I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say “I really want to like kale, but I just don’t like the taste/texture/flavor.” And I get it. Kale might be trendy but it isn’t something that you’ll love at first bite… if it’s not prepared correctly. So I thought I’d share the common mistakes people make when preparing kale that might cause you to think you don’t like it.
You’re not removing the kale stems
Kale stems are extremely bitter and very hard to chew. If you just chop up your kale without removing the stems, you’ll find yourself chewing and chewing and wondering why you decided to eat a tree for dinner. Do yourself a favor and de-stem the kale. You can either fold the leaves in half and slice the stem off or you can just tear the leaves right off the stem.
You’re not massaging the kale
Kale is a tough green and it needs a little massaging to make it tender. After you’ve washed your kale, you want to literally massage it with your hands. I typically massage the dressing right in. My easiest combination is just lemon juice, olive oil, salt + pepper. You can pour the lemon juice and olive oil on top and then work it in with your fingers. You want to soften the kale just a bit. All you need is a minute or two of working the kale in your hands, then you’re ready to go!
You’re trying too many unfamiliar things at once
When I’m trying a new food (or trying to get someone else to try a new food) it usually helps to pair it with something familiar. You’ve probably seen kale caesar salads popping up everywhere and while it might not be the healthiest option (let’s be real, it’s creamy dressing, croutons, and cheese) it can be a good way to get used to the texture and taste of kale. Once you’ve found a familiar way to enjoy it, you might be more adventurous the next time!
You’re not using the right dressing
Kale is a very bitter green and it needs something to help soften it a bit. An acidic dressing will help break down the fiber in the kale which will make it easier to chew. As I mentioned before, I love using lemon juice and olive oil but it’s also great with white balsamic or apple cider vinegar.
If you’re willing to give kale a chance, here are a few of my favorite recipes: