11 INCREDIBLE Vegan Kale Recipes for kale lovers and skeptics alike. Everything from kale salad to kale chips to green smoothies, there is a wholesome recipe for everyone. Most recipes are gluten-free or gluten-free adaptable.
Kale. Amazing, wonderful kale.
There was a time I didn't like kale.
I know, I know. It’s absolutely crazy. But I thought the vegetable was tough and bitter and generally without flavor. Hands up if you've ever felt that. I KNOW I'm not the only one. Turns out, the problem wasn't kale. The problem was me; I wasn’t cooking it right! Once I started seeing all the vegan kale recipes out there, I realized that I was just doing kale all wrong.
For the past decade, I’ve been making up for my mistake by experimenting in the kitchen and finding new and inventive ways to try this delicious dark leafy green. Turns out, the ways are countless.
If you want to enjoy kale with me, let's take a look at how to properly cook with kale.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
Types of Kale
There are lots of different kinds of kale that are all best used for different recipes. The most common types of kale are:
- Curly Kale - Curly kale is the most common type of kale and the one you usually find at the grocery store. It is vibrant green with leaves that curl and pucker up around the edges, giving it its name.
- Dinosaur Kale - An Italian variety that has greenish blue leaves that are slender and long. The leaves are thick with a reptilian texture.
- Red Russian - This kale heirloom is actually rutabaga grown for its leaves rather than its root. This type of kale is greenish purple and look like overgrown oak leaves. It is more tender and sweet than other types of kale.
Most recipes should distinguish between the varieties although in some cases, any kale will do. Read more about kale varieties and their uses.
Tips and Tricks
- Use the right variety. Most recipes will distinguish between the varieties of kale. If it doesn't, you can assume any type of kale will do. However, in most cases, different types of kale have a variety of uses and cooking methods and should be noted in the recipes.
- Always massage raw kale - To eat raw kale, it’s important that we give it a gentle massage. A simple massage helps to break down the toughness and bitterness while releasing sweetness and tenderness into the leaves, greatly enhancing the flavor and texture. Read more about how to massage kale below.
- Allow the flavors to marinate - Naturally, kale has a slightly bitter earthy flavor which, alone, is an acquired taste. However, even kale newbies can enjoy the bitter flavor when mixed with a variety of different flavors and textures. Try adding sauces and dressings to your kale salads and allow the flavors to marinate a bit before serving. You'll be surprised by the many flavors complimented by kale.
How to Massage Kale
Massaging kale is really easy. First, you’ll want to chop the kale finely and place it in a large bowl. Next, drizzle it with a little olive oil and salt. I like adding lemon here as well for extra flavor, but that’s not necessary. The oil and salt help break down the leaf’s toughness allowing it to tenderize even more.
As you massage the kale you will notice the leaves get more vibrantly green with a bit of silky shine. The kale will also shrink in volume as the leaves tenderize. (See pictures above)
Vegan Kale Recipes
Now let's take a look at 11 of my favorite vegan kale recipes from around the internet!
You will find recipes for smoothies, salad, pasta, soup, and more! Whatever you try, these recipes will turn you from a kale skeptic to a kale fan.
Did you know you can start your day off with a healthy serving of kale? Yes, you can! It’s quick and easy to make and it’s filled with food that will fuel you all morning long. This kale smoothie is light, refreshing, wholesome, AND made without banana!
Kale pesto is one of my favorite varieties, especially in the colder months when basil is out of season, and this particular one is my go-to kale pesto. It’s a blend of fresh garlic, pine nuts, cashew parmesan, olive oil, and of course, KALE for a savory, delicious winter-friendly pesto!
Have you tried Cream of Kale Soup yet? If not, make sure to do that ASAP. This Cream of Kale soup is soooooo good. It’s salty, rich, creamy, and made in under 30 minutes! Serve it with a crusty baguette for a delicious mid-day meal.
These Vegan Ricotta and Kale Filo Scrolls are a must-try. They are filled with delicious herbed tofu ricotta blended with fresh kale all wrapped inside flaky filo dough. It’s the perfect appetizer for your next party!
One of my favorite ways to enjoy kale is in pasta and this Kale and Mushroom Pasta is one of the best kale pasta recipes I’ve tried. It’s a delicious vegan pasta seasoned with soy sauce, garlic and fiery ginger for an easy pasta dish that can be made in just 15 minutes.
One of the best ways to try kale is by sneaking it into your favorite recipes. These Sweet Potato and Peanut Enchiladas do just that! The sweet and savory flavors of sweet potatoes and peanuts pair perfectly with the dark bitterness of the kale.
This Baked Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Crispy Kale looks truly divine! It’s baked gnocchi tossed with delicious fall spices and vegetables for an easy and healthy recipe that made in just 25 minutes. This is a must-try!
More Vegetable Roundups
Vegetables are amazing. They are versatile, delicious, and good for you! Do you need help with some of them? Here are a few of my other popular vegetable round-up articles.
- 11 PERFECT Sweet Potato Recipes
- 15 INCREDIBLE Zucchini Recipes
- 11 AMAZING Eggplant Recipes
- 11 SAVORY Pumpkin Recipes
- The BEST Cauliflower Recipes
That's it! 11 DELICIOUS ways to use kale. What is your favorite way to use kale? Tell me in the comments below.