Kale is really good for you. You knew that, of course; but have you tried [cooking with] it? My daughter and I love kale. The boys in the house could do without it. But since I am the one shopping and cooking, I say tough luck.

There are several varieties of kale, but I prefer the Lacinato or “Dinosaur" variety, as I personally think it's the easiest to prepare. When prepping kale, wash the leaves individually, front and back, checking for anything clinging to the backs. Kale has a tough stem and center stalk, which you will want to remove before cooking. If you are working with Lacinato kale, then you can simply grasp the stem with one hand, and place the other hand so that you have two fingers on either side of the stalk, cupping the base of the leaf. Then squeeze your fingers together and pull the leaf through your hand, ripping the both sides of the leaf off as you go. With other varieties, you may want to use a sharp knife to remove the stalk.

The most favored recipe for kale in my house is a salty-crisp kale topping for roast sweet potatoes. It is probably also the easiest to prepare. Hooray for that!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Kale Topping

  • Sweet potatoes - 2-3 medium, or as many as you think your family will eat (think leftovers)
  • Kale - 1 bunch
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Preheat oven to 400 F.
  • Wash and peel sweet potatoes (unless the skin is in good condition), and cut into chunks with a sharp heavy knife. Smaller pieces will cook faster.
  • Place in a roasting pan and toss with olive oil and salt.
  • Place uncovered pan in center of oven and set timer for 25 minutes (remember, smaller pieces cook faster, larger longer.)
  • Wash kale leaves, shake off or drain most the water, and then remove stems/tough center stalk.
  • Lay out your ‘filleted’ kale leaves on a cutting board and chop them into smallish pieces, say 1"x2" or so.
  • When the timer goes off/the sweet potatoes are almost done (a fork pierces them easily, and they have perhaps lightly browned), take the pan out of the oven.
  • Spread the kale over the top, drizzle with more olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
  • Place pan back in the oven and roast for another 5-8 minutes, or until the kale is dark and crispy.
  • Serve and enjoy!
I hope you love this as much as I do—for taste, for ease, for its high nutritional value, and for popularity at the table. I personally serve this at least once a week, and it makes great leftovers (just put it back into a warm oven, uncovered). And after you experience the ease and yumminess of roasting for vegetables, you may start experimenting with other veggies. (My experience: all things are improved by roasting!)