4 Creative Kale Recipes to Try Right Now

Updated: Feb. 24, 2021

Nutrient-packed and extremely versatile, kale is definitely having a moment. Incredibly hardy, kale also lasts a long time in the fridge.

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Why you should eat more kale

Kale has more vitamin C than an orange and more than 600 percent of your vitamin K need per serving. One tiny cup of kale has almost three times as much calcium as a school lunch milk carton. (It’s also incredibly hardy, and lasts a long time in the fridge.)

No wonder some nutrition experts consider kale a goddess, including psychiatrist and farmer Drew Ramsey, MD and chef/recipe developer Jennifer Iserloh, who are the authors of the cookbook Fifty Shades of Kale. The vegetable, they say, “possesses a veritable medicine chest of healthy molecules known as phytonutrients.”

Think kale is just for salads or a simple side dish with dinner? Not so. Ramsey and Iserloh have found unbelievably tasty, fun ways to cook with kale—from Bloody Marys to chocolate chip cookies to risotto. Here are a few of their kale recipes we can’t wait to try.

chocolate fudge pops
Courtesy Fifty Shades of Kale

Sweet stuff: Chocolate kale fudge pop

Meet your new go-to dessert: these indulgent treats have a dose of fiber, which is good for your digestion.

Ingredients (Serves eight):

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup torn kale leaves


In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except kale and add the warm water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.  Place kale in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Stir the kale into the chocolate mixture and divide it among 8 ice pop molds and insert ice pop sticks. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.  The pops will keep for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container in the freezer.

Nutrition information per serving (1 pop):
127 calories, 2 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 8 mg sodium

kale mayo
Courtesy Fifty Shades of Kale

Smarter spread: Kale-onaise

Dress up any dip, sandwich, or dressing with this tasty, healthy mayo. Ramsey and Iserloh insist you’ll soon be swapping out butter for this delicious spread on your morning toast—and more.

Ingredients (Makes three cups):

  • 2 cups packed chopped kale
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (organic if possible)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon


In a food processor, combine the kale leaves, salt, and garlic. Process until finely chopped. Add in the mayonnaise and lemon zest, lemon juice and process until smooth.

Nutrition information per serving (2 tablespoons): 60 calories, 0 g protein, 0 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 3 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 93 mg sodium

Courtesy Fifty Shades of Kale

Summer picnic: Kaleslaw

Coleslaw, healthy? Not when it’s drenched in full-fat mayonnaise. But this lighter version is rich in superfoods like kale, carrots, and colorful bell peppers.

Ingredients (Serves eight):

  • 10-ounce bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 10 cups)
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced or thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups kale-onaise (recipe on next slide)


Fit a food processor with a shredder attachment. Shred the kale and carrots and transfer both to a large bowl. Add the bell pepper and Kale-onaise (see next slide for recipe) and toss well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight before serving.

Nutrition information per serving (1 cup): 187 calories, 3 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat (2 g saturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 591 mg sodium

burger with kale
Courtesy Fifty Shades of Kale

Better barbecue: Beef burger with grilled kale

The grass-fed beef this recipe uses is lower in calories than your usual burgers—and it has a unique fat that may help prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Ingredients (Serves four):

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground sirloin
  • 4 teaspoons barbecue or steak sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 large leaves kale
  • 4 whole grain or whole-wheat burger buns


Place the sirloin, sea salt, barbecue sauce or steak sauce in a large bowl. Using your fingers, mix well and form the mixture into 4 patties. Fire up the grill or heat a large grill pan over high heat. Grill the burgers 10 to 15 minutes, until they are brown on the outside but still slightly pink (but not translucent) on the inside. Top each burger with 2 tablespoons of the blue cheese. Transfer the burgers to a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Add the kale to the grill for 2 to 3 minutes, turning often, until the kale is soft.  Grill the buns halves for 30 seconds, cut side down. Remove from grill. Assemble burgers, placing grilled kale on bottom bun with the burger and top bun on top.  Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving (1 burger topped with kale plus bun): 347 calories, 34 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat (6 g saturated), 82 mg cholesterol, 4g fiber, 642 mg sodium

(If you don’t eat meat, try these vegan burgers instead.)

fifty shades of kale book
Courtesy Fifty Shades of Kale

More kale delights

For additional kale recipes, plus cooking tips, nutrition secrets, and more, get the book Fifty Shades of Kale.