Kale with Red Beans, Cilantro, & Feta
Another favorite and spectacular looking vegetable is dinosaur kale (a.k.a lacinato kale). Dinosaur kale is characterized by its bluish hue and pebbly leaves. I find it fascinating to look at.
I have to admit, I used to be a little afraid of kale. "Kale" sounded rough and I rather imagined it as green, tough, bitter, and indigestible. Why eat kale when there's chard? I thought. Then I discovered this tender dinosaur kale and now I look forward to kale's dark, hearty flavor. It's one of my favorite soup vegetables, with its rich color, but lately I've been braising kale and sauteing it again to finish.
That's how I prepared this adapted recipe for Kale with Red Beans, Cilantro, and Feta from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors. Talk about an unlikely combination! But it really does work and it just so happened I had some red kidney beans to use up. I added cubes of tofu, quite a bit of garlic, chopped kalamata olives, and slices of red jalapeno. It was absolutely delicious! In fact, I couldn't stop eating it and by the time hubby got home his portion was rather small. So I added my latest vegan sausage discovery, Field Roast's Smoked Apple Sage Sausage, to fill out his plate (which was scraped clean).
Kale with Red Beans, Cilantro, & Feta (adapted from Local Flavors):
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch dinosaur kale, washed, ribs removed and torn into 2-3 inch strips
7 oz red kidney beans (canned)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 oz tofu, cut into small cubes
6 kalamata olives, chopped
3 oz crumbled feta
Red jalapeno, seeded and sliced
Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the onion gently until softened. Add the garlic and cook 2 additional minutes. Add the kale. The water that clings to the leaves from washing the kale should be enough to braise it. Add salt as desired, cover, and braise until tender (mine took about 8 minutes). Uncover, add the beans, cilantro, tofu, and olives. Turn up the heat and saute until all ingredients are cooked through. Add the crumbled feta and turn off the heat.
Serve topped with slices of red jalapeno.