How many times did you hear someone tell you “try it, it’s healthy! It’s good for you!”? I bet you heard it a thousand times. And then you challenge yourself and give it try and…most of the times you regret you did. There is a reason it’s healthy, you say to yourself…
To me it happened with kale. First time I tried it, the kale was raw in a salad with feta cheese. The kale was fibrous and had a strong leafy flavor. But since its “good for you”, I decided to take control on the flavor and came up with this great and healthy recipe that is both good for you AND tastes great.
Kale is a kind of wild cabbage that comes in different shapes of leaves (curly, purple, narrow and long). So if it tastes like a cabbage and looks like a cabbage, why not treat it like a cabbage and create a stuffed cabbage-like recipe, using Kale? Guys and gals, once you tried this version of kale, you will add this to your recipes book.
What’s good about this dish: it tastes great (seriously, we loved it), very healthy due to the ingredients, and it’s vegetarian. The down side is it takes some time for the preparations, but it’s very much worth it. Ready?
Preparation: 45 minutes, Cooking time: 45 minutes, 5 servings (2 stuffed kales per serving)
12 Large fresh kale leaves (or 20 medium)
1 Cup of quinoa, drained after being in water for an hour
½ Cup of chopped shiitake mushrooms (if you are using dry, first soak them, then chop them)
½ Cup of roughly chopped toasted unsalted pistachios
½ Cup of chopped parsley, leaves only
2 Cups of vegetable stock
1 Tbsp. of chopped fresh ginger
2 Onions, chopped
2 Cups of vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. of salt
½Tbsp. of black pepper
¼ Tbsp. ground nutmeg
[Improvising options: Kale--> Cabbage (the leaves need a different treatment though | Quinoa → white rice | Shiitake → any type of mushrooms | Ginger → Garlic | Parsley → mint/basil/chives | Pistachios --> Peanuts]
Prepare a big bowl with lots of ice water. Boil a pot with water, once boiled, hold a few leaves from the bottom of the stem and dip them all the way for 10 seconds, then move the leaves directly to the ice water for a minute or so to stop the cooking process. This will keep the kale green and vital. Now we want to remove the rough steam from the kale. Drain the kale and lay it on the cutting board, then cut the stem out with your knife from each side of the stem. Do that to all leafs and pile them.
In a pot, use 1 tbsp. of olive oil on medium heat to sauté the onions until they become somewhat transparent, it will take about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and pistachio, some salt and pepper, and stir for another 2 minutes. Then add the quinoa and the parsley and stir again. Add ½ cup of the vegetable stock to help the quinoa with the first cook, since it will get fully cooked after we roll the kale. Once the stock got soaked in the quinoa, remove the pot from the heat and allow to chill for few minutes.
Lay the kale on a working surface; pile 1-2 tbsp. of the quinoa on the leaf right above where you cut the stem off.
Fold the top to the inside, then the sides, then roll all the way.
Arrange the stuffed leaf so that it sits on the edge (so it doesn’t open up while cooking). It shouldn’t be a tight wrap since the quinoa doubles its size with the cooking.
Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to a pot and add the ginger and onions.
After a few minutes on medium heat, arrange the stuffed kales close to each other, add the vegetable stock with some salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Cover and cook on a low heat for about 40 minutes, and it’s ready. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy.