Two Recipes for Kale

Curly kale (left) and lacinato, or Tuscan, kale

Curly kale (left) and lacinato, or Tuscan, kale

Yesterday at the Holland Farmers’ Market I ran into my friend Lois, who had just bought a big bunch of curly kale. She asked if I had any kale recipes on my blog, and I told her I’ve published one post about kale so far: a recipe for Spaghetti with Braised Kale from Bon Appetit. Even though it calls for lacinato kale (also called Tuscan kale or black kale), which is available from Eater’s Guild at the Holland Farmers’ Market, I think curly kale could be substituted just as easily.

Lois got me thinking about my favorite kale recipes and I’ve come up with two others that I make frequently.

The first is ribollita, a Tuscan soup that means “twice boiled” because it was originally made from leftovers that were reheated with bread. I first heard of ribollita while on a culinary vacation in Tuscany. We made it in the class with Chef Claudio. Now it’s one of our favorite soups and one that Bill can eat if I leave out the bread (or use it conservatively).


Ribollita with croutons (instead of putting bread in the soup)

Here’s the recipe:

Chef Claudio’s Ribollita

*Note: Ideally, this would be best made a day ahead, adding the bread when the soup is reheated. Hence the name ribollita. 

Serves 4

1 red onion (the Chef insists on red over yellow for sweetness)

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 T. extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish

6 c. chicken or vegetable broth

1 bunch lacinato kale (could substitute with curly kale)

2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced Roma tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes blanched, peeled, seeds removed, and diced)

1 (15-ounce) can canellini beans (or 2 cans if you’re not adding bread or grain to the soup)

4 c. day-old Tuscan style bread (or baguette) broken into small pieces*

1/2 c. chopped Italian parsley or 6 leaves fresh basil (torn with fingers)

Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the onions, carrots, and celery. Put the olive oil in a stock pot, heat gently, and add the chopped vegetables. Cook until soft but not browned.

Add the broth to the stock pot and simmer on medium flame.

Remove the stems from the kale and chop coarsely. Add to the stock pot. Meanwhile, blanch, seed, and dice tomatoes, or simply add canned tomatoes to the stock pot. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer on low heat for about an hour.

Drain canellini beans, then mash with a large spoon. Add to the stock pot and cook for about 20 minutes. Add the bread bit by bit until the ribollita has the consistency of a stew. Add parsley or basil.

Serve in bowls with a generous swirl of olive oil.

*For wheat allergies, you can simply leave the bread out or substitute it with a grain such as quinoa (but add it during the last 10 minutes so it has time to cook). Another option is to just make croutons for garnish. I made them by cutting up some old Seedy Salt bread from Salt of the Earth in Fennville, Michigan, and browning the chunks in an iron skillet with olive oil.

The other kale recipe I’m posting is a side dish that goes well with a savory roast. Or it could also suffice as a vegetarian entree because it contains beans. This one, called Tuscan Kale with Canellini Beans, is from

Even though it says “be sure to use Tuscan kale”, I’ve used curly kale  because that’s what I have readily available in my garden, and it’s just as good. Below is the recipe, which I’ve improvised.

Tuscan Kale with Canellini Beans

(Adapted from

Serves 2

1 bunch lacinato kale  (or curly kale)
2 T.  extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, coarsely chopped 
2 cloves garlic (or more), thinly sliced
1 (15-ounce) can canellini beans
1/2 tsp. salt 
Black pepper to taste 
1/2 lemon

Prepare kale by stripping out the center stem from the leaves. Rinse and chop coarsely.

Heat oil in heavy skillet. Saute onion and garlic 4 to 5 minutes. Add chopped kale, 1 cup water*, and salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until kale is tender, about 30 minutes (will vary depending on how mature the kale is).

Uncover, add beans, and boil until most of liquid has evaporated. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over mixture. Serve with a drizzle with olive oil.

*Note: Another option is to substitute the water with homemade or canned chicken stock.

For another delicious way to prepare kale, check out the recipe for Braised Kale on the blog Spark!Wellness.


4 responses to “Two Recipes for Kale

  1. Thanks so much, Marcia! Will likely try them both this week… That was a *big* bunch of kale!

  2. We had better compare notes more closely. We had a chef, Claudio, who taught us to make Ribolitta in Florence. The recipe is ever so slightly different. But really? Two Chef Claudios?

    • It’s got to be the same Chef Claudio! We got a cookbook in the class but actually didn’t follow the recipe for ribollita exactly. So my recipe is the variation we did (no zucchini or potatoes, e.g.). I bet he makes it differently every time!

  3. Pingback: Red Russian Kale and Blue Potatoes | Farm to Table

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