5 years ago when I first started working at Microsoft a coworker and I were discussing the dinners we’d had the night before. She told me she had made a stir fry with something called Mustard Greens. I had never heard of it before and found myself, intrigued. Would they taste like mustard? It looked like lettuce, was I really supposed to cook this? Being curious, I tried it, and right then and there I fell in love with leafy greens. The mustard greens were so delicate yet bold in their flavors and they didn’t have that weird aftertaste you get from cooked spinach, which as much as I love, I can’t stand the squeakiness of.
A short time later I found myself at Whole Foods which had implemented a new points system for foods. It measures the nutrient value per calorie, or something like that. So, while I was grabbing mustard greens I saw that Kale ranked at 1000, a perfect score! Well, I had to give that a try. It looked a lot like my new favorite, Mustard Greens, and if Whole Foods said it was good for me, well, it must be amazing! To my great surprise it was even tastier than Mustard Greens and since then I have come to develop what some might call an unhealthy obsession with Kale. I have even been known to salivate while hiking when coming across wild kale. I guess it could be worse, I could be addicted to chocolate or crack.
There was a time, early in my leafy greens journey, when I thought I had to take the stems off of the kale before cooking them. This is not true, the stems are a delicious and full of fiber. They are not only good for you but add a great contract in texture that is lacking without them. For the love of all things sacred and delicious, don’t waste your time cutting them out.
3 Bunches Kale
8oz Portobello Mushrooms
1 Can Navy beans
1 Chicken Breast
2 Cups Quinoa (rice cooker cups which are actually 3/4 cups each)
1/4 tsp Cumin
10 cloves of garlic minced
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
Salt to taste
2 tbs Olive Oil (Optional)
1 Spring Onion (Optional)
1. Place the Quinoa in a rice cooker and cook per packet instructions
2. Place large skillet or wok over high heat
3. Slice Kale into ribbons and rinse in a collander 4. Spray pan with cooking spray and add in kale, reserving 1/4 of it.
5. Once Kale starts to wilt add half the garlic and a pinch of salt
6. Cook until the kale has given up most of it’s water and the stalks are tender
7. While the kale is cooking, chop the mushrooms into bite size pieces
8. Remove Kale from pan and set aside
9. Spray pan with cooking spray and add mushrooms
10. Cook mushrooms until brown on all sides
11. Add a pinch of salt and 1/4 of remaining garlic
12. While the mushrooms cook, cut up chicken breast into 1/2 centimeter square pieces and toss with 1/2 the remaining garlic and a pinch of salt
13. Once Mushrooms are brown and the garlic has cooked a bit, but before it burns, remove mushrooms from the pan and set aside
14. Add more cooking spray to the pan and add in the chicken
15. In a food processor, add the remaining kale and garlic along with the juice of 1 lemon and about 2 tbs of water, adjusting it until you have a thin paste. If you are opting to use olive oil, use it in place of the water.
16. Don’t forget to keep turning the chicken.
17. Once chicken is browned on all sides add in the can of Navy beans and cumin with another pinch of salt
18. Slice the Lemon into quarters and chop the green onion
19. Once this chicken is cooked all the way through add the Kale and Mushrooms back into the pan and cook together mixing to combine. Turn off the heat.
20. Mix the Kale paste into the Quinoa until it turns a bright green color
21. Place the kale quinoa on the bottom of a large platter and spoon the chicken, mushrooms, beans and kale mixture over top. Garnish with lemons and green onions.
22. Apply to face