Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kale and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I must be honest--I do not consume kale as much as I should.  I do not know why but that happens to be the sad truth.  It is so healthy for you with an abundance of vitamins A, C, and K as well as many minerals.  Although I have made kale dishes in the past, I just haven't been inspired to use it often in my cooking.  Well, last night changed it all.  Well, I think first I must explain how I got to last night.

On Friday night, I decided I wanted to have a light dinner so I made a salad with seared chicken breasts.  There was chopped Tuscan kale, chopped Romaine, and even some red leaf lettuce.  I added tomatoes, artichoke hearts, red kidney beans, and even cooked up some farro to mix into the salad!  Yes, all of these ingredients scream delicious, especially when bound together by a zesty lemon vinaigrette. 

After all the ingredients were mixed together and I sliced some chicken to place on top, I took a bite.  Oh my gosh... this was disgusting!  The Tuscan kale was so bitter!  It was not a tender leaf and it was so bitter!  Did I mention the bitter?  Yuck.  As I combed my way through the rest of the salad, I simply pushed aside the pieces of kale.  I did not understand this because I have had raw kale in salads before and I consumed it just fine.  

I was so happy that I had only used a large handful from the bag.  Yes, I used bagged Tuscan kale from Trader Joe's.  You must be seeing a trend here; yes, I do shop at Trader Joe's a lot.  A couple of times a week.  Do you know anyone like that?  Well, if not, now you do.  Determined not to waste the rest of the bag (because I was so tempted to toss this yucky stuff out), I knew I would cook it as a side for last night's dinner, which was a Crock-Pot pot roast.  

After cooking away all day, in the last three hours I added chunks of carrots, frozen pearl onions, and quartered mushrooms to the Crock-Pot.  I knew I wanted to have potatoes because come on, all that gravy?  You've got to have a vehicle for that gravy!  Well, mashed potatoes are always great with gravy and meat that has been cooking all day.  I knew I wanted to cook up the kale and then it dawned on me: why not mix the kale with the mashed potatoes?!?!?!

So, I made buttermilk and Greek yogurt mashed potatoes and stirred it into Tuscan kale that had been cooking with lots of garlic in another pan.  The result is a tangy mashed potato with a slightly citrusy green mixed throughout.  Yes, I do believe that when the Tuscan kale is cooked, it gives off a slight lemon flavor.  Or, you can just call me weird.  

Now, what's with this Tuscan kale business?  Yes, it's not the regular curly kale that you see at the market, unless it is.  Like I mentioned earlier, I bought it bagged at Trader Joe's.  Speaking of which, I will never buy bagged kale again.  They wash and chop for you, correct?  Well, they also leave the stems in and hack away at the leaves with the stems and ribs in!  So, before I even put the kale in the pan, there I was standing over my cutting board, removing individual pieces of stem from the chopped kale leaves.  Ugh, never again will I buy it like this.  Do yourself a favor and buy it in a bunch and first remove the stems, wash the leaves, and then use them however you'd like. 

Ah, back to the Tuscan kale thing.  It is simply a different variety of kale.  I thought it looked very similar to this stuff I had eaten before called Dinosaur kale and what do you know?  They're the same thing.  I'd say it gets that name because the texture of the leaves resembles the bumpy texture of dinosaurs.  However, it gets the descriptor "Tuscan" because it is very popular in the Tuscany region of Italy.  If you want to call it by another name, it is also known as Lacinato kale.  FYI--I totally thought of the dinosaur skin resemblance before I read the Wikipedia article! 

Enough rambling here.  The recipe is below and it cannot be any simpler.  Unless you buy frozen mashed potatoes which my friend Sonja educated me about last night.  I never knew!  I feel that as far as mashed potatoes go, this version is on the healthier side since I use Greek yogurt and buttermilk to add creaminess and tang, as opposed to heavy cream or half and half and/or sour cream.  Trust me--you'll absolutely love the flavors here!  However, if you add a pat or two of butter, I definitely will not take offense.  I think these kale and garlic mashed potatoes will become a new and delicious side dish at upcoming parties, mine and yours!

Kale and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • 8 to 10 ounces chopped kale leaves (stems removed first)
  • 10 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg (ground is fine, too)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Optional:
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Add the potatoes into a large pot and add water till it covers the potatoes.  Add salt to the pot and put it on a high flame.  Cook until the potatoes are fork tender.  Drain and return to pot.  Add the Greek yogurt, buttermilk, and salt and pepper to taste.  If using the cheese, add it now, too.  Mash away until you reach a consistency you like.  If needed, add more buttermilk to help with the consistency.

2. In a large pan, add your extra virgin olive oil and turn the heat on to a high.  Carefully add your chopped kale along with a pinch of salt.  When it has wilted down a little, add your garlic and cook until fragrant.  Turn the heat onto low, add your nutmeg, stir, and cook until the greens are soft and tender.  

3. Finally, add the mashed potatoes to the kale and mix well.  Serve immediately.

Hello, dinosaur skin.
Yes, it's a lot of garlic but that's why "garlic" is in the name of the recipe!
When you add grated nutmeg to dark, leafy greens, there is this note that elevates the dish and many will wonder what your secret weapon is. 
These mashed potatoes are absolutely delicious to consume at this point.  Because of picky eaters, I even reserved some of this before mixing the rest of it with the kale.
This marriage right here?  Absolutely wonderful!
It went scrumptiously well with the pot roast!


  1. We had pot roast for dinner last night too. I peel and quarter my potatoes and just add them in the slow cooker though. They're perfectly cooked by the time the meat's tender. That being said, I love the way you recovered with the kale. And how you used it is pretty spectacular. That's a special dinner-worthy dish.

  2. Wandered in just searching for a kale recipe and found this! It looks very delish :) So far, I've just been pan frying my kale. Now I can eat it in mash potatoes! I'm enjoying the food posts on your blog, they inspire. Keep writing!