Yotam Ottolenghi’s kale recipes (2024)

If Popeye had been born in the 21st century, he would surely be shoving kale down his famous pipe to boost his powers, rather than spinach, and it wouldn’t have come out of a tin, either. Fresh kale’s much-vaunted health benefits are discussed at such length these days that we often forget quite how delicious and versatile this leafy vegetable actually is. A simple saute with garlic and olive oil is usually my first port of call, but after that the possibilities are endless. Kale may make you big and strong; it will definitely leave you cheerful and sated.

Stir fried kale with tahini, chilli and soy (pictured above)

This quick dish is perfect for piling on to a mound of brown rice for a light, easy supper.

Prep 10 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 6

2 tbsp sunflower oil
½ tsp sesame oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
500g curly kale, stems removed and discarded (500g net weight)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1½ tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp lime juice

For the sauce
120g tahini paste
1½ tbsp light soy sauce
1½ tsp rice vinegar
1½ tsp mirin (Japanese rice wine)

Whisk all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, add three to five tablespoons of water (the amount you need will depend on the tahini, so add gradually), and whisk until the sauce is thick but pourable, a bit like honey. Set aside.

Now for the stir-fry. Heat both oils in a large saute pan on a high flame, then fry the garlic and chilli for one to two minutes, until the garlic is golden. Lift out the garlic and chilli, and reserve – you’ll be using them to top the finished dish.

Pile as much kale as possible into the hot pan, add the soy and a tablespoon of water, and cook to wilt down. As the greens collapse, add more kale to the pan and cook, stirring regularly, for three to four minutes, until the kale is cooked yet crunchy and there is no liquid left in the pan. Stir through the sesame seeds and lime juice, and take off the heat.

Spoon the greens on to a platter and drizzle the sauce over the top (hold a bit back to serve on the side, if you wish). Scatter the fried garlic and chilli on top, and serve.

Flowering sprout chips with nori and sesame salt

Flowering sprouts, or kalettes, are a cross between kale and brussels sprouts. They’re a relatively new ingredient to our supermarket shelves, and can be fried, steamed, boiled or roasted. If you can’t find them, just use brussels. The nori salt here makes double the amount needed, but it’s so good, I’d recommend making even more. It’s a wonderful way to season food, from boiled eggs to roast chicken and everything in between, and keeps very well.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s kale recipes (1)

Prep 5 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

1 10cm x 10cm sheet nori seaweed
20g sunflower seeds
20g pumpkin seeds
10g white sesame seeds
10g black sesame seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
Flaky sea salt
340g flowering sprouts (aka kalettes)
2 tbsp olive oil
100g mayonnaise, homemade or shop-bought, to serve

Heat the oven to 160C/320F/gas 2½.

Put a medium-sized frying pan on a medium heat, add the nori and dry-fry for six to seven minutes, turning once halfway, until it starts to brown and break apart easily. Break into very small pieces, either in a spice grinder or by hand (in which case the pieces will be slightly bigger) and put in a medium-sized bowl.

Return the pan to a medium heat, add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and toast for three to four minutes, until they have turned golden brown and the pumpkin seeds have popped. Tip them out on to a board, chop into rough 2-3mm pieces and add to the nori bowl.

Put all the sesame seeds in the pan and toast for two minutes until the white sesame turn golden brown. Add to the nori bowl, then stir in the chilli and a teaspoon and a half of salt.

Put the kalettes in a large bowl (cut any large ones in half lengthways, so they are all roughly the same size). Add the olive oil and a half-teaspoon of salt, and toss to coat evenly. Transfer the sprouts to a large oven tray lined with baking paper, spacing them well apart, and roast for 18-20 minutes, turning them once halfway through, until crisp and starting to brown.

Remove and serve warm with a bowl each of mayonnaise and nori salt alongside, for dipping.

Kale and herb dumplings in broth

This is the kind of hearty and warming food I want to eat on cold days when I’m under the weather. Feel free to substitute the vegetable stock for chicken or beef, if you prefer, but don’t use stock cubes: they’re too salty. And, of course, you can use gluten-free bread instead of sourdough.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s kale recipes (2)

Prep 10 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 4

1½ litres vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
300g kale, thick stems discarded, leaves and thinner stems roughly chopped (150g net weight)
1 small banana shallot, peeled and quartered lengthways
2 spring onions, quartered
½ garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 lemon – zest finely grated, to get ½ tsp, and juiced, to get 1 tsp
10g dill, finely chopped
5g chives, finely chopped
5g tarragon leaves, finely chopped
80g ricotta
60g feta, roughly broken into 2cm pieces
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
60g fresh sourdough breadcrumbs (about 2 slices, crusts removed)
30g plain flour
2 tbsp olive oil, to serve

In a large saucepan for which you have a lid, bring the stock and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-high, then blanch the kale for four minutes, until soft. Drain the kale in a sieve set over a bowl until cool enough to handle, then squeeze with your hands to get rid of any liquid. Return the liquid to the stock pot.

While the kale is cooling, add the shallot, spring onions and garlic to the stock, simmer on a medium-high heat for 15 minutes, then discard the shallot and spring onions, and turn off the heat.

Finely chop the kale and put it in a bowl with the lemon zest and juice, herbs, both cheeses, the nutmeg, egg, breadcrumbs, a third of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and stir to combine.

Line an oven tray with baking paper. Spread the flour on a large plate. Roll the kale mixture into 12 balls weighing about 30g each (dip your hands in water from time to time, to prevent sticking). The balls should be quite compact, so roll them tightly, and put them on the tray as you go. Next, roll each ball in the flour a couple of times, applying pressure so they’re very well coated.

Return the stock to a medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium, gently lower in the dumplings, cover and cook for four to five minutes, until they swell and float to the top.

Divide the broth and dumplings between four bowls, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, drizzle over the oil and serve piping hot.

  • Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s kale recipes (2024)
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