Seasonal Produce Guides
Here’s a handy list of the easy veggie recipes you’ll find on VegKitchen, for the most common vegetables from your garden, the farm market, or grocery store. Most everyone needs to eat more veggies, and here are some tasty ways to do so. Read More→Print This Post
The abundance of asparagus recipes on VegKitchen is a testament to how versatile it is —you can use it chilled in salads, blend it into soups, or serve simply grilled or roasted. It used to be that the appearance of big bunches of asparagus was a sure sign of spring. These days, like lots of veggies, asparagus is available year round, but it still seems more appropriate to spring meals (and spring holidays like Easter and Passover). For more tips on making the most of asparagus, see Asparagus: Buying, Cooking, and Enjoying. Read More→Print This Post
Whether you like raw kale salads, sautéed dishes and stews, or green smoothies, you’ll find these and other easy vegan kale recipes to choose from here. Kale is super-nutritious (and a great source of calcium for the vegan diet) as well as versatile — there aren’t many greens that would work equally well in a warming stew, a raw salad, and a refreshing beverage. It was my favorite green to experiment with when I was working on my book, Wild About Greens. (Photo at right by Susan Voisin, FatFree Vegan Kitchen) Read More→Print This Post
Recently, a friend asked me, “How can I make kale yummy?” It occurred to me that perhaps a lot of people are new to the nutritional powerhouse that is kale. Maybe you only know it as that curly green thing underneath your potato salad. It does look quite nice, but it is severely underutilized as a garnish. Loaded with calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, and K, and even some protein, you’d be much better off eating the kale, and tossing the potato salad. Here are five simple things you can do to make your kale yummy.
Eat it raw. Eating a salad comprised solely of raw kale is a little tough to take. Kale has pretty intense flavor and a tough texture. But if you want to give your salad a nutritional shot in the arm, simply remove the leaves from the stem, chop them up, and mix with other lettuces, like romaine, leaf, or butter. The added flavor and texture will, ahem, (switch to fancy voice) dance wonderfully across the palate and create a unique mouth-feel. Wow, I watch way too much Top Chef.
Massage it. Massaging is a technique used with raw kale in order to both tenderize it and remove a good portion of its bitterness. Remove the kale leaves from the stem, cut them into 1 inch wide ribbons, and place them in a large bowl. For one bunch of kale, add 1 teaspoon of kosher or sea salt, the juice of half of a lemon, and a touch of olive oil (optional), then begin to rub it all around the kale. You must continually massage the salt, lemon, and oil into all of the leaves for 2 to 3 minutes. After this time has elapsed, you will notice that the kale has wilted a bit and it will have a much milder flavor. Now it’s ready to become a salad. Add other veggies, fruits, and nuts and dress simply with a little agave nectar, and lemon juice and olive oil, if needed. Both delicious and energizing, a massaged kale salad always comes with a happy ending.
Blanch it. Blanching is the process of boiling something for a very short amount of time. You need only bring a pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and you’re ready to go. Depending on what veggie you’re using, blanching times will vary. To blanch kale, remove the leaves from the stem and roughly chop them. Submerge the kale in the boiling water and remove it after 20 seconds. Immediately cool the leaves by running them under cold water, or plunging them into a bowl of ice water, known as an ice bath. This keeps the kale from overcooking, and retains its deep green color. Drain it, and squeeze out as much water as possible. Now tender, with the bitterness removed, your blanched kale is perfect on a pizza, in a lasagna, or as a simple cold side dish with a drizzle of sesame oil and a dash of soy sauce or tamari.
Soup it. Kale is a fantastic way to add a whole bunch of extra goodness to soups and stews. Remove the leaves from the stem and cut them into 1 inch wide ribbons. Personally, I enjoy the texture of the kale, so I add it at the very end of the cooking process, to keep it from getting soft and mushy. Finish cooking your soup or stew, then cut off the heat and stir in the kale. Let it sit for 4 to 5 minutes, then let the tongue scalding begin.
Drink it. Whaaaaat?? How the heck can I drink a bunch of leaves? Put it through your juicer, silly. With life-changing documentaries like Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead approaching the mainstream, juicing has become more popular than ever. You, of course, could not eat an entire bunch of kale at once, but by turning it into juice, you can consume the powerful, supercharging nutrients of said bunch all in one shot! Start with a combination of kale (including the stems), carrot, celery and apples, then add other fruits and veggies for variety. Squeezing in a little fresh lemon juice will help your body absorb the iron that kale has to offer, and it will also balance out its bitterness. Super-mega juicing tip: Since it’s not as curly as green kale, lacinato kale (a.k.a. dinosaur or black kale) is easier to cram into juicers that have smaller feeding tubes. You’re welcome. So, go ahead and juice that kale! You’ll be sporting a Jack LaLane spandex onesie in no time.
I hope you give all of these methods a try because I know that you will love at least one of them, if not all of them!
Brian Patton is the author of The Sexy Vegan Cookbook and executive chef for Vegin’ Out, a vegan food delivery service in Los Angeles. As the quintessential “regular dude” vegan chef, he started posting instructional cooking videos on YouTube as his witty, ukulele playing alter-ego “The Sexy Vegan” and quickly gained a large following. Visit him online at The Sexy Vegan.
- Get more great tips by visiting VegKitchen’s Seasonal Produce Guides.
- For lots more features on healthy lifestyle, please explore VegKitchen’s Healthy Vegan Kitchen page.
Packed with nutrients, cranberries are healthy and delicious, making dishes pop with flavor. They also can take many forms: juice, sauce, jam, dried and of course, fresh. When fresh, they pack a punch of tartness that overpowers their sweetness, but if you can get over the bite, it’s worth it. This “superfruit” is full of antioxidants and really good for you! Read More→Print This Post
“Korn has got one thing that nobody else has got,” wrote nineteenth-century humorist Josh Billings, “and that is a kob.” Read More→Print This Post
At farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture farms, lettuces make their appearance in May and go strong through mid-summer. When I belonged to a CSA farm, each week, we could take as many as three healthy heads of lettuce for our share. No matter how much one loves salads, three heads a week is a lot of lettuce! If you shop at farm markets, they, too will be bursting with lettuces (photo courtesy of International Produce Training). Read More→Print This Post
I fully admit that I’m not a big fruit eater, which is why I’m happy that smoothies were invented. This way, I know I get my daily dose in a few yummy sips. Frozen blueberries often go into the mix, but when fresh blueberries are in season, I balk at mixing them into smoothies. I want to savor each and every berry during its brief, local season. Read More→Print This Post