It ain't easy cooking green.
June 21, 2007 6:28 AM   Subscribe

What do I do with all these unfamiliar veggies from the CSA?

My CSA has started delivering vegetables for the summer, and once again I'm at a loss for what to do with some of them. Do you have any favorite recipes that use chard, kale, or mustard greens? What about kohlrabi, which I'm sure will be showing up again in abundance later this summer? I've been sauteeing the greens with garlic and eating them with beans and rice or polenta, but it's getting to be a bit boring.
posted by Inconceivable! to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
love her or hate her, Rachel Ray has TONS of recipes that use kale, and I believe she often says you can sub other hearty greens like chard.

Here's a quick google search for RR's kale recipes.
posted by at 6:31 AM on June 21, 2007

Kale: make a Portuguese-style soup with chorizo and potatoes

Mustard greens: oil, salt, garlic, MSG. Good with rice and any kind of Chinese meat-containing dish.
posted by rxrfrx at 6:38 AM on June 21, 2007

Our CSA put out a cookbook, Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables.

I also love A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. It deals with produce by season and is terrific whether you're vegetarian or not.
posted by veggieboy at 6:43 AM on June 21, 2007

After sauteeing w/garlic and/or onion, those greens are superb as filling for an omelet.

For kohlrabi (and turnips, which you'll likely also get) just peel, slice and eat w/a dab of wasabi.
posted by cog_nate at 6:44 AM on June 21, 2007

Best answer: I posted this recipe in another kale thread here, but will share it's so delicious. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days, and it's all fresh food - nothing cooked. Vegan too.


One bunch of regular or dino kale, deribbed and torn up
One or two avo, chopped up
One tomato, chopped up
One thick slice onion, chopped up
A little cayenne
Some coarse salt (I like a lot)
The juice from half of a lemon ( I like more)

Just put it all together in a big bowl, kale first, everything else on top. Start picking up the kale and bruising it and smashing it, together with the rest of the ingredients. You're trying to soften the kale, and while you do that, you're mashing and blending the rest of the ingredients together, which is making a fantastic salad dressing. Keep kneading and massaging everything for about five minutes. The kale will be nice and soft, and your hands will be a mess. Lick all of the extra bits off of your fingers, and enjoy the salad.
posted by iconomy at 6:45 AM on June 21, 2007 [21 favorites]

chard isn't as hearty a green as kale; be careful if you substitute it.

Kale: boil it for a few minutes (6? check the texture), then drain it immediately. One recipe I know (from the awesome cookbook "The Best Recipe" which I do recommend for it's vegetable recipes) recommends immediately plunging cooked kale into cold water, to be sure it stops cooking at just the right time.

Get as much moisture out of the boiled kale as is practical for you. Serve warm or cold with your favorite salad dressing on it (I prefer a vinaigrette).

Chard is a great ingredient in lentil soup. Add it last, as it is delicate and will wilt/cook quickly.
posted by amtho at 6:47 AM on June 21, 2007

Another great book, by the same author as "A Year", is Vegetables Every Day. You just pick a vegetable, flip to the section and there are the recipes.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:48 AM on June 21, 2007

Best answer: Kale is delicious sauteed with cannelini beans, shallots, and carrots cut into matchsticks. You might add a little smoked turkey sausage or italian style turkey sausage, or baked tofu, as well. Throw in a dash of tamari or low-sodium soy sauce for richness. This can be made into a one-bowl meal by adding pasta such as tagliatelle or rotini. Top with parmesan.

You can also steam or sautee kale or chard and toss it with sundried tomatoes and tangerine segments. Top that with a simple vinaigrette made out of mustard, red-wine vinegar, orange or tangerine juice, orange zest, parsley, a bit of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve with pan-sauteed chicken breasts or thighs, pork chops, duck breast, or turkey breast cutlets.

Kale or chard soup is also delicious. Bring some vegetable or chicken stock to a simmer. Add your chard or kale (or both) leaves and simmer until tender, roughly 2 or 3 minutes. (Make sure you only use the leaves for this.) Remove the leaves from the stock with a strainer and save the stock. Put the leaves in a blender with a bit of the stock and process. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and add the juice from half a lemon. Add the stock in 1/2 cup increments to the blended kale and chard until you achieve a smooth consistency. Add a little chopped parsley and olive oil at the last and serve warm or at room temperature. If you like, you can add a spoonful of cooked israeli couscous or pastina for a little added texture.

Also, check out any Deborah Madison cookbook for terrific vegetable recipes.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 6:54 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mustard greens are the best for wilted salad, a favorite from my childhood.
posted by TedW at 6:55 AM on June 21, 2007

Kohlrabi, cut into matchsticks, makes a delicious raw salad. We add chicken and a mustard dressing.

There are a lot of food blogs, some of which deal with CSA veg specifically. Here's one.
posted by miss tea at 7:00 AM on June 21, 2007

Kohlrabi - cut into sticks and fry up like french fries

Any type of greens: cook slowly in a covered pan with salt, pepper, just enough sugar to cut any bitterness, a dash of apple cider vinegar, sauteed onions, throw in some chopped apples and well, Southerner that I am, I always throw in a little bacon.
posted by MasonDixon at 7:22 AM on June 21, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great answers, everyone!

I'm definitely looking more for specific recipes/cooking suggestions than cookbooks or blogs - I've got plenty of those to read already! Like most of the recipe requests here, this question is meant to suss out the truly delicious gems from the legions of moderately edible suggestions that are available all over the internet. I trust the judgment of MeFi users much more than a google search for "kale recipe".

That said, I will be checking out the books and blogs already suggested, especially those that are targeted for a CSA audience. Thanks!
posted by Inconceivable! at 7:28 AM on June 21, 2007

Best answer: Ooh, I made chard tacos last week from Eating Well magazine (old issue). Awe. Some. The chard was steamed a little then sauteed with garlic, red pepper flakes and caramelized onions. Serve on warm corn tortillas with crumbled goat cheese and salsa made from seared tomatillos and garlic blended with a chiplotle pepper and a little water. Caramelize the onions and make the salsa earlier in the day for a very easy dinner.
posted by robinpME at 7:46 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well, if you don't have a copy of How to Cook Everything, you need to check it out of the local library.

And now for the one relevant recipe I know, Mom's Homestyle Mashed Potatoes with Kale. Cut up some potatoes, boil them in some water. Add some cut bits of kale after the water starts to boil. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain almost all of the water. Put it all back in the pot, add salt, pepper, and butter to taste, mash/whip. If you need more liquid, you can add water, reserved liquid from cooking, or whatever flavor of broth you have in the fridge. Mom used to serve this stuff with sausage. I don't see why you couldn't do this with other greens as well.
posted by ilsa at 7:48 AM on June 21, 2007

Best answer: This soup recipe is ridiculously simple and amazingly good. With some bread, it's a full meal by itself. The red lentils will break down a lot, leaving you with more of a thick broth than a mouthful of lentils. I also have a recipe from my mom for Lentil and Kale stew, if you are interested. I haven't made it myself but I enjoyed it when she did.

Red Lentil, Orzo, and Swiss Chard Soup

32 oz vegetable broth
2 cups water
½ cup orzo
½ cup red lentils
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1tsp pepper
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
8 large leaves chard

Remove chard leaves from stems. Chop stems. Cut leaves into large strips, maybe ½ wide.

Combine broth, water, orzo, and lentils in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add oregano. Add chopped stems and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add leaves and cook until lightly wilted.

Combine chard mixture with the orzo and lentils. Season with salt and pepper.
posted by horses, of courses at 8:07 AM on June 21, 2007 [3 favorites]

On the subject of good cookbooks, we really enjoyed recipes from The Silver Spoon, which is another Joy-of-Cooking- or How-to-Cook-Everything-style complete tome. It's an English translation/modernization of a classic Italian cookbook, but Italian in the sense of using the freshest, most in-season ingredients as the centerpiece of the meal. Recipes are sorted and indexed by ingredient, rather than dish. We recommend the swiss-chard-laden Easter Pie with fresh marjoram.
posted by zachxman at 8:31 AM on June 21, 2007

Take your well seasoned cast iron pan and roast a chicken or a piece of meat or fish in it. While the pan is still extremely hot, add paper thinly sliced garlic and shallots for about twenty five seconds, careful not to burn them and then pile on the very well washed and trimmed bitter greens. They will wilt quickly. After the greens wilt and the garlic and shallots cook a little more, add a small amount of chicken or vegetable stock and a few capfuls of balsamic vinegar. If you are running out of heat in the pan, fire up the gas to medium and scrape the brown bits from the meat you just roasted along with the chicken stock and vinegar. Toss the greens in the pan juices, stock and vinegar and add a healthy sprinkle of hot pepper flakes and probably a little salt, depending upon what you've got going in your pan.

What, you say? You don't have a well-seasoned cast-iron pan in which you do most of your roasting and searing of meats and fishes and vegetables? Go get one, take good care of it and cherish it.
posted by kosem at 9:00 AM on June 21, 2007

Funny, I'm also trying to learn how to use my new CSA vegetables. Kale's already out of season though for us, but when I'd have some piling up and I wanted something REALLY easy, I'd snip it into ramen as it cooked along with other (CSA) vegetables, and it'd make a really simply & hearty ramen.
posted by artifarce at 9:01 AM on June 21, 2007

mm, kale. just steam it, add some lemon juice, and you're golden. chard can go in stir frys. never been a fan of mustard greens, but you should be able to steam them up and munch on them anyway.
posted by devilsbrigade at 9:04 AM on June 21, 2007

I love this chard tart from the Joy of Cooking (although I don't remember the Joy saying that you can use milk in the pastry). I practically lived on it for a few weeks earlier this spring when chard and eggs were the main things on offer at my local farmers' market.

Note: I'm terrible at making pastry, but I find the crust in this recipe really easy to make with good results, so if you're a non-pastry-maker too, don't be intimidated!

Also, if you eat meat, then greens + bacon + little bit of vinegar = master recipe for deliciousness. You can fiddle with different types of vinegar or add pepper or other spices.
posted by Orinda at 9:06 AM on June 21, 2007

Rather than specific recipes for each new kind of green they throw your way, it sounds like you need a general sense of how greens work. While vegetables you mention are different in their details, they'll all be good with smoked meat, garlic, hot sauce and/or vinegar, they'll all benefit from slow gentle cooking, and they'll all give off a rich flavor as they cook that will be soaked up by blander ingredients like potatoes or beans.

Get the hang of those rules of thumb, and whatever batshit cruciferous vegetables they throw at you (broccoli rabe! kai lan! mizuna! tatsoi!) you'll be able to handle them.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:23 AM on June 21, 2007

chard with beets goat cheese and raisins. This one is great. We use currants instead of raisins though.
posted by zackola at 10:40 AM on June 21, 2007

Seared chard with leeks

2 (1-lb) bunches rainbow chard or red and green Swiss chard
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Cut stems from chard (if leaves are large, cut out coarse portions of rib), then cut stems crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stack chard leaves and roll into cylinders. Cut cylinders crosswise to make 1-inch-thick strips of leaves.

Heat butter and oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet (I use a 4 qt enamel coated cast iron dutch oven) over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté chard stems and leeks with sea salt and pepper to taste, stirring occasionally, until slightly soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add chard leaves and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until wilted. (If greens begin to brown before they wilt, sprinkle with a few drops of water.)

I find the sea salt really makes a difference in this recipe. Can't explain why, but it does. It's easy to cut the recipe in half if you don't have two pounds of chard.
posted by ambrosia at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2007

Best answer: This recipe is from The Splendid Table's weekly newsletter, and I use it all the time when I have too many greens around. It reheats very nicely, and you can substitute chickpeas for the beans if you feel like a change.


From The Quick Recipe: Favorite Dishes in Less Than 60 Minutes, by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine. © 2003 by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated. Serves 4 as a main course; 6 to 8 as a side dish

While substantial enough to serve as a main course, with a crusty loaf of bread and a salad, this recipe also works as a side dish with roasted pork, chicken, and firm fish like sea bass and cod; be sure to omit the cheese if you serve this dish with fish.

If kale is unavailable, try chard. The chard stems may be included in the recipe - cut them into 1/4-inch pieces and saute the stems with the onions. Leftover beans served on bruschetta make an excellent appetizer. Most tasters liked this dish with a somewhat brothy consistency - the broth may be soaked up with bread. If you prefer a drier texture, exclude the added water. For a nonvegetarian version, add 2 ounces finely diced pancetta with the onion.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 medium cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 small red onion, sliced thin
10 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, drained and sliced thin

(about 1-1/4 cups)

1 pound kale, stemmed and sliced thin (about 4 heaping cups)
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
Ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 lemon, cut into wedges

1. Combine the oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium-high heat. As the oil begins to sizzle, shake the pan gently back and forth to prevent the garlic from clumping (stirring with a spoon causes the garlic slices to stick together). Once the garlic turns very light golden brown, after 2 to 3 minutes, add the onion and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently until the onion softens and begins to brown around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peppers and cook until softened and glossy, about 3 minutes.

2. Using tongs, stir in the kale. When it wilts, add the beans, wine, and 1/2 cup water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with cheese and a drizzle of olive oil and with lemon wedges on the side.


Rinse off the thick liquid from canned beans before using. Place them in a colander and run under cold water.
Don't overcook the garlic. Browning turns it bitter. A pale gold color is what you want.
For those who have to have meat, make them happy with a handful of diced Genoa salami, cacciatore salami, capocollo or coppa added at the last minute.
Canned tuna in olive oil finishes this dish beautifully.


Nothing sweetens a pepper like roasting. If you are feeling ambitious and want to skip the jarred roasted peppers (Spanish brands are not cheap, but stand head and shoulders above the others) you could roast your own. Easiest is under the broiler. Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Set the whole peppers on it. Preheat the broiler. Roast peppers about 2 inches from heat, turning so all sides are blistered and charred.

Place the peppers in a bowl, cover tightly, and let sit a few minutes while the contained steam loosens the skin and the peppers become cool enough to handle. Peel off the skin using a small knife. Cut off the top of the pepper, remove the stem and core, and gently scrape away the seeds. Don't rinse the peppers - you'll wash away all the flavors you've created.
posted by exceptinsects at 12:28 PM on June 21, 2007 [2 favorites]

I got my first CSA share today (I also bagged part of everyone else's) and mine is, as well, full-o-greens. Our farmer put up a cookbook as well, one of those home-made ones, specifically for the odder vegetables.

One thing I do with greens is cook them in a lot of garlic and some oil in a pan. Add cooked pasta and a cream sauce, like an alfredo. I also add to this if I'm feeling protein-poor; I used soybeans in college, I'll probably use chicken tonight, and ham bits might work too.

I think I might make slaw out of some of the greens that don't require cooking; I'm not a huge fan of them cooked, but I have been known to nibble the occasional cut leaf during harvest.
posted by cobaltnine at 1:37 PM on June 21, 2007

Has everybody gone vegan? The best way to cook kale, chard or collard greens is with your saved up bacon fat. Mmmm...
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:20 PM on June 21, 2007

If all those greens get to be too much, they should all freeze quite well.

Wash and trim the leaves, blanch them for 2-3 minutes in batches in a big pot with lots of boiling water, remove to ice bath to shock them, drain away any excess water, and store in freezer bags. More from the LSU Ag Center: Freezing Leafy Greens (PDF).

(And really, doesn't Kale/Portuguese soup sound better in the middle of February than in the middle of July?)
posted by chefscotticus at 9:57 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

We've been cooking greens almost nightly (spinach and beet greens, but any other tender greans will work) the Cooks' Illustrated way: saute garlic and pine nuts in olive oil. Add washed and still damp greens, cook til limp. Add raisins or currants and cook til moisture is gone. Add salt and pepper. I think a little drizzle of balsamic would be awesome, too.

As for chard, this recipe from is awesome: penne with swiss chard and garlic. I add toasted pinenuts.
posted by purenitrous at 9:58 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

mmm.... kohlrabi. I discovered this vegetable myself a couple of years ago through a CSA. The tastiest thing I ever did was to grate it up and make something like potato pancakes out of it (here's a good looking recipe). There's a faint apple-y sweetness to it when fried that was absolutely delicious!
posted by dicaxpuella at 10:36 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Everything sounds delicious; thanks guys! I marked the ones I'm planning to try first as best answers, but you really all deserve kudos.
posted by Inconceivable! at 8:01 AM on June 25, 2007

Late to the party here, but my CSA newsletter this week had the best recipe for kale I've every had: Kale Crunch. Seriously. Take the kale, wash it, toss it in oil, roast on a baking tray for ~10 minutes, sprinkle with parmesan, roast for ~5 minutes more. The whole family, including picky eaters and kale-haters, ate an entire bunch of kale in about five minutes.
posted by nonane at 11:42 AM on July 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

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