Sides & Salads / Small Plates / Vegan Foods / Vegetarian / Weeknight Dinner

Frozen Kale: It’s not just for soup!

Okay, so I have a confession to make: I think kale is totally overrated. A few years ago, it was a garnish. Now, it’s an over-hyped superfood that goes into way too many dishes. Don’t get me wrong, it has its merits, but do you really need to put kale on pizza? No. No, you do not. The only time I ever really eat kale is when it’s mixed with greens in a salad, or in a soup.

Despite my mild aversion to kale, I bought a bag of frozen kale at Trader Joe’s about two months ago. I figured that the frozen stuff would be more versatile since it wouldn’t go bad fast (obviously). However, I quickly realized that frozen kale is far more limiting than fresh; you can’t make kale chips, it can’t go into a fresh salad…basically, it’s ideal for soups or a side gratin dish. Or it’s good for throwing into smoothies, if you’re into that.

So far, I’ve been pretty boring with my uses for the stuff. I mixed it into scrambled eggs one morning, I added it to a green smoothie, and I steamed it with some garlic and seasoning. Yawn.

Tonight, I was determined to make a more exciting side dish using the stuff. So, I did the two things that tend to make dishes instantly more exciting: I added color and spice.

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By combining the kale with sauteed bell pepper, onion, and garlic, and sprinkling in some cayenne, I was able to have a side to my dinner that wasn’t totally blah. It looked good, and it had just the right amount of heat. I ate mine with a veggie burger, because that’s what I had, but it would pair nicely with chicken or fish as well. You could even add ground turkey to it for a more complete, protein-packed dish.

Spicy Kale with Bell Pepper (serves 1)
85 grams (1 serving) Trader Joe’s frozen kale
1/2 bell pepper, diced
about 2 tbsp diced red onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 – 1/2 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper
cayenne pepper

Prepare kale in the microwave; drain and press using paper towels to remove excess moisture. Meanwhile, in a small pan on medium heat, add oil, pepper, onion, and garlic. Saute until garlic starts to brown and onion and pepper soften. Add kale to the pan and a large pinch of cayenne; add salt and pepper to taste. 

Speaking of exciting flavor combos, I bought some cottage cheese at the store last week and I’ve been trying to think of things to put on it aside from my usual pineapple slices or salsa. Today, I added banana slices and cinnamon for a snack. I know, it sounds gross (or at least it did to me). I got the idea online, and decided it was just weird enough to try. Surprisingly, it was actually pretty good. The sweetness of the bananas worked nicely with the cottage cheese, especially with the cinnamon. I wouldn’t eat it all the time, but it was a nice change from my usual toppings.

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