Kale is still the leafy green veggie du jour. And why wouldn't it be? It's tasty, versatile, and so full of nutrients it's kind of hard to exclude from a healthy diet. You'll find kale in salads, juices, sandwiches, soups—even chips! But what about desserts? Can it be done? Can kale be a feature in every course of a meal?
The first time I had "sweet" kale was in a smoothie. Bananas, coconut milk, dates, kale, almonds—it sounds a little weird, but it really works. The kale's grassy flavor gets a sweet kick with the addition of the fruits, and likewise, the sweet fruits and nuts aren't overbearing thanks to the kale cutting the sweetness. Two Los Angeles vegan spots have mastered the kale smoothie: Silverlake's Naturewell and Echo Park's Sage Bistro. (Coincidentally, Sage shares its space with KindKreme—a vegan ice cream shoppe that often has kale as a featured flavor.) If you're visiting the area, make sure to pop in for at least one of the healthiest, greenest, and yummiest smoothies in town.
So, the kale smoothie only piqued my interest. If kale can taste delicious in a smoothie, what other sweet recipes will do it justice? I am happy to report, there are quite a few. Pinterest is loaded with kale desserts. Here are a few:
Chocolate kale chips: Kale chips are all the rage as healthy alternatives to greasy (and GMO-filled) corn and potato chips. They're crunchy, hold the flavor, and reduce snacking guilt. And, they come in chocolate, too. Here's a recipe that looks amazing. It features raw cacao (also super healthy), cinnamon, and vanilla. http://nouveauraw.com/raw-recipies/kale-chips/chocolate-kale-chips-seed-based/
Kale popsicles? Well, they're more like frozen smoothies, but if it works in a smoothie, it should work in a frozen dessert, too, right? The recipe has only three ingredients, which is pretty amazing. No added sugars or flavors, just bananas, strawberries, and kale. But if kale and chocolate work together as the chips recipe suggests, perhaps you can turn this recipe into a bit of a fudgesicle with a bit of raw cacao powder added to the mix. Worth a try! http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/desserts/kale-freezer-pops/
Kale muffins: Like zucchini and carrots, there's no reason kale can't be a staple in your baked goods. It's a great way to encourage picky kids to eat their veggies, and for those stubborn adults, too. This muffin recipe with kale looks simple enough (I'd veganize it with an egg substitute like flax or chia seeds). You can even turn it into a quick bread recipe by pouring into a loaf pan instead of muffin tins. And you could sweeten it just a tad bit more with a lemony frosting on top. Yumm. http://www.levanacooks.com/kale-apple-muffins-recipe-all-variations/
Kale cake: Let them eat cake…or kale…or both! Chocolate once again lends a supporting role in sweetening kale, and why not? Both are delicious and two of the most popular superfoods. It's almost rude not to pair them together. Here's a yummy-looking recipe for kale in a chocolate cake. Once again, eggs can be substituted out. And of course, you can always add more kale. http://foodieunderground.com/chocolate-kale-cake-with-sea-salt/
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
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