There are two vocal camps of people when it comes to kale: those who can’t get enough of it, and those who think it’s more garnish than food. How you prepare it, however, can change someone’s mind from kale-hater to kale-fan in a single dish…if you know the right tricks.
When it comes to green smoothies, the real difference can seem to be how good your blender is: underpowered blenders struggle with the fibrous green. If you don’t have the top-of-the-line blender, however, you can compensate with two tricks.
- Wash and stem the kale. Place it in a freezer bag and squeeze out all the air to get a flat, compressed packet. Freeze (2 hours, or indefinitely). Crumble into your blender in pieces. Not only does freezing help break down the cellular structure, making your blender’s job easier, your smoothie will be a little extra cold. Yum.
- Blend your kale (frozen or not) with your liquids before adding other fruits or mix-ins like nut butters. Letting your blender work on the kale solo for a bit will result in a smoother smoothie.
Bitter compounds called glucosinolates are released when you chop kale leaves with a knife. You can minimized their flavor impact by chopping the kale and then rinsing it or by roughly tearing the leaves by hand. You can both reduce the chewiness of kale and improve its ability to hang onto the flavor of a nice, light dressing by massaging your vinaigrette into the leaves, crushing the leaves a little as you go.