This simple and pretty preparation of stir-fried kale and red cabbage proves that this hardy green is perfect for flash-cooking over high heat.
The secret to success is to stop the stir-fry process just shy of when you think you need to, so that both the cabbage and kale retain their bright colors.
Try it with mustard greens: This is also excellent with less common and often neglected mustard greens. You need not strip the leaves off of the stems; simply slice the leaves through the stems into long ribbons or chop into bite-sized pieces. Note that mustard greens cook up even more quickly than kale using this stir-fry method, so take care not to overdo the cooking.
Spice it up: As suggested in the recipe, if you’d like a spicier dish, add a minced fresh hot chile pepper or dried hot red pepper flakes to taste, or pass around a bottle of sriracha. Recipe adapted from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas.
A few notes about kale
Though the crazed devotion to kale seems to have peaked, it’s still a Most Valuable Vegetable. Kale is in the family of cruciferous vegetable, as are broccoli and cauliflower. It comes in several varieties, the most common of which are the curly-leafed variety, lacinato (also called dinosaur kale), and Russian kale.
Lacinato kale has long, narrow leaves that are a handsome forest green, sometimes blue-green. Russian Kale is also curly, with red-tipped leaves and a slightly less sweet flavor than its monochromatic counterpart.
In my opinion, though lacinato and Russian kale look appealing, the mild, slightly sweet flavor of the curly variety is the most widely adaptable to all manner of preparations. For this stir-fry, curly green kale or lacinato work equally well.
- 8 to 12 ounces kale, any variety
- 1/2 small head or 1/3 medium head red cabbage
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional hot stuff
- 1 to 2 minced fresh hot chiles or dried hot red pepper flakes or sriracha
- Strip the kale leaves from the stems. Stacking a few leaves atop one another, cut them into narrow strips. If desired, slice the stems thinly to use in the stir-fry; otherwise discard.
- Cut the red cabbage into thin slices about 2 inches long.
- Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan or large skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden and soft.
- Add the kale and cabbage. Turn the heat up to high and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until both are brightly colored and tender crisp.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in the sesame oil and sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper.
- If you’d like to add some heat, add a minced fresh hot chile or dried hot red pepper flakes to taste, or pass around a bottle of sriracha so that everyone can add spice to their taste. Serve at once.
Add a small amount of another vegetable or two, depending on what you have on hand. Use any of the following, adding them at the same time as the kale and cabbage.
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into long narrow strips
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed)
- 8 to 10 baby carrots, quartered lengthwise, or about a cup of grated carrots
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 207Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 181mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 10gSugar: 7gProtein: 4g
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