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

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 »

Fried Oyster Po’Boys with Kale and Tartar Sauce

Get the recipe for Fried Oyster Po’Boys with Kale and Tartar Sauce »

Apple and Kale Salad with Black-Sesame–Maple Cashews

Apple and Kale Salad with Black-Sesame–Maple Cashews

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 »

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 »

Supper Pancakes With Smoked Sausage

Supper Pancakes With Smoked Sausage.

Kale Chips

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

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 »

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 »

White Bean and Lacinato Kale Soup with Smoked Ham Hock

After flavoring the beans for this creamy winter soup, smoked ham hock is shredded and pan-fried, rendering it crisp and intensifying its flavor.

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.

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.

Leaf and Spear

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.

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.

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. Pickled fennel adds a dose of herby flavor that brings the dish together. Get the recipe for Grouper in Crab Sauce with Black Quinoa and Pickled Fennel »

Cavolo Nero and Prosciutto 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 »

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 »