What Does Kale Taste Like?

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Trying out kale for the first time might be a bit intimidating for some. It doesn’t look like something that would hold a burst of flavor, and it is fair enough to assume that it might taste just like spinach (which is not everyone’s favorite).

Even though you might be nervous to try kale, there are so many great health benefits that it offers, and it really is a great ingredient to include in your diet.

What does kale taste like? Kale tastes like a leafy green but is much heartier lettuce or cabbage. The taste of kale does depend on the variety of kale, and it comes in a few different colors and textures, but generally, it has a bitter and earthy flavor.

The fresh, leafy taste of kale, all of the health benefits it offers, and the fact that you can prepare and cook it in many different ways means that it should become a part of your diet!

What Is Kale?

Kale is a leafy, hearty green with a fairly long stem. Kale comes from the Brassica family, also known as crucifers, which also include cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli.

Much like cabbage, kale leaves can be quite tough, but this also depends on the type of kale.

There are two different types of kale: Brassica oleracea, which consists of smoother leaf kale varieties, and Brassica napus, which are the curlier, more ruffled kale leaf types.

Kale is known to have a thicker stem and thicker veins than most of the other leafy greens, and in mature kale plants, up to 1/3 of the total weight of the kale can be attributed to the stem and ribs.

Beautifully green and leafy, kale boasts some incredible nutrients that would be a great addition to any diet.

What Does Raw Kale Taste Like?

Kale has a fairly distinctive taste, even though it still has that leafy good freshness that other greens in its family have.

The taste of kale can be described as strong and earthy. Eaten raw, the leaves of kale can be tough, crunchy, and quite dry, but with a strong taste. Unlike other greens such as arugula or rocket, kale is not spicy.

The more mature a kale leaf is, the tougher the leaves and the stem will be. Younger kale leaves have softer and thinner leaves and are not as strong tasting.

For this reason, many people choose to chop up young kale and place it into salads, as the taste is much milder and easier to get used to. Those who love the stronger taste of mature kale can prepare it much the same.

Kale adds a fresh and earthy taste to salads and can replace lettuce and other greens quite easily.

For a sweeter kale taste, you could opt for Red Russian kale, which is sweeter than most other kale varieties.

All the different types of kale do have fairly distinctive tastes, so it is worth trying them all to see which one you prefer most!

What Do Baked Kale Chips Taste Like?

Kale chips are a very popular snack for those who are looking for a healthier alternative to crisps and fries.

If you have tried raw kale before, you might be worried that the kale chips might be bitter or too earthy, but the preparation of kale chips actually removes the bitterness from the kale.

The different seasonings added to kale chips also help to reduce the bitter taste and instead give a punch of flavor to the chips.

There are endless seasoning options that kale chips can have, and many people actually choose to make their own kale chips at home so they can season them just the way that they want!

By eating kale chips, you are still getting that ‘chip’ satisfaction, but just on a much healthier level, and you are benefiting from the nutritional benefits that kale has to offer as well.

What Does Kale Taste Like In Smoothies?

Kale is now becoming more commonly used in smoothies in place of other greens, as it adds a huge amount of nutrients and vitamins that some other fruits or veggies just cannot give, and it adds next to no flavor to the smoothie.

As long as you use other ingredients such as fruits, lime, ginger, peanut butter, or whatever else you prefer, you should not taste the kale much as all.

The inclusion of other ingredients overwhelms the taste of the kale, so you are enjoying all of the health benefits without having to have the taste of kale be prominent in your smoothie!

The most that might happen is the smoothie might take on a slight green tinge, but if you can get past this, it will taste wonderful depending on the other fruits, dairies, nuts, and ingredients you use.

What Does Kale Pesto Taste Like?

To pack even more kale goodness into your diet, you could have some kale pesto! Kale pesto contains ingredients such as basil, olive oil, salt, walnuts, and obviously kale, so there are only really good, natural ingredients included.

Kale pesto tastes very similar to normal basil pesto, but it might have a little more of an earthy flavor.

The basil, salt, walnuts, and olive oil do tend to overpower the taste of the kale somewhat, so once again, you can enjoy the great flavor of the other ingredients, but the health benefits from the kale.

Kale pesto can be used in so many different ways. It can be used as a dressing on a salad, as a marinade, or in a vegetable bake or pasta

Sometimes, pine nuts can be used in place of walnuts in kale pesto, but this only changes the taste ever so slightly and it will taste just as good.

How To Make Raw Kale Taste Better

If you are not a fan of raw kale on its own, there are some ways that you can make it taste a whole lot better, and give it more flavor to make it more enjoyable!

Here are some great ways to turn kale into a vegetable that you want to eat often!

Cook The Kale

One of the simplest ways to make kale taste better is to cook it! Kale does very well when it is braised, and it can help soften the leaves, make the flavor milder, and you can add in some extra flavors too.

An easy way to do this is to sauté some chopped shallots and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes. Once soft and fragrant, add in chopped kale to the frying pan and pour over a little bit of vegetable or chicken stock.

Place the lid on the pan and allow the kale to cook down, absorbing all the liquid and flavors as it cooks.

Doing this helps to break down the fibers in the kale, making it much more tender and more enjoyable to eat. The shallots and garlic also balance out the strong earthy notes of the kale.

This can make for a perfect side to many different proteins, or it can even be added to some pasta.

Prepare It Properly

If you are wanting to enjoy the kale raw, but are not the biggest fan of how it tastes just chopped up raw, there is a little secret to getting it to taste much better!

In order to make the kale taste great in salad, and to make it more tender, you could give it a little bit of a massage.

To do this, place the kale in a bowl, add in some olive oil or some lemon juice, and some salt. Using your hands, massage the kale leaves with these ingredients.

This helps the fibers break down, which makes the kale more tender. The kale will also turn a deeper green as you massage it.

Once you notice the kale has become softer and darker in color, add in your other salad ingredients and some dressing and enjoy!

This is sure to become your go-to way to prepare kale for a salad, as it just makes it so much tastier, and the olive oil and salt, or lemon juice and salt, rubbed into the kale is just delicious!

Make Kale Chips

Kale chips don’t have to be bought from the store—you can easily make them at home to create a healthy snack or side dish that really is quite delicious!

To make kale chips, you should chop up kale to the appropriate chip size, and massage the kale with a little bit of olive oil and seasoning of your choice.

Spread these onto a baking sheet, making sure there aren’t too many packed in there, and bake them at a low temperature, around 300°F, for between 10-15 minutes.

Overloading the baking sheet with too much kale will result in them steaming each other, which will not give them the crispy finish that you would want.

You can play around with different flavors and seasonings to find one that you like best, and the kale chips can even be chopped up and added as a topping to other dishes for added texture!

Common Types Of Kale

There are quite a few kale varieties, but Curly Kale, Red Russian Kale, and Tuscan Kale are the most popular around. Here is a little bit about each so you know which one to pick out from the store!

Curly Kale

Curly kale, as suggested by the name, has curly leaves, which are blue-green if the kale is mature and fresh. You can pick Curly Kale out quite easily but just having a look at the extremely curly leaves.

This type of kale is quite difficult to eat raw as the leaves are quite tough, but if chopped up small enough, it is fine to eat.

Curly Kale is also great when cooked up, and can take on different aromatics and flavors easily for more flavor. Cooking this kale also helps to tenderize it a bit to make it easier to eat.

Red Russian Kale

Red Russian Kale is also known as Ragged Jack. This kale has green-grey leaves with beautiful dark purple veins and stems. Once again, this kale is pretty easy to pick out in the store just by looking at the colors alone.

Many people choose to grow Red Russian Kale in their garden, as it is fairly easy to grow. The leaves turn a darker green when it is cooked, but it can be enjoyed raw as well.

When eating Red Russian Kale raw, it is better to do so with younger leaves, as mature leaves can be bitter and not so enjoyable.

Tuscan Kale

Tuscan Kale is also known as Lacinto, Dinosaur, or Nero Kale. The leaves of Tuscan Kale are puckered, and can grow big, up to 2 feet long!

This kale grows really well and can produce new leaves every week. It grows great in most climates, through heat and winter, and is a very hardy plant.

Tuscan Kale has a mild flavor, which makes it ideal for salads and for adding to smoothies. The mild flavor makes it a good option for those who are trying out kale for the first time.

How To Properly Store Kale

When buying kale from the store, or picking it fresh from the garden, it does help to know how to properly store it to ensure it stays fresher for longer.

Here is how to store kale at home:

  • Remove any labels, ties, or bands from the leaves.
  • Wrap the kale loosely in a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.
  • Place the wrapped kale into a plastic bag that is suitable to be kept in the fridge.
  • Put the kale into the vegetable crisper draw in the fridge.
  • Make sure to use the kale within 3 days of purchase, to avoid a bitter taste.

Using the kale before it matures too much will ensure that it does not become too bitter and that it has a milder taste that is more enjoyable to eat!

What Does Kale Taste Like?

Kale has an earthy, strong taste that many people do enjoy.

However, if you are one of the people who do not enjoy the earthy, slightly bitter taste of kale, but still want to benefit from its great nutrients, there are many different ways to prepare kale to alter the taste and make it more palatable.

Kale has so many health benefits and is something that should be included in every diet. Try out kale and the different ways to prepare it to find the best way to include it in your diet!

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over the flavor of kale as well as some of the best ways to prepare it, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

Is kale sweet or bitter?

Kale can be either sweet or bitter depending on the variety. How sweet or bitter kale is will also depend on whether it is still young or mature.

Most often, kale becomes more bitter as it matures, so the younger leaves are milder in taste and better suited to being served in salads.

What is the best way to eat kale?

The best way to eat kale to enjoy all of its healthy nutrients, without losing any through cooking, is to eat it raw, chopped up in a salad, or blend it into a smoothie with other nutritional ingredients.

However, you can still enjoy many great health benefits from kale by cooking it. It is better to cook and eat kale than not eat it at all!

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