Red kale is an interesting discovery. Not something I see very often in any of the grocery stores I frequent, even the organic ones. Our desire to include more greens in our meals often results in very ‘earthy’ tasting food – green kale, for example, is very sturdy and can be a little tough, even if steamed for 20 minutes. Red kale, on the other hand, is soft and sweetly fragrant. As greens go, it’s as innocent as spinach (and tastes slightly better).
Last night, I made a colourful vegan pasta dish that’s a variation on a stir fry principle and uses red kale, zucchini, red pepper, black olives and onion. Here’s the recipe. As always, my recipes aren’t super precise, so you should trust your instincts and approach it with caution the first time!
Medium red onion
Half a bunch of red kale (4-5 large leaves)
Half a red pepper
One stalk celery
One cup sliced, pitted black lives
8-10 basil leaves
One cup vegetarian stock (from cube)
Four vegetarian sausages (Italian flavour)
Salt to taste
One pack of brown rice fusilli (or other substantial shaped rice pasta)
Chop onion into thin half rings. Cut out centre stems from red kale and wash it well by soaking it briefly in a bowl of water. Cut red kale into small chunks (quarter inch by one inch pieces, more or less). Cut red pepper and zucchini into small cubes. Cut celery stalk into thin slices. Chop basil leaves into small pieces. Prepare vegetarian stock in a cup of hot water.
Cut vegetarian sausages into half inch slices and fry them, on both sides, in a small frying pan with some olive oil until quite crisp and a little dry. Set aside.
In a larger frying pan or wok, heat up olive oil at high heat, and add onion, red pepper, zucchini and celery. Fry until the onion is soft (glassy) and add half the stock and a little salt. Cover, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes (depends on how soft you like your veggies). Add red kale, olives and basil as well as the second half cup of stock, re-cover and cook for another 5 minutes to soften the kale. Remove from heat and stir in the sausages.
Serve over al dente rice pasta (cook according to instructions on package). Add grated cheese (parmesan or aged cheddar) to serve if desired. Serves 2-3 hungry people, 3-4 if you have a starter and dessert. Add a clove or two of garlic during the original frying stage for even more flavour.