Put time into dinner now, and you can make it last forever -- or at least the whole week. Welcome to Halfway to Dinner, where we show you how to stretch your staples -- or your seasonal produce -- every which way.
Some say kale is just a fad and that its time in the spotlight is coming to an end, and it's true: Underseasoned, massaged kale salads have saturated menus and overstayed their welcome. But I'd argue that this hearty green actually has the versatility and gumption to prove its longevity in the kitchen, and these five recipes -- which highlight kale in five totally different ways -- support that. For me, kale -- especially the much more palatable lacinato variety -- is here to stay.
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Banana Mango Green Smoothie Bowls with Hemp Seeds and Sprouts I tend to drink the same green smoothie everyday, but when that started to get boring, I started experimenting. Turns out that the combination of using a new vessel and adding different topping combinations made eating smoothies fun again. They're also incredibly easier to make: Combine kale, fruit, hemp seeds, micro greens, and almond milk in a blender. Your morning will thank you.
Barbecue Quinoa, Kale, and Corn Veggie Burger Really good barbecue sauce makes everything taste amazing, right? The kale, quinoa, corn, and barbecue sauce here are so good together, especially in the summer months (In the winter, opt for frozen corn). Simply toss the quinoa, kale, and corn together with an egg and some flour to hold it all together in a patty, then bake them. They're great year round too -- I make these burgers in large batches and freeze them uncooked for easy dinners when I'm short on time.
Winter Chopped Kale Salad with Oranges and a Zesty Citrus Vinaigrette Kale salad, as we mentioned above, can often be boring with a side of lackluster. The trick to a really good kale salad is a kick-ass dressing and a lot of hands-on love and attention. Don't be afraid to get in there—massaging the kale is key: It not only improves its texture, but it also helps break down the cellulose structure of plant, which makes it easier for your body to digest it.
Creamy Broccoli Fennel Soup with Kale and Meyer Lemon Zest This soup is seriously rich, in a non-dairy, plant-based kind of way. It's my go-to bowl of goodness whenever I'm craving something savory, decadent, and comforting. To make it, roast broccoli and fennel, then blend it with kale and some cashew cream. Warm or chilled, a small bowl of this will do you good.
Classic Beans and Greens Tacos I really love being in the kitchen -- it soothes every inch of my soul. My favorite thing to do after a long day is pour myself a glass of red wine, put on some tunes, zone out, and cook. But let's face it, some nights I don't have hours -- or even a half hour -- to cook, and these tacos have saved me countless times. Making them doesn't involve any fancy creams, sauces, or cooking methods. All it takes are some high-quality spices, a beautiful bunch of lacinato kale, and twenty minutes: First cook the kale, black beans, and spices in a pan with water until the moisture has evaporated, then add toppings to serve. These classic tacos are my standbys -- they also happen to be naturally gluten-free and vegan.
For the tacos:
3 tablespoons olive oil 3 garlic cloves, minced 3 cups lacinato kale, ribboned 2 cups kidney, black, or pinto beans 1 tablespoon chili powder 1/4 teaspoon cumin 1/4 teaspoon coriander 1/2 cup filtered water 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the fixings:
8 soft corn tortillas 1/2 cup raw onions, diced 1 avocado, sliced Your favorite hot sauce
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).
Sher Castellano is the plant-based chef, endometriosis advocate and former health coach behind the award winning blog With Food + Love. Sher creates anti-inflammatory recipes to help you feel better, and explores topics of chronic illness with her honest writings. With Food + Love was a finalist in the 2015 Saveur Magazine Food Blog Awards, and has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Buzzfeed, Food and Wine, MindBodyGreen, Oprah Magazine, Self Magazine, Shape Magazine, Urban Outfitters and Vegetarian Times amongst others. Sher was born and raised on the East Coast, but now calls Dallas home.