Thursday, March 5

How Red Kale Will Help You Look Like a Smart Shopper

curried red kale soup

It happens every week. As I'm selecting my Swiss chard, kale, or collards, someone inevitably sidles up to me and asks, "What do you do with that?" Then after I share a recipe idea, she usually follows up with, "To me, they're all the same."

No wonder people get confused. Every time you go to the supermarket all the winter greens are mixed together in one big, undivided, forest green section, with seemingly randomly placed signs and prices scattered above and below them. It's like a game: Match the green on the left column with the correct name and price on the right column. Chances are you probably just select the green that your mom made when you were growing up because it's the one you actually know how to cook.

Well here's a tip that will make you look like a savvy supermarket shopper. Buy red kale. It's the one winter green that you can always correctly identify. Red kale has red tinged curly, oak shaped leaves with a dramatic purple vein down the center. There's no mistaking it for collards.

So next time you're at the greens section and everyone else is desperately trying to figure out what's what, casually stroll over, pluck a head of brightly colored red kale off the shelf and place it in your cart. Don't hesitate or glance up at the signs. Stay cool. Then head to the check out aisle. Mission accomplished.

red kale red

Red kale is a type of Russian kale that is super high in vitamins K, A, and C and may even help prevent cancer. Unlike other members of the brassica family, such as green dinosaur kale and mustard greens, red kale's flavor is more sweet than bitter, and its leaves are more tender. Red kale can be eaten raw in salads or it can be steamed, boiled, or sauteed. If you have a small refrigerator and don't want to take up half a shelf with a bunch of kale, then par-boil it and store it in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.

Curried Red Lentil, Chickpea, and Red Kale Soup
This healthy Indian-inspired red lentil soup is enticingly aromatic and flavorful. Top it with a garnish of toasted coconut and chopped peanuts for a little crunch.

Makes 4-6 bowls
Print recipe only here.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 bunch red kale, center stalks removed, and finely chopped (about 2 packed cups)
1 cup red lentils
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 (15 oz) can light coconut milk
2 teaspoons hot curry powder
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
several shakes of salt, to taste

1/4 cup lightly toasted unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery; sauté until golden, about 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add kale; boil for 2-3 minutes, then drain. (This will make it more tender). Add drained kale, lentils, chickpeas, and broth to the carrot mixture; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 12-15 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Pour half of the lentil mixture into a blender; let stand for 5 minutes (so the soup will cool and not cause the cover to pop off!). Pour pureed lentil mixture into a bowl, and repeat process with the remaining half. Once the soup is blended, return to the pan; add coconut milk, spices, ginger, and salt; stir well. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated through. Remove from heat; season to taste with salt. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with toasted coconut and peanuts.

You might also like these belly warming soups:

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

New England Clam Chowder

Here are more delicious soups:

Andrea's Spicy Red Lentil and Tomato Soup
Burcu's Red Lentil Soup with Couscous
Kalyn's Autumn Harvest Soup
Kickpleat's Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

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Kara said...

Thanks for the primer on greens... I am definitely a novice in that area. Your soups always look so great - and just in time before the weather really warms up (at least here on the east coast).

Michelle said...

Indian soups and stews have been a big part of our winter meals! This one looks great. Me, I'm more of a dinosaur kale girl, but willing to try other kale varieties from time to time. My other fave: dandelion greens :-)

Chris said...

I have to admit that I didn't even know red kale existed! (I always lumped dinosaur, red, etc. into the umbrella "kale" category). Thanks for the great info - I'll be on the lookout next time! :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A comforting, healthy and flavorful soup! Ideal during the wintertime...



Anonymous said...

Lovely soup - this might be a project for that tub of yellow mustard seeds in the cupboard that are as yet untouched.

My question prompting "what do you do with that" grocery ingredient is quinoa - it still doesn't seem to be catching on all that quickly in the UK

Rita said...

Once I was stopped on the street by a man wanting to know how I would cook the bunch of collards that was sticking out from my grocery bag....

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan! How are you? Your soup looks beautiful. The spices in it are right up my alley :)
Take care!
Maryann xox

Karen said...

I like the addition of the coconut milk to this. Looks so healthy!

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

Thanks for the recipe and to tell you the truth, I always pass the kale at the grocery not knowing what to do with kale. Beautiful soup.

Manggy said...

Oh! I would have thought they were more bitter. Thanks for the tip! The soup looks really good, and probably great frozen and reheated too :)

Unknown said...

oh, so that is called red kale? they grow like mad in our garden, self-seeding! i usually just use it for salad, a bit bitter, but it's just for the goodness it's carried, I suppose :) interesting idea using it for soup. should try that one out.

Anonymous said...

What a tasty looking soup! Lovely!!

michaela said...

i've become a fan of kale and have also posted a couple of kale soups lately.

Heather said...

ohhh. kale, lentil and curry?! what a wonderful combo. beautiful pics, too!

Kalyn Denny said...

I love Red Russian Kale, and I was a bit of a slacker about completely removing it from the garden, so I'm hoping it might re-seed for this year. The sounds sounds completely fabulous. I'd love to have this for dinner any night!

MeloMeals said...

that soup sounds fabulous!

I laughed out loud while reading this post because EVERY time I shop, people ask me what I do with my ingredients... in fact, that is why years ago, I decided to teach cooking classes.

Jaime said...

you're so right - i can never tell them apart either!!! :P what a wonderful looking soup

Elyse said...

What a great tip! And this soup look so delicious. I love soups. They are so perfect for the winter season. Yum!

Culinary Wannabe said...

And I thought I was the only one! The other day I was at the store and was asking the produce guy about which green was which and he didn't even know.

Suzana said...

My only complain about this soup is that I can't have it for lunch right now. Looks so comfy and appropriate for the rainy day I have today!;)

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

Kale and collards are all greens I see on so many blogs, but they're not available here. Though different types of lettuce are visible at my market these day.

But we have our own types of tropical greens, most of which are sold to us,at our doorstep, fresh from the farms.:)

Anonymous said...

Kale and soup are good friends in this household, but I've always used the kale in clear soups. Curry, lentils and coconut milk? Be still my heart! I will certainly give this one a go!

♥Rosie♥ said...

Your soup look so delicious and such a healthy soup too!!

Rosie x

Katie Zeller said...

I need to figure out more greens here... There aren't as many, and some are totally unfamiliar to me. And I need more winter greens!

Coffee and Vanilla said...

This soup sounds really good, I must admit I have never tried kale... One of those things on my list to try :)
I posted first recipe "stollen" from Jamaica today... I plan to make patties tomorrow and some more things later this week. I wish I had easier access to some of the ingredients that are really hard to find here... I spend all day today looking for annatto seeds, with no result.
Anyway, enjoy your weekend, Margot

Cris said...

That looks terribly good Susan. So here's one more recipe for you to try with kale next time they ask you... :-) Caldo verde , a portuguese kale soup with potatoes and chorizo.

Cynthia said...

I am yet to experience eating Kale.

debra said...

Kale sauteed with olive oil and garlic is a slice of heaven!

Anonymous said...

Kale always makes me nervous. I have only used it as a garnish, but that soup looks amazing. I really have to try this!

Scribbit said...

Oh sounds good--they plant kale here in the medians with the begonias and dahlias every summer. As a decorative thing but it always looks strange to me and I wonder how the moose don't eat them.


this sounds great--and GLUTEN FREE. (btw, i was born in newport, ri.)

Nic said...

Great post! I must look out for it next time I'm shopping.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

kara-It's my pleasure!

michelle-I love dandelion greens too, salads.

chris-Happy hunting!

rosa-Thank you!

sophie-Oh, yes, quinoa. I still get those too. :)

rita-That's too funny!

maryann-Hey, my dear! Thanks.

karen-Thank you!

helene-Now you'll know next time. :)

mark-It is great reheated.

sweetiepie-Many thanks!

michaela-I'll have to check them out.

heather-It was really tasty.

kalyn-Oh, that would be lucky!

melody-You're a smart cookie!

jaime-I know!

elyse-Thank you so much!

cwannabe-Seriously?! Too funny.

suzana-I'll take that complaint. :)

aparna-Really? That's too bad.

louise-I hope you like it!

rosie-Thank you!

katiez-We've got plenty here for ya. ;)

margot-Really? You've gotta try it.

chris-That sounds wonderfully hearty.

cythia-I hope that changes soon!

debra-Love it!

chuck-It's really good. I hope you give it a go.

michelle-Not many people could leave a comment like, "I wonder how the moose don't eat them" ;)

not martha-You're a native RI too? Yay!

nic-Hope you find some.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I had never tried kale and fell in love with it this summer when I got it from the CSA. I would make a meal out of a quick sautee. It was delicious!

Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

My problem isn't so much identifying winter greens--it's remembering to buy them! Which is a shame, because they're so good and good for you. Thanks for the beautiful reminder, Susan.

Heather said...

your secret about never having a martini is safe with me!! ;)

happy daylight savings day, susan :)

Wendy said...

Feel healthier just looking at this soup. :)

Ivy said...

I am not sure if we have kales in Greece but the soup sounds perfect.

bee said...

i've been cooking kale every week for the past few weeks. just love it. your recipe looks really hearty and healthy.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

tw-I love it like that too. Especially with some toasted bread on the side.

terry-You're welcome.


wendy-As, that's nice.

ivy-Hmmm...I don't know either!

bee-Thank you so much!