slow cooking expert and mom to three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lentil and Kale Super Food Slow Cooker Recipe


I've been slow to warm up to kale. I sort of feel like I've been peer pressured to cook with it ---- I see it all over the internet and all over the cooking channels and thrown in my face in lots and lots of food magazines.

and I hate being told what to do.

I tried the oven "fried" kale chips. I put it in smoothies. Guess what? I'd rather eat a bag of Lays, and even if I call the smoothies "dinosaur shakes" or "swamp juice" my kids aren't all that impressed, and I'm left to drink a pitcher full of murky liquid all on my own.

of course, I'm the type of person who likes cheese in a can more than is probably socially acceptable...

anyhow. I needed to cook up the kale I had in the fridge, because I hate wasting food even more than I hate being told what to do.

This, here, is SUPER FOOD. Not SUPER in that it tastes like oreo cheesecake or chocolate mousse, but SUPER in that it has a bunch of super foods in it: lentils, tomatoes, garlic, and kale.

and it actually tastes pretty good!

The Ingredients.
serves 6-8 as a side dish, 4 as a full meal
2 cups lentils, rinsed
1 onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (7-ounce) can fire roasted whole chiles (mild; this provides tons of flavor)
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups chopped kale (just the leaves. give the stems to the guinea pigs or the compost heap)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt (start with 1/2, then season if needed at the table)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cumin
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Rinse lentils until the water runs clear, and then put the wet lentils into your slow cooker. Add diced onion and the chopped garlic. Add the entire cans of fire roasted chiles and diced tomatoes. I used the whole chiles because I had them in the house and so the kids could pick them out, but the chopped chiles would be just fine if that's what you have already.
Add the kale, dried spices, and stir in the broth. Cover, and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, or until the lentils are bite tender and the onion is translucent. It took closer to 6 hours in my 6-quart.

The Verdict.

I ate this as my main course, but Adam and the kids had it as a side dish with some sliced chicken and artichoke sausage. Adam and I really liked everything about this--- we felt full but not grossly overstuffed, and we were really quite satiated. The prominent flavor is from the ginger and cumin; it tasted a lot like Dal.

I insisted on three bites from the big kids, but couldn't convince the baby. I am looking forward to leftovers for lunch, and since I'm trying to eat better more often than not I'm going to make another batch and freeze in lunch-sized portions.

BlogHer is next week! Are you going? If so, find me--- I'd love to meet you!!  I'll be the one without the smart phone...

other stuff you might like:


26 comments:

Shelly Ann said...

Sounds like a good recipe. I have never been too crazy about kale either. Glad you found a way to use it.

John said...

I happen to like kale, so I eat it just about any way. But this sounds awesome. Thanks!

Mariola said...

You know what, life's too short to eat things you don't like, even if they are healthy and 'oh so good for you'. I appreciate your efforts but we all have things we simply don't like. Don't force yourself, move on to the healthy things you actually enjoy eating and dump the green sludge. Sometimes it's just o.k. to do so.

The Alchemist said...

This looks delicious,cheap,easy and healthy! I think I'm going to make it!

Thanks for the recipe!

Melissa @ The Alchemist

Kathy Hester said...

Welcome to the dark side! You might start to like kale once you find a dish you like it in. I like to chop some up fine and add to lasagna, pasta sauces, even tacos.

If you add it little by little your family won't even notice, especially in a pureed sauce. Of course I would never do that ;)

Elissarward said...

My kids don't like to eat things with kale either. So, I finely mince the kale/spinach into the lentils or whatever stewy dish I make and they have no idea it is there. Sometimes I sneak it into chili and marinara sauces! They eat it and get the nutrition. You can even put the green leaves through the food processor to get them really teeny if you can't do it with your knife.
As far as smoothies, I have found that the fruit really needs to be strong flavored fruit like strawberries or blueberries. Then I sweeten with stevia.

Mary said...

I made this last night!!! It was so easy and yummy! Recently my husband and I switched to a vegan lifestyle and this fits right in with it. I also steamed some wild rice to put the lentils on and had fresh watermelon for a side/dessert! I even took some for lunch today and it was even better. I'll make this again....

Chatón said...

I've only used my slow cooker to warm meatballs. You make me think that I'm missing out. Read your story on the BlogHer site. It's inspiring! I work FT and want to use my blog to give me more flexibility. My goal is to have that flexibility in 3 years when my daughter starts kindergarten. I would love to have your tips! http://chatonsworld.blogspot.com

Shauntelle said...

Ugh, I had a horrible kale experience today and had decided that I didn't care how much everyone raves about it, I wouldn't make it again... this recipe has encouraged me to maybe try it again.

mustardandmiscellany.com said...

I'm not crazy about raw kale either, but I love it cooked in stews or soups like this. Looks great!

Theresa said...

I am going to have to try this, especially since I already have most of the ingredients in the house. I just tried a kale, sausage, and white beans recipe that I liked, but bought too much kale when I bought the ingredients. So I look forward to trying this recipe too!

Heather of Kitchen Concoctions said...

Haha! I feel the same exact way Stephanie. I hate being told what to do with anything especially what food to like! Regarding kale I have been slow to jump on that bandwagon too. I am not a big fan of cooked greens (spinach, collard, etc.) by themselves but don't mind them if they are added to things; so I'll have to give this a try.

Christal said...

you always make me laugh... thank you. have a great time at BlogHer. If I were going, I could find you- I don't have a smart phone either.

Durante said...

Really love the idea of this recipe (and blog), I am wondering if there's a way I can cook the lentils so my children will eat them, they're very texture oriented and the shells gross them out. Thank you!

Catt of the Garage said...

Don't give too many kale stalks to the guinea pigs - the oxalic acid can be bad for them. Once in a while is fine, but don't make it a regular part of their diet.

If I have any veg to use up and I can't think of a specific recipe for it, I chop it small or grate it and put it in bolognese! You can hide almost anything in there.

To the person who had trouble getting her kids to eat lentils - I think getting them used to any texture is a question of time and repetition. After all most kids like beans, and the texture is similar - they just come across beans more often.

I think the main weakness of lentils is their bland flavour so the best way to serve them is in a very flavourful sauce - e.g. cook them with tinned tomatoes and garlic, and add a bit of vinegar and brown sugar to make it barbecue-flavoured. Go for a similar vibe to baked beans and it'll be more familiar to them. Also, if they already eat beans, point out to them that lentils are just like tiny beans. But keep trying is the key.

Kay said...

I just bought a slow cooker at a garage sale and didn't know what to do with it. Granny Annie sent me your way and I can see why. This is wonderful!!! Thank you.

Martha@ Simple Nourished Living said...

I love your sense of humor. Your posts are such a delight to read! I like kale cooked in soups and stews and this slow cooker lentil recipe is right up my alley. As for the whole raw kale, kale chips, kale smoothie scene - I've tried but agree that life is too short to eat foods you don't like.

Bob said...

I'm always on the lookout for slow cooker recipes. This is a good one. Thanks.

LisaDay said...

Too funny. I love kale but the thought of a smoothie with it. Yuck. This looks great. Thank you.

LisaDay

Nadia from Madison said...

I couldn't agree with you more about the 'Kale' craze. I see it EVERYWHERE, and I too would rather eat cheese out of a can :). Your recipes are awesome, and your blog is awesom-er

Margaret said...

Love the sound of this recipe! I will definitely be trying this as the weather cools down. I tried kale chips once and cannot figure out why EVERYONE says they are better than potato chips. (I don't like potato chips but I prefer them to kale chips.) Don't even get me started on the people who claim to love them but dip them in ketchup first.

Tammy Bathgate said...

I made this tonight with a few modifications due to food allergies and availability. I substituted leeks for onions, chard for kale, curry for cumin. I left out the peppers and tomatoes but put in a can of coconut milk and enough broth to make up the difference. Then I added precooked smoked sausage near the end of the cooking time.

The Verdict: It tasted a bit on the bland side. More curry and 2 cans of coconut milk to make it creamer. Otherwise a good dish.

Eileen said...

WoW! I made this last night.
Frikkin fantastic!!!!!
I was concerned about the peppers and it
was wasted concern. The flavor was out of this world.
I have never had more delicious lentils!
My crock must cook hot though.
I put this on, went to sleep, woke up in 5 hours and it was a lil too soft.
Next time, 4 hours.
I'll be making this a lot.
My kind of food!
You rock, Steph!!

serenity said...

Frozen spinach. That could work, too. Somewhere in my cupboard, I have lentils lurking. Hmmmm .... and I got a spice shipment coming with freshly ground roasted green chili I can't spell ... I got me a non-bean nonexpensive recipe in mind, using this one as my base. Thanks!

Cee Jay Kay said...

This looks interesting. We grow and eat kale all the time. I love it! But, I'm always looking for new ways to cook it. I'm putting this on my menu list for the week.

Eileen said...

Since Steph as sent this out again, I will reiterate, this food is delicious!
Just try it.
Great for the body, in more ways than one ;)
Manga!

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