17 Kale Recipes To Pack In The Protein

Bitter, earthy kale is not only a nutrient powerhouse—it's delicious

These days, you'll find any number of foods (and some things that are most explicitly not food) bearing the title of "the new kale." Whether it's broccoli rabe, kohlrabi, or content strategy, there's no denying kale's protein, fiber, and antioxidant content, not to mention its hearty texture and mild, versatile flavor. It's still a treasure of its own, especially during cold winter months. From delicate baby kale to hearty lacinato, we've rounded up our favorite kale recipes.

Lacinato kale, otherwise known as cavolo nero, dinosaur kale, or Tuscan kale, is hearty, earthy, and somewhat bitter. This lets it stand up to big flavors, like those in our white bean soup with pan-fried ham hock. Slow cooking tenderizes lacinato kale and softens its flavor—try braising it with pickled peppers, verjus, and garlic until it cooks down into a rich, spicy heap.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, baby kale is tender and mild, making it suited to minimal cooking. In our pappardelle with butternut squash and walnuts, the baby kale is just barely wilted so as to give the rich fall pasta dish a little freshness.

Drizzle kale with olive oil and bake it and you wind up with kale chips. Blend it with cheese and pancetta and use it as a filling for a flaky, savory galette, or scatter broken leaves atop focaccia dough for a crackly contrast to the rich, olive-oil-infused bread.

Whether you want a salad, pasta, or even a cocktail, you're sure to find it in our collection of kale recipes.

Galette with Greens, Gruyere, and Pancetta

Galette with Greens, Gruyere, and Pancetta
This rustic, free-form tart is filled with a savory layer of crème fraiche and Gruyère, then topped with hearty winter greens, and crispy pancetta. It is a an easy alternative to quiche for lunch or a festive winter breakfast. If you're pressed for time, the flaky butter pie crust can be swapped out for a prepackaged pie dough. Get the recipe for Galette with Greens, Gruyere, and Pancetta »Matt Taylor-Gross

Fried Oyster Po'Boys with Kale and Tartar Sauce

Fried Oyster Po'Boys with Kale and Tartar Sauce
Crispy and crowd-pleasing, these sandwiches are a gateway preparation for oyster neophytes. Feel free to use pre-shucked oysters to save time. Get the recipe for Fried Oyster Po'Boys with Kale and Tartar Sauce »Ted Cavanaugh

Kale and Apple Salad

Kale and Apple Salad
Crunchy cashews coated with maple syrup and sesame seeds, and a boldly piquant dressing of Shanxi vinegar, add texture and verve to the classic kale salad from chef Cara Stadler of Tao Yuan in Brunswick, Maine. This vinaigrette is sharper than most, so if you prefer less acidity, add up to 1/4 cup more vegetable oil. Get the recipe for Kale and Apple Salad »Matt Taylor-Gross

Tuscan Kale and Red Pepper Focaccia

Tuscan Kale and Red Pepper Focaccia
In addition to being baked on an olive oil-slathered pan, this focaccia dough is mixed with olive oil as well as creamy mashed potatoes, giving it a fluffy interior and crispy, oil-slicked edges. Kale and red pepper flakes add color and texture that make an otherwise simple bread a side dish in its own right. Get the recipe for Tuscan Kale and Red Pepper Focaccia »Matt Taylor-Gross

Braised Overwintered Greens

Braised Overwintered Greens
Bittersweet kale mingles with a tangy verjus and spicy pepper flakes in this spring greens recipe. Feel free to substitute other greens like cabbage, collards, or spinach, and adjust cooking times as needed. Store-bought peppadews are a good replacement for the pickled aji dulce, and if you can't find fish pepper flakes, cayenne or Aleppo pepper are easy substitutions. Get the recipe for Braised Overwintered Greens »Matt Taylor-Gross

Supper Pancakes With Smoked Sausage

Supper Pancakes
Amy Thielen's interpretation of breakfast for dinner: these delicately sweet and savory pancakes, given lift by yeast and flavored with some bacon fat. They're perfect for rolling up around crisp sausages, but are good filled pretty much everything. Get the recipe for Supper Pancakes With Smoked Sausage »Matt Taylor-Gross

Kale Chips

kale chips, kale chips recipe, easy kale recipe
Kale takes on a crispy, addictive texture when drizzled with olive oil and baked. Try these chips tossed into salads, crushed and sprinkled on popcorn, or used to garnish finished dishes—if you can keep from eating them all immediately. Get the recipe for Kale Chips »Laura Sant

Farfalle with Cavolo Nero Pesto

Farfalle with Cavolo Nero Pesto
In this rendition of traditional Genoese pesto, sweet and nutty cavolo nero (also known as Tuscan kale or Lacinato kale) is used in place of basil and pine nuts. Get the recipe for Farfalle with Cavolo Nero Pesto »Laura Sant

Pappardelle with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, and Baby Kale

Pappardelle with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, and Baby Kale
Toasted walnuts, roasted butternut squash, baby kale, and a rich brown butter sauce combine over broad pappardelle noodles for a dish that perfectly captures fall's best flavors. Get the recipe for Pappardelle with Butternut Squash, Walnuts, and Baby Kale »Helen Rosner

White Bean and Lacinato Kale Soup with Smoked Ham Hock

White Bean and Lacinato Kale Soup with Smoked Ham Hock, Late Winter Feast
After flavoring the beans for this creamy winter soup, smoked ham hock is shredded and pan-fried, rendering it crisp and intensifying its flavor. Get the recipe for White Bean and Lacinato Kale Soup with Smoked Ham Hock »Bill Phelps

Baby Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, and Lemon Vinaigrette

Baby Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, and Lemon Vinaigrette
This quick, zesty kale salad from Florida chef Jeffery Jew gets a decadent touch from rich pine nuts and ribbons of parmesan cheese. Get the recipe for Baby Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Parmesan, and Lemon Vinaigrette »Andé Baranowski

Kale and Sweet Potato Gratin

Kale and Sweet Potato Gratin
Don't limit traditional pie spices—clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg—to the dessert table. In this cheesy, rich gratin, the spices take a savory note alongside kale, sweet potatoes, and sharp white cheddar. Get the recipe for Kale and Sweet Potato Gratin »Maxime Iattoni

Leaf and Spear

Leaf and Spear, Kale Rum Cocktail
This green cocktail combines kale-infused rum with a housemade green harissa syrup, which adds sugar for balance and a hint of jalapeño for pop. Get the recipe for Leaf and Spear »Joseph De Leo

Kale Tarts with Fennel and Olives

Kale Tarts with Fennel and Olives
Kale and fennel lend a unique sweetness to these briny puff pastry tarts. They're perfect as appetizers, savory breakfasts, or as an accompaniment to a bowl of warm, wintry soup. Get the recipe for Kale Tarts with Fennel and Olives »MacKenzie Smith

Grouper in Crab Sauce with Black Quinoa and Pickled Fennel

Grouper in Crab Sauce with Black Quinoa and Pickled Fennel
Meaty butter-basted grouper fillets are topped with a butter-rich, citrusy crab sauce and served over wilted kale and quinoa in this recipe adapted from one by Florida-based chef Jeffrey Jew. Get the recipe for Grouper in Crab Sauce with Black Quinoa and Pickled Fennel »Ingalls Photography

Cavolo Nero and Prosciutto Bruschetta

Cavolo nero (Tuscan kale) bruschetta
Cavolo nero, also known as Tuscan kale, Lacinato kale, or Dinosaur kale, balances thinly sliced, salty prosciutto over toast. Get the recipe for Cavolo Nero and Prosciutto Bruschetta »Laura Sant

Tuscan Bean Soup

Tuscan Bean Soup
Author Nancy Harmon Jenkins uses olive oil three ways in this version of the venerable Italian soup: for sautéing garlic, rubbing on the toasts that accompany the dish, and finishing the soup. Get the recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup »André Baranowski