I swore I’d never pick up a bunch of kale or chard again after my summer battle with a CSA box. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the weekly box, but it nearly cost me my sanity.
Let me explain. I was pregnant for the third time the summer of 2011. Maybe I felt that between the job, two kids, and a husband who likes to leave his dirty socks and towels on the floor I needed a little more work. So I ordered a CSA box. No clue what that is? Click here.
“Lovely”, “Fresh veggies!”, “All summer long!”….you may think all of these things, and you would be severely misled. The people who can handle the onslaught of a CSA box for 22 straight weeks either have 1) an army of angry vegan men at home who demand a sustainably-grown dinner every night, 2) several hours (times ten) of free time to lovingly wash, prep, store and cook a large box of dirt-caked vegetables every week, or 3) an insane desire to make truckloads of vegetarian lasagna.
I was shoehorned into the third category, but not by choice. It was the only meal I could make on a mass-produced scale to use up the mountain of chard and kale that landed on my doorstep every Tuesday. It was like whack-a-mole meets Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.
Before I start to sound ungrateful, let me concede that it was one of the more satisfying projects I’ve ever undertaken in the kitchen. But I was totally overwhelmed. Maybe it was that I was too accustomed to Whole Foods sanitizing my veggies with a firehose before they land on the shelves. Or that I just had too much going on at work. Or that I GAVE BIRTH that summer and could have used a little less time on my feet. Like someone who pigs out on pizza and can never hear the word again, I thought my relationship with kale was forever doomed.
But who was I kidding? Because kale is life changing, perfection, despite having to dig those little green bits out of your teeth afterwards. There is a reason that the Chicago Sun Times recently reported that “kale is the new bacon.” And can’t we all agree that everyone loves bacon? Even if you say you don’t, we know you’re lying.
Not only is kale a superfood, packed with antioxidants, including 206% the recommended daily dose of vitamin A, but it also tastes great and can be used in just about any recipe you can dream up.
Like this lemony and light weeknight pasta, which takes nothing more than dressing your kale like a salad, tossing in some pasta, and adding a fistful of shaved pecorino. I’d better watch out – if kale makes it too easy on me I might spring for that CSA box again.
- 1 bunch curly kale, washed and dried
- 1.5 teaspoons of salt, plus more for salting the pasta water
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, omitting if your kids are eating it
- Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 Tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice or to taste
- 1 lb spaghetti
- ¼ cup pecorino, finely shredded (I like to use a microplane)
- Take the ribs out of your curly kale, take the ribs out, and then finely shred (I just cut them horizontally to make thin strips).
- Add the kale to a bowl and add the 1 teaspoon of salt (don’t salt too much here as the pecorino is salty, and you can always add more later), black pepper, olive oil and lemon juice, and red pepper flakes.
- Toss the kale with the dressing and put it off to the side while you cook your pasta. Letting it sit for a while in the vinaigrette will help it soften a little.
- While your kale is softening, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Make sure your water is salty like the sea!
- When boiling, add your spaghetti and cook according to the box directions until it’s done (generally few minutes).
- When pasta is done, reserve a cup of the cooking water, and then drain the pasta.
- Add the pasta to the bowl with the kale, and toss together.
- To moisten, add some of the pasta cooking water to the pasta, a few tablespoons at a time.
- Add most of your shredded cheese to the dish, and toss.
- Add the rest of the cheese to the top and serve.
I have never really liked Kale and the aftertaste..:I usually just juice with it. But you may have convinced me to give it a try…again!
And I’m the opposite, I love to eat it but don’t love it in juice. I’ll force myself to drink the occasional green juice, but definitely not my favorite way to get my greens 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
What a great recipe. We live in the country and grow a ton of veggies – no need for mail order. My husband’s all agricultural-ish and I do the cooking. I am stoked about trying this recipe. Got anything for swiss chard?
Thanks Lisa, you’re lucky! You could probably try swiss chard in this recipe and get similar results. Also I do a creamed spinach and parsnips dish every year for thanksgiving, and this year I used rainbow chard in place of the spinach. It was heavenly- you can get the recipe on this post: http://fighting99.wpengine.com/2013/11/18/the-one-and-only-guide-to-cooking-thanksgiving-dinner/
I love chard in lasagna too- have done veggie lasagnas where one or more layers was wilted greens.
Thanks for stopping by!
Pinning this! I am just starting to like kale. Visiting from SITS.
Awesome, you can doctor it up as much as you want, someone on FB told me she put garlic and chiles in it. Hope you like it 🙂
This looks great! I’ve been wanting to try kale. Congrats on being featured on SITS today!
Thanks so much, my SITS day was fun, definitely check out kale, you’re missing out if you haven’t tried it!
I must admit I have never tried kale before and to combine it with lemon would have NEVER crossed my mine…but reading this receipt and seeing those pictures is making me wonder if I should change my mind…
Go for it, I love lemon in pasta, my husband accuses me of putting it pasta way too often, but it’s so good. And try kale, it’s so healthy and you can eat it raw or cooked.
Visiting your from The SITS Girls. I love kale, and, although I’m vegan, I can appreciate just how tasty that recipe is! Congratulations on being featured on SITS!
I’m vegan this month too 🙂 Doing it as part of a Jan cleanse. This dish is totally vegan-friendly, just eliminate the cheese on top- you could add another topping like breadcrumbs toasted in olive oil- check out this post I did on that technique, I use it all the time: http://fighting99.wpengine.com/2013/10/28/breadcrumbs-arent-birds/
This sounds delicious – and so nutritious! I’m a recent convert to kale but am loving the search for new recipes using this anti-oxident powerhouse. Thanks for adding another to my files! Happy SITS Day!
Hope you like it! I’m obsessed with kale as well- just loaded up on a bunch for my vegan cleanse this month.
This looks wonderful! I’ve been wanting to introduce some more meatless meals into our dinners and this seems like a great option. Especially in the summer! Happy SITS Day!
Thanks Kimberly, hopefully you’ll like it, let me know how it goes!
This dish looks yummy, I’ll definitely try this 🙂