Kale has become the poster child for a kind of tongue-in-cheek mockery of virtuous eating habits over the past decade, as evidenced by the now ubiquitous “eat more kale” slogan and “keep calm and kale on” merch.
Despite the many jokes, memes and pop culture chatter, kale is still around. And dare I say it’s still kale-ing it when it comes to popularity?
Part of the appeal of kale is that it can be prepared in so many ways. As Bubba Gump might say, you can eat it raw, sautéed, braised or simmered in a stew, roasted as part of a sheet pan meal, and make crispy chips from its leaves.
It also lends itself to almost any flavor profile you can imagine, including warm and spicy Indian curries, cheesy casseroles and rustic Tuscan sauces. It can even find its way into fruity smoothies and juices.
You can mix up your meals with different leafy varieties: puckered, velvety lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale); frilly yet hardy green curly kale and deep purple redbor kale; and Russian red kale with its flat, tender leaves. There is also baby kale, which is also the only variety without tough stems that need to be removed before cooking and eating.