach) Chips
1 bunch kale (or spinach) I use a half a bunch each time
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt

Pre-heat oven to 350.  You're going to need to de-vein the kale: just run a sharp knife along either side of the main stem & remove.  Tear the leaves into bite size pieces (about 2" square or smaller) and place in colander (or salad spinner) to wash.

Wash & dry kale, then place in single layer on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  I used a kitchen oil spritzer to evenly distribute oil on the kale (mine is from Pampered Chef but you can find similar items here or here on Amazon).  I took about a teaspoon of sea salt in my hand and rubbed my hands together all over the kale to evenly salt it.

Place in the oven and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes or until crisp (if using spinach you will need to cook it for closer to 15 minutes).  Watch carefully when it's getting close to time- burnt ones don't taste good!
Eat them up!  (about 2 - 4 servings depending on if you eat them like I do or my daughter does!)

My parchment paper is a little dark because I was reusing a sheet I had made something else on previously (cookies I believe).  Here is a great tip for you: because I used half of the bunch of kale, I saved the parchment paper & reused it the next day to make the second batch with the other half of the kale.  Now, wait- don't throw the paper away yet!  Make yourself a batch of Sourdough Cracker dough and roll it right out onto the parchment paper.  You see, after a couple of batches the paper has the perfect amount of extra oil & salt on it for your crackers.  I wanted to use up more of my spinach (I had several bunches) so before I rolled it out I tore some spinach into pieces & incorporated it into the dough.
If you were making these for your family you would probably want to chop it a little more finely- but these were for me & I didn't mind (plus I'm lazy- ha!).  Bake as normal- the crackers are salted from underneath!  These were great!

I didn't stop there though.  Last time I had a bag of basil I had more than I was ready to use then, so I measured out the amount of leaves needed for a batch of Spinach Basil Pesto and put it in bags right into the freezer.  I was ready to make pesto this week so a day or two earlier I got a bag of basil out of the freezer to thaw & then put those leaves right into the food processor.  They don't look pretty then, but once everything mixes together you can't tell anything is different.  I didn't have any pine nuts for my pesto, so I decided to use pecan pieces instead.  I may do that from now on- have you seen how expensive pine nuts are?  Wow!

Those spinach crackers taste awesome dipped in Spinach Basil Pesto- yum!  Now I'm really getting my green on- but wait, I'm not done yet!  (It's fun to sound like an infomercial sometimes...)

Don't forget about throwing a few fresh spinach leaves into your smoothies.  If you've got some spinach or kale that is about to go bad you can do this: lightly steam them, while still hot put them in the blender along with a few tablespoons of coconut oil (the heat from the leaves melts the oil) and a little bit of milk just to help things move around.

Puree until smooth, pour into an ice cube tray, and place in the freezer.  Once they're frozen solid you can put them in a bag in the freezer.  Throw one or two into your smoothies for a boost of healthy greens & healthy fat too!

OK, whew!  Now I'm done!  Did I wear you out too?

Have some fun with greens this week!

P.S.  Do you know about the US Wellness Meats Giveaway at Nourishing Days blog?  You can enter for a chance to win an $85 gift certificate- yeah & yum!


  1. Oh, I love the idea of rolling greens right into sourdough crackers. I've been making sourdough crackers regularly lately, but I never thought to do that. I will definitely be adding some greens to my crackers this week!

  2. The kale chips sound yummy! I freeze spinach and kale but never thought to add coconut oil to it - I can't wait to do that, I am always looking for ways to get extra coconut oil in our diet.

  3. Hi. You might want to try this chard recipe, just give it a try. It's very creamy and delicious. Alice Walter's is the originator, but I think I've gotten this link from a blog. http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/the_wednesday_chef/2008/07/alice-waterss-s.html

    The thing w/the chard is you have to cook the stems separate from the greens. We love this gratin, in fact, I just harvested the last of my chard from the garden and we're having this for dinner tonight. I fry eggs soft and top the gratin with it on the plate.

    Thanks for the tip on the kale. I had tried the kale chips before, but I was using store bought kale in the middle of the summer. It was bitter and horrible. I have discovered the farmer's market or homegrown kale is not bitter at all, and is quite delicious.

  4. I will definitely have to try the chips - thanks for the detailed instrux! And the crackers sound scrumptious too. I'm curious what eating plan your daughter is on, if you don't mind sharing? I'm trying to figure out ways to get more chlorophyll into my 6 yo daughter to help with body odor issues, but I figure she could never eat enough greens to do it w/o a supplement...

  5. @Beth- hope you like it!
    @Christy- what I like about the frozen cubes is the coconut oil mixes in smoothly- no grainey-ness
    @Paula- I'll have to try that!
    @Susanna- it's a long story, suffice it to say she's on a monitored diet. Hope the chlorophyll helps- I've given a kid (vegetarian) digestive enzymes to help with the same issue

  6. I just found another recipe online for the kale chips and I am so excited to try those!! I saw another one that suggested a sprinkling of cheese over the kale before baking. Love the greens in the crackers idea too. Come check out the recipe I posted today for creamed kale. The cream sauce is made with raw cashews - simple and yummy! Question for you - I see that you have a giant vat of coconut oil. Where do you order from?

  7. @Jenna- no way my daughter will let me cook the kale any other way than chips now! :D I've compared prices on unrefined organic coconut oil & the best price I've found (for a gallon- fits perfectly in my cupboard still) is from mountain rose herbs.com


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