As I’m coming up on two years of growing with my Rise Garden, I’ve been reflecting on my favorite plants to grow. In these last two years, I’ve tried almost all of the seed pods available and even done some experimenting with my own varieties that I would typically grow in my outdoor garden, making them available to our family year-round. Over this time, I have found some clear favorites that will always have a spot in our gardens’ crop rotation and am consistently growing these staples in our family garden time and time again.

 

 - Rise Gardens

 

One of my favorite garden staples has got to be Kale.  Kale, which is often referred to as “the queen of greens” is a nutrient-dense leafy green that is high in iron, calcium and vitamins K, A, and C.  It’s also full of antioxidants and is great for digestion. Kale may not be the most exciting plant to grow, it may not be the prettiest to look at, it may not be the most rewarding plant to harvest, and it may not even be the absolute tastiest. However, it is extremely versatile and one of the main reasons I will always grow it in my Rise Garden. 

I personally love how robust the leaves are, the crunch they provide in salads, and how when using kale in cooked dishes, it doesn’t wilt up to almost nothing (hello spinach!). Kale is unquestionably one of my go-to foods for lunches, either in a salad or an omelet.  On the fence about kale being a staple in your Garden? Give one of this omelet recipe (or one of the variations) a try!

 

 - Rise Gardens

 

Kale + Feta Omelet

Ingredients

  • 2-3 eggs, beaten
  • 2-3 large kale leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh cracked pepper

Directions

1.    Step One: Heat a frying pan or skillet on medium-low heat, using either butter, oil, or non-stick spray to grease the pan. 

2.    Step Two: Pour the beaten eggs into the pan, then evenly spread the chopped kale on top of the eggs.

3.    Step Three: Continue to cook the eggs until they are firm enough to flip the omelet.

4.    Step Four: Once flipped, continue cooking for about a minute, then flip back over (kale side is up now).

5.    Step Five: Add feta on half of the omelet and fold the other half over.

6.    Step Six: Top with tomatoes, fresh cracked pepper, and serve.

This kale omelet recipe is extremely adaptable and although my favorite version is the one above, I also make several other variations of it, while keeping the eggs and kale base the same.

Here are a few other winning combinations to try out:

  • Mushroom, bacon (sauté both of these first), and goat cheese
  • Chives, dill, basil, and feta
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, olives, red onion, and feta
  • Red or orange peppers, black beans (sauté both of these first) and cheddar cheese, topped with salsa and avocado

In addition to omelets, kale as a salad base is another staple use in our home.  The robust leaves can hold up to all types of dressing and pairs well with many other ingredients.  I know kale isn’t everyone’s favorite and some people find the leaves tough and difficult to chew, BUT this can be remedied if you prefer a more tender green. 

The first method you can try is massaging your kale leaves first.  Yes, MASSAGING! Place the leaves in a stack on a cutting board and knead them as if you were kneading bread dough, re-arranging them over the course of 3-5 minutes to make sure you massage them evenly. You will notice the leaves become more tender, and a deeper green as the cellulose of the leaves starts to break down. Once massaged, the leaves are ready to use in your salad recipes.

Alternatively, you can prepare your kale salad ahead of time to allow the dressing to tenderize the leaves (minimum of 30 minutes suggested). Most kale salads can be assembled up to a day in advance (including adding the dressing), making this an ideal lunch option for those who want a make their lunch in advance or take it on the go.

Here are a few of my favorite kale salad recipes to try out:

So, for those of you who already love kale as much as I do, I hope you’ll enjoy these recipes and for those of you who have reservations about kale, I challenge to you try out some of these recipes and see for yourself!