The Summer of Kale

Since I didn’t grow up in the South, eating ‘greens’ doesn’t come naturally. I ate plenty of iceberg and romaine, not to mention spinach, growing up, but chard, kale, collards, and the like just didn’t cross my plate until I moved to SC. After we became vegetarian, I didn’t know how I would do greens without a hamhock or bacon, so I just kinda steered clear entirely until this summer.

This week, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs in the produce department and we ended up with an enormous bag of kale–and there’s only so many kale chips a girl can eat! We went with a version of a prior spinach salad with a combo I’ve been dying to try–pine nuts and blueberries!

Blueberry Kale Salad

Blueberry Kale Salad

Blueberry Kale Salad with BBQ Tempeh

kale, washed and deribbed

lemon juice

olive oil

dried blueberries

toasted pine nuts

shaved slices of Parmesan

blueberry dressing from our spinach salad

tempeh

BBQ sauce (your favorite brand)

Massage the cut up kale with olive oil and lemon juice to break down the fibers and soften it. Meanwhile,  cut your tempeh thinly and broil with BBQ sauce until crispy (see prior post for instructions). Let tempeh cool, then add to kale along with the blueberries, pine nuts, and parmesan- top with the blueberry dressing. The flavors combine amazingly (is that even a word) but even better, the kale holds up overnight so it’s great for lunch the next day! The saltiness of the cheese, nuttiness of the pine nuts, and sweet/tartness of the blueberries combine perfectly with the slight bitterness of the kale. MMMM

As if this wasn’t enough kale, we put it on tonight’s pizza. Bear with me—this is good 😉

pizza

Kale Pizza

whole wheat pizza dough (either store bought or homemade)

BBQ sauce (your favorite brand)

red onion, sliced thinly

green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

broccoli cut into small florets

(optional) Buffalo chik’n nuggets, cooked about halfway through and cut into 1/4 inch pieces

mozzerella cheese

kale, washed/deribbed and chopped into small pieces (massage with a small amount of lemon juice to soften)

Spread pizza dough out on a greased cookie sheet that’s been turned UPSIDE DOWN. It goes against all logic, but makes the best crust if you don’t have a pizza stone. (Ours is patiently waiting on our BBB registry ;-)) Spread BBQ sauce on the dough evenly, then top with onions, pepper, and broccoli. Add the chik’n nuggets if you’re using. Sprinkle about 1/2 of your cheese over top and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Pull the pizza out and top with your kale (you shouldn’t have put enough lemon juice on it to have a pool at the bottom, but if you DID, then drain so you don’t dump that on the pizza!), then the remainder of the cheese. Continue baking for another 5-8 minutes, until the crust is crispy (and sounds ‘hollow’ when you tap on it) and the cheese is lightly browned. Remove from the oven, let it cool, and serve.

OH MY GOODNESS. You wouldn’t even know there was kale on it if you weren’t told– it just kind of seemlessly melts into the other toppings. The lemon from the kale is a good acidity against the natural sweetness of the veggies and BBQ sauce, and the red onion adds a little bit of a bite. The chik’n nuggets we used contributed some heat, and the cheese is gooey and mellows things out.

Once you make homemade pizza, it’s difficult to go back to anything else–short of a few FANTASTIC local places doing thin crust, brick oven specialty pies, we don’t even bother eating pizza out anymore. It’s cheaper and healthier to do it at home and you know your ingredients are reputable. Who says pizza night has to be an ordeal or require jumping in the car/calling for takeout? Personalize your pizzas with YOUR favorite veggies for a date night or family meal that’s easy even after a full work day. You won’t regret it!

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