Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kale, the soup cook's best friend

Kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables around, as you might surmise from its deep green color.  A cup of chopped kale gives you more than twice your daily target of Vitamin A, a third again your daily target of Vitamin C, almost seven times your target of Vitamin K.  It has fair amounts of calcium and iron, more than in most other vegetables, and hardly any calories.  And it's cheaper than spinach, escarole or other comparable greens.

I am not enamored of the strong taste of cooked kale, but I just love it served raw -- not on a plate or in a salad, but in soup.

I like to cut away the thick ribs, then chop the leaves and pile them into a soup bowl practically to the top. 

This bowl holds more than two cups of kale, and you might not think there would be much room for soup on top of it.  But the instant the hot liquid hits the kale, it wilts and shrinks, so I was able to put almost two cups of soup into the "full" bowl.

At first you have to eat just the plain soup, unless you've left more room in your bowl than I did.  But as soon as you have eaten a few mouthfuls, you'll be able to dredge up beautiful green stuff from the bottom of the dish. 

It tastes great, and is one of the easiest ways I know to add serious vegetable material to your diet.  And it's fun when your food changes color in mid-meal.

By the way, I mentioned spinach and escarole earlier.  They both make wonderful soup additives too.  I add spinach raw, exactly as I do kale, but escarole seems to like to be cooked, so I chop it up and add it to the soup ten minutes before serving. 


  1. Great idea! I will try this. And if you'd consider a kale-bean soup where the kale is cooked, you might look at a recipe I posted--the taste is mild, not strong:

  2. Thanks, Kathy. I WANT to eat kale, but...raw is sort of tough (I just don't like the consistency) and there's something about it just sauteed or steamed. I'll give your suggestion a try.

    Lisa Quintana

  3. I, too, love kale and spinach in soup, but my favorite is Swiss chard. It comes in such pretty red, yellow and green combos and it has a nice mild taste.