We all have well-tested recipes, signature dishes that are so easy, quick, and delicious that we eat them often and try to include them in shared meals. Sesame ginger kale is one such dish for me.
Anyone who’s eaten with me more than a few times has tasted this delectable vegetarian concoction. Only now that I’ve been food blogging and branching out on recipe experimentation have I stopped eating this side every week. I’ve tried other kale recipe iterations, but I always come back to kale done up Asian-style.
Apparently kale became trendy last fall. Almost immediately people started complaining about how “trendy” kale had become, as if loving the green was somehow a sign of shallowness. I’ve never been one who freaks out about trends–fashion, music, or food–but if a healthy, cancer-fighting vegetable is now consumed more often because it’s “cool,” who am I to complain? Go ahead. Love kale. Eat it a couple times a week.
Sesame ginger kale is still my all-time favorite kale recipe, partly because I associate tasting it for the first time during a formative period in my adulthood and partly because it’s so fast to make yet doesn’t taste like it was slapped together in ten minutes. Rebecca Katz’s The Longevity Kitchen kale recipes have given me food for thought, though. She features several kale recipes in her excellent cookbook (seriously, if you haven’t tried any recipes from it, borrow a copy from the library, stat.), and I’ve liked all of them.
Below you’ll find my second favorite version of kale cooked up right. Since there are more ingredients in this recipe than in the sesame ginger kale, give yourself another five to ten minutes for prep. I’d never considered adulterating kale with dairy (and it’s easy to skip the feta if you want to keep this vegan), but the tart cheese goes great with citrus, sweet currants, and maple syrup. Happy Meatless Monday.
Mediterranean Greens (a Longevity Kitchen recipe)
Makes 4 servings
6 cups stemmed and chopped/torn lacinato kale, in bite-size pieces
2 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp Grade B maple syrup
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (We don’t have whole nutmeg, so I used some that was already ground.)
1 TBS currants
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Scant 1/4 tsp salt
1 TBS water
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1/4 cup crumbled organic goat’s milk or sheep’s milk feta cheese
2 tsp chopped fresh mint, for garnish
1. Put the kale in a large bowl, add cold water to cover, and set aside.
2. Put the lemon juice, orange juice, lemon zest, orange zest, maple syrup, and nutmeg in a small bowl and stir to combine. Stir in the currants.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until the garlic is lightly golden, about 20 seconds.
4. Add the kale to the pan, along with the salt and 1 TBS of water. Sauté until the kale is bright green and wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the olives and the currants, along with its soaking liquid, and sauté until the kale is just tender, about 4 minutes more. (I only needed to cook for 2 of the 4 minutes before it was ready.) Remove from heat, sprinkle with the feta cheese and mint, and serve immediately.