How to Cook Kale With Stems?

Are you looking to elevate your cooking skills and make the most out of every ingredient? Look no further than Chris Poormet’s guide on cooking with kale stems.

We will explore the nutritional benefits of kale, how to prepare it for cooking, and whether or not you should remove the stems.

Delve into different cooking methods for kale stems and find some delicious recipes to try. So, let’s get cooking with kale stems!

Key Takeaways:

  • Kale stems are a nutritious and versatile part of the vegetable that can be cooked in a variety of ways.
  • Boiling, sautéing, roasting, and steaming are all great methods for cooking kale stems.
  • Kale stems can be used in recipes such as pesto, soup, and chips, adding extra flavor and nutrition to your dishes.
  • Who is Chris Poormet?

    Who is Chris Poormet? - How to Cook Kale With Stems?

    Credits: Poormet.Com – Roger Young

    Chris Poormet, the owner of, is a renowned culinary blogger who earned the prestigious title of Culinary Blogger of the Year. With a background as a former chef excelling in food photography, Chris has cultivated a loyal following through his recipes and culinary tips.

    Chris’s journey as a chef began in his family’s kitchen, where he developed a deep passion for creating delectable dishes. His expertise in food photography added a unique visual appeal to his culinary creations, captivating audiences worldwide. His blog, filled with mouth-watering recipes and captivating imagery, quickly gained popularity among food enthusiasts. As a testament to his culinary skills, Chris’s innovative approach to blending flavors and textures has not only earned him accolades as a chef but has also elevated his status as a top culinary influencer.

    What is Kale?

    Kale is a versatile leafy vegetable celebrated for its myriad of culinary applications. From its nutrient-rich leaves to its sturdy stems, kale offers a spectrum of textures and flavors that can be enhanced through various cooking methods.

    In terms of nutritional benefits, kale truly shines as a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Packed with fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, and a host of other essential nutrients, kale is a go-to choice for health-conscious individuals looking to boost their overall well-being.

    Its robust texture makes it an excellent candidate for everything from salads to soups, stir-fries, and smoothies. Whether wilted down to tenderness in a hot pan or left raw for added crunch in a salad, kale adapts to different cooking techniques effortlessly.

    Kale’s health benefits extend beyond its nutrient profile. Studies suggest that regular consumption of kale may contribute to improved heart health, lowered cholesterol levels, and even reduced risk of certain chronic diseases.

    What Are the Nutritional Benefits of Kale?

    Kale boasts an impressive array of nutritional benefits, making it a powerhouse of essential nutrients like fiber and vitamins. Its versatile nature allows it to be incorporated into sweet and spicy dishes, adding a delightful crunch and a healthy twist to meals.

    In terms of fiber content, kale is a true standout. This leafy green is packed with roughage that aids digestion and contributes to overall gut health. Kale is rich in vitamin C, promoting a strong immune system, and vitamin K, crucial for bone health.

    Its low-calorie profile makes it perfect for those looking to maintain a healthy weight. Kale’s adaptability shines in a variety of dishes, from smoothies and salads to stir-fries and soups. Whether raw, steamed, or baked, kale’s nutritional value remains intact, offering a delicious way to elevate any meal.

    How to Prepare Kale for Cooking?

    Preparing kale for cooking involves various techniques such as sautéing, roasting, or grilling to bring out its unique flavors and textures. Whether one is crafting a refreshing salad, a hearty soup, or a flavorful side dish, kale shines when paired with ingredients like olive oil and garlic.

    For sautéing kale, start by heating olive oil in a pan, then add minced garlic and red pepper flakes for a flavorful base. Toss in washed and chopped kale leaves, stirring occasionally until they are wilted to perfection.

    Roasting kale involves tossing the leaves with olive oil, salt, and pepper before spreading them on a baking sheet and baking at a high temperature until crispy.

    Grilling kale adds a smoky flavor – simply brush the leaves with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill until lightly charred.

    Experiment with incorporating cooked kale in stir-fries, pasta dishes, or even as a topping for pizza to explore its versatility in various cuisines.

    Should Kale Stems Be Removed?

    When considering whether to remove kale stems, the decision hinges on personal preference and desired texture. While the stems may add a hint of extra fiber and crunch, removing them can result in a more tender and water-rich kale, perfect for creating sweeter and healthier dishes with a drizzle of olive oil.

    It’s important to note that leaving the kale stems on can contribute to a chewier texture, giving a satisfying crunch in salads or stir-fries. For those seeking a softer consistency, taking the time to strip the stems can yield a more delicate mouthfeel. This removal of the stems not only impacts the texture but also plays a crucial role in how the kale absorbs flavors during cooking, allowing spices and seasonings to penetrate more effectively.

    How to Cook Kale Stems?

    Cooking kale stems opens up a realm of possibilities, from boiling for a tender texture to sautéing for added flavor depth. Whether you prefer the caramelized notes from roasting or the simplicity of steaming, kale stems can elevate dishes like salads and soups with the right seasonings like garlic and salt.

    When boiling kale stems, ensure you cut them into even-sized pieces for uniform cooking. Boiling helps soften the toughness of the stems, making them perfect for stir-fries or pasta dishes.

    Sautéing kale stems in olive oil can add a crispy texture and enhance their natural earthy taste. For a savory twist, consider adding soy sauce and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

    Roasting kale stems with olive oil, salt, and rosemary can create a delectable side dish with a crunchy exterior and a tender interior.

    Boiling Kale Stems

    Boiling kale stems is a simple yet effective method to achieve a tender consistency, ideal for integrating them into dishes like pasta or grain salads. The process involves submerging the stems in water and infusing them with flavors like olive oil and garlic for enhanced taste.

    Once the kale stems are cleaned and trimmed, they are cut into manageable pieces before being placed into a pot of boiling water. The key is to cook them until they reach a desired tenderness, usually around 10-15 minutes, depending on personal preference.

    Drizzling them with a good quality olive oil and sautéed garlic not only adds richness but also complements the natural earthy flavors of the kale. This step not only enhances the overall taste but also ensures the stems are well-seasoned for a delicious outcome.

    Sautéing Kale Stems

    Sautéing kale stems infuses them with a rich aroma and a delightful crunch, perfect for incorporating into dishes like fried rice. By seasoning the stems with garlic, salt, and pepper during the sautéing process, you can elevate the flavors of the dish.

    When sautéing kale stems, the heat helps to release the flavors locked within, creating a mouthwatering experience. The garlic adds a robust taste, while the salt and pepper bring out the natural essence of the greens. The sizzling sound of the stems in the pan indicates the perfect texture coming along. Incorporating these seasoned and sautéed kale stems into fried rice not only adds depth but also a wonderful contrast of textures. Consider using this technique in various dishes like stir-fries, omelets, or even pasta for an innovative twist and enhanced flavor profile.

    Roasting Kale Stems

    Roasting kale stems imparts a crispy exterior and a creamy interior, creating an ideal base for dips and spreads.

    In terms of seasoning these delectable roasted kale stems, one can experiment with a myriad of flavor combinations. A sprinkle of parmesan cheese post-roasting adds a salty kick, while a drizzle of balsamic glaze enhances the sweetness. For those craving a touch of heat, a pinch of red pepper flakes does the trick.

    The beauty of roasted kale stems lies in their versatility – from being served as a standalone snack to being incorporated into vibrant salads or served alongside grilled meats. Pairing them with a creamy avocado dip or a tangy lemon aioli elevates their taste, making them a crowd-pleasing party appetizer or a wholesome side dish for any meal.

    Steaming Kale Stems

    Steaming kale stems preserves their natural flavors and nutrients, making them an excellent addition to soups or braised dishes.

    The quick steaming process not only enhances the flavor of the kale stems but also helps in maintaining their nutritional value, ensuring that they are a healthy choice for a variety of dishes. This method of cooking kale stems is particularly beneficial for quick recipes such as stir-fries or salads, where you want to preserve the crunchiness and freshness of the stems. Pairing steamed kale stems with ingredients like garlic, lemon, or chili flakes can elevate the taste profile of the dish, adding a burst of flavor and texture.

    What Are Some Recipes That Use Kale Stems?

    Unlock the culinary potential of kale stems with innovative recipes that showcase their unique flavors and textures. From luscious pesto to hearty soups and crispy chips, kale stems can be transformed into delectable dishes with the right seasonings like olive oil and garlic.

    For a vibrant and nutrient-packed option, consider creating a refreshing kale stem pesto by blending the stems with fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and a squeeze of lemon juice. This bright green pesto can elevate pasta dishes, sandwiches, or even be used as a dip for veggies.

    Alternatively, you can simmer kale stems in a fragrant broth with onions, carrots, and vegetable stock to craft a comforting kale stem soup. The stems lend a satisfying crunch to the soup, complementing the savory flavors and providing a hearty and nourishing meal.

    If you’re in the mood for a crunchy snack, try baking kale stems in the oven with a sprinkle of sea salt and paprika. These crispy kale stem chips offer a satisfyingly crunchy texture and a delightful pop of flavor, making them a healthier alternative to traditional potato chips.

    Kale Stem Pesto

    Kale stem pesto is a delightful twist on the classic recipe, offering a creamy texture and earthy flavor that pairs beautifully with pasta or grain salads. By blending the stems with olive oil and other seasonings, you can create a rich and flavorful pesto sauce.

    Experimenting with variations of kale-based recipes can lead to unique and delicious creations. Utilizing the stems not only reduces waste but also adds a depth of flavor that elevates the dish. Incorporating ingredients like garlic, Parmesan cheese, and toasted nuts can further enhance the overall taste profile of the pesto. This versatile sauce can be tossed with hot pasta for a quick meal or used as a flavorful dressing for cold grain salads, offering a burst of freshness and nutrition.

    Kale Stem Soup

    Kale stem soup offers a comforting and nourishing meal option, perfect for chilly days or as a soothing chicken soup base. By braising the stems with garlic, salt, and water, you can create a hearty and flavorful soup that embodies the essence of comfort food.

    Adding in some additional ingredients like onions and carrots can further enhance the depth of flavor in this soup. The slow simmering process allows all the ingredients to meld together, creating a rich broth that’s both soothing and satisfying. As the aroma wafts through your kitchen, you’ll anticipate the warmth and comfort this soup will bring. Serve it with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top and a side of crusty bread for a fulfilling meal that nourishes both body and soul.

    Kale Stem Chips

    Kale stem chips offer a crispy and tangy snack alternative that can be baked, pickled, or fried for a crunchy texture. Whether you prefer a tangy brine infusion or a fried preparation, kale stem chips provide a flavorful and satisfying treat.

    For those looking to elevate the flavors of their kale stem chips, experimenting with different seasonings and spices can add a whole new dimension to this snack. Some popular options include smoked paprika, garlic powder, or nutritional yeast for a savory twist. When baking kale stems, a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil can enhance their natural taste. On the other hand, those opting for pickled variations can play around with apple cider vinegar, dill, or chili flakes for a tangy kick.

    In terms of frying kale stem chips, achieving the perfect crispiness is key. Using a hot oil bath and frying them until golden brown can result in a satisfying crunch that is hard to resist. For a healthier option, air frying the kale stems can also yield crispy results with less oil. The versatility of kale stem chips allows for endless customization, making them a versatile snack that can cater to a variety of tastes and preferences.

    How to Store Kale Stems?

    Properly storing kale stems ensures their freshness and quality for future culinary endeavors. Whether you opt for the fridge or freezer, storing these nutritious stems alongside pantry ingredients offers convenience for quick weeknight meals packed with essential nutrients.

    When storing kale stems in the fridge, ensure to place them in a perforated plastic bag or a damp paper towel to maintain their crispness and prevent wilting.

    Alternatively, for longer-term storage, you can freeze kale stems by blanching them in boiling water for a few minutes, shocking them in an ice bath, and then transferring to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag.

    Having prepped kale stems alongside staples like whole grains, canned beans, and spices makes it effortless to whip up nourishing dishes like stir-fries, soups, and salads in no time.

    In the Fridge

    Storing kale stems in the fridge preserves their texture and nutrients, making them an ideal addition to dishes like grain salads or scrambled eggs. The chilled environment maintains the stems’ freshness, ensuring they’re ready to elevate your meals with a healthy touch.

    Refrigeration also helps to prolong the shelf life of kale stems, allowing you to use them in various recipes over an extended period. By storing them properly, you can reduce food waste and always have a nutritious ingredient on hand for quick and convenient meal preparation. The convenience of having prepped kale stems in the fridge saves time during busy days, making it easier to incorporate healthy greens into your diet without the hassle of washing and chopping each time.

    In the Freezer

    Freezing kale stems is a convenient method to preserve their nutrients for quick meal preparations, such as soups or stir-fries. By freezing the stems with seasonings and key ingredients, you can create a freezer stash that simplifies weeknight cooking with a burst of flavor.

    When you freeze kale stems, you lock in their natural goodness, ensuring a nutrient-packed addition to your meals even during busy days. The advantage of having pre-seasoned and prepped kale stems ready in your freezer is that you can effortlessly incorporate them into various dishes, adding depth and complexity to your flavors. Whether you prefer a hearty kale stem soup or a vibrant stir-fry, having these frozen greens on hand saves time and boosts the nutritional value of your meals.


    Kale stems offer a wealth of culinary possibilities, from innovative recipes to nutritious meal enhancements. By exploring various cooking methods, storage options, and flavorful recipes, incorporating kale stems into your dishes can elevate both the taste and nutritional value with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of pepper.

    Whether sautéed, roasted, or stir-fried, kale stems can add a unique texture and earthy flavor to your meals. Not only do kale stems provide a crunchy element, but they are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin K and Vitamin C. To maximize the storage life of kale stems, consider keeping them wrapped in a damp paper towel inside a plastic bag in the refrigerator. In recipes, the addition of flavor-enhancing ingredients like garlic, lemon zest, or chili flakes can complement the natural taste of kale stems.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the best way to cook kale with stems?

    The best way to cook kale with stems is to first remove the tough middle stems and then chop or tear the remaining leaves into bite-sized pieces. From there, you can sauté, roast, or even steam the kale with stems.

    Can you eat kale stems?

    Absolutely! While the middle stems of kale can be tough and fibrous, the thinner stems and leaves are perfectly edible and contain a lot of nutrients. Just make sure to remove the thick stems before cooking.

    How do I prep kale with stems for cooking?

    To prep kale with stems for cooking, start by separating the leaves from the stems. Then, use a knife or your hands to remove the thick middle stems from the leaves. From there, you can chop or tear the remaining leaves and stems into desired sizes.

    Do I need to remove the stems from kale for cooking?

    While it is not necessary to remove the stems from kale before cooking, it is recommended to remove the tough middle stems for a better texture. The thinner stems are perfectly fine to eat and can be cooked with the leaves.

    What are some common ways to cook kale with stems?

    Some common ways to cook kale with stems include sautéing with garlic and olive oil, roasting with other vegetables, adding to soups and stews, and even using in smoothies. Get creative and experiment to find your favorite way to cook kale with stems.

    How do I prevent kale stems from becoming tough and chewy?

    To prevent kale stems from becoming tough and chewy, make sure to remove the thick middle stems and only cook the thinner stems and leaves. You can also try massaging the kale leaves with a bit of oil or lemon juice before cooking to help tenderize the stems.

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