Excuse me, is this kale on my pizza?
I didn’t actually ask the question. I knew there was kale on my pizza. I ordered it that way.
So, as I munch a slice of vegan kale mushroom pizza—which tastes better than it sounds—I ponder my strange relationship with this tenacious vegetable.
I hate the 90s nutritionist who decided this tough, stringy, bitter leaf was a grand way to pump up important minerals. Kinda like spinach, only better, or so the health blogs write. Besides, no one ever gets E. coli from kale.
My husband once ate kale smoothies for days. Then he got diverticulitis and blamed kale. You know, that logic where A and B, so therefore C. Now he’s preserving his gut health by avoiding kale. Unless I sneak it in. Which I do, because, well, green stuff.
Sometimes I love it, eating bowls of massaged kale leaves with gusto or polishing off expensive bags of kale chips smothered in ground sunflower seeds, oil, and salt. Yum. I’ll throw a handful in a nice minestrone and sometimes green up our morning smoothies with a leaf or two. And, order it up on pizza. Not bad, actually, crispy.
The only vegetable that grows with stubborn resilience in my tiny potted garden is, you guessed it, kale. A plant or two out there’s older than my dog. I just keep yanking off leaves and the ever-present kale pops out another leaf, no matter how many slugs or birds yank chunks away. Will kale be the post-apocalyptic veg of choice? Some ground-roasted cockroach over your artisanal kale chips, my dear?
I searched kale recipes on Elephant Journal. The most popular didn’t include kale until the end. Opening with “vegan” or “kale” is death to a recipe apparently. It’s like a nice mom offering an ugly casserole and saying, “Well, at least it’s healthy!” Most popular recipes start with, “Delicious” and “Quinoa.” My husband laughs and shakes his head, “How can anyone use the word delicious and kale in the same breath? Isn’t that like saying, “Arnold Schwarzenegger and tender in the same sentence?”
Sorry, back to kale.
Indulging in a $7 dollar bag of kale chips hurts my heart, so I decided to give making my own kale chips a try.
>> Since I only have 10 holey leaves left in my winter garden, I buy a bunch of organic kale at the neighborhood co-op.
>> I pick up bulk sunflower seeds, almond meal, olive oil, garlic, and salt. That’s it.
>> I massage those leaves with all the strength I can muster, dust with the seeds, nuts, (grind up the seeds with the garlic and salt) roast 40 minutes at 325 Fahrenheit, and voila, chips!
Okay, that’s stretching it. Crunchy, slightly nutty leaves! Not bad. And I only spent about $10! Upside, this pan of roasted vegetable matter will last two to three days.
I’ll eat all of it to protect my husband from diverticulitis. I’m just that kind of gal.