Anyone who’s interested in plant-based nutrition has definitely heard of kale. Kale is known as one of the biggest superfoods in the world.
Not only is it high in some of the most essential vitamins for the human body (vitamins K, C, and A to name just a few), it provides plenty of folate, which is so important to prioritize on a vegan diet.
Kale also contains Omega-3 fatty acids, and on top of that, it’s low in calories.
Considering all the health benefits of eating kale, it’s hardly surprising that it features in a lot of plant-based recipes.
But if you’ve been thinking that cooking with kale is all about low calories and clean eating, we’re about to show you that kale can be used to make incredible vegan comfort food as well as your classic healthy smoothies and salad bowls.
Here are our top 12 vegan kale recipes that you should try today!
1. Kale Chips
This is probably the best recipe for kale chips we’ve ever tried. If you’ve tried kale chips before and disliked them, but you haven’t attempted this recipe, we highly recommend it.
These kale chips are crunchy and salty, so while you might not think that kale chips would satisfy your cravings for regular chips, these do a very good job.
You’ll need some kale, of course, and also sea salt and olive oil. These are the only ingredients required, and the only necessary utensils are a large mixing bowl and a baking sheet, so it’s easy to make these chips in a hurry.
We love making this kale and mushroom gratin on cold days when we feel like some nutritious comfort food.
What makes this gratin so good is the creaminess from the plant milk (you can choose your favorite) and the vegan heavy cream. If you can find some almond-based parmesan cheese as the recipe recommends, the finished dish is even better.
In addition to the kale and mushrooms, you’ll be using an onion and some white wine for added flavor as well as some salt and pepper to season.
Another vegan comfort recipe that uses kale is this creamy kale pasta, which we just can’t get enough of.
Despite being creamy, the sauce for this pasta is actually healthier than you’d realize by tasting it because the creaminess actually comes from pine nuts.
There’s so much flavor in this pasta dish due to the lemon juice, herbs, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and white wine.
The recipe says to omit the parmesan cheese if making the vegan version of the dish, but you can always swap it for a dairy-free alternative instead.
In the mood for a burger? Instead of reaching for pre-packaged plant-based meat alternatives, why not try making these kale and quinoa burgers yourself?
Like most vegan meat replacements, these burgers are high in protein thanks to the quinoa and cannellini beans (Here are some Vegan Ground Beef Recipes You Need To Try!).
Additionally, because you’ll be adding onion, cilantro, carrots, garlic and kale to the mix as well as a strong spice mix, the finished burgers are packed with flavor so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.
These burgers are great in a bun with a side of fries or just as they are alongside your favorite veggies.
Caesar salad is a classic dish, but the chicken and dairy in the traditional recipe can make it difficult for vegans to enjoy.
This vegan version of caesar salad is made with kale, romaine lettuce, homemade nut and seed parmesan, dairy-free caesar dressing (made with vegan Worcestershire sauce) and roasted chickpea croutons.
We love that the dressing is so creamy thanks to the cashews and that the croutons provide some great plant-based protein, unlike the croutons you’d find in a traditional caesar salad.
All four components of this salad come together beautifully, so you should definitely give it a try.
Since acorn squash is in season from the beginning of fall all the way through winter, this roasted stuffed acorn squash with quinoa and kale is the perfect fall recipe. It’s also loaded with nutritional benefits.
After roasting the acorn squash, you’ll combine cooked quinoa with sauteed vegetables and use the mixture to fill the squash before topping it with the balsamic glaze.
This is one of our favorite vegan kale dishes to serve at Thanksgiving, but it’s so delicious you’ll probably want to enjoy it all throughout acorn squash season.
Did you know that kale works great in stir fries? This kale chickpea stir fry with miso (Check out this Ginger Miso Stir Fry Recipe) peanut sauce proves our point!
For the stir fry itself, you’ll need chickpeas, an onion, kale, smoked paprika and chipotle powder. Then, for the sauce, you will be using miso, peanut butter, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon, and your chosen sweetener.
You can serve this stir fry with your favorite rice, noodles, or even a side of sweet potato. We suspect you’ll want to make this recipe a regular meal, so you can always try it with different sides to see which you prefer!
For our vegan curry lovers out there, this coconut curried kale and sweet potato recipe makes for the ultimate hearty, warming, plant-based meal.
You’ll be braising the sweet potato and kale with highly flavorsome ingredients such as curry powder, coconut milk, lime juice, red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic. The result is a powerful taste experience.
The recipe recommends serving your coconut curried kale and sweet potato with some brown basmati rice, but you can choose any rice to pair with this dish, or even serve it with a side of your favorite vegetables instead.
This kale and white bean soup is creamy, high in protein, and packed with essential micronutrients. What else could you want from a vegan soup? It’s also gluten-free, which is an extra bonus.
You will need vegetable broth, kale, white beans, carrots, onion, garlic, dried thyme, celery, white miso, lemon juice, bay leaves, sea salt, and olive oil to make this soup.
As the recipe suggests, we think you should pair this soup with some sourdough bread, and we also recommend following the recipe’s advice when it comes to adding a spoonful of vegan pesto before serving.
If you like to start your day with a nutritious smoothie, this vegan kale smoothie is the perfect way to get your morning dose of vitamins and minerals. There’s also some protein and healthy fats in there, so this smoothie is a balanced breakfast!
All you need is a frozen banana (you could also use a fresh banana but your smoothie will turn out thicker and cooler if you use frozen), some rolled oats, an orange (or orange juice), coconut water, agave (maple syrup works, too), chia seeds, and some kale.
As you can see, this is a versatile recipe that you can make from simple ingredients, and it can be ready in just a few minutes!
11. Kale Pesto Pizza
Who says you can’t have kale on pizza? This kale pesto pizza happens to be one of the most delicious (and healthiest) pizzas we’ve tried, so we think you should try it, too!
Now, while the kale pesto itself is vegan, the recipe does recommend using grated mozzarella for the pizza base. However, to make this recipe totally vegan, all you need to do is find a vegan mozzarella replacement or omit the cheese altogether.
There are no other dairy products throughout the recipe.
You can either make a single large pizza or two smaller pizzas using the ingredients and quantities outlined in the recipe.
These vegan ricotta and kale filo scrolls can be prepared and cooked in under an hour, and each one is large enough to make a satisfying meal by itself, although you can, of course, serve your scrolls with a selection of vegetables.
You can use pre-made filo pastry to speed things up. Apart from that, you’ll need firm tofu, cumin powder, nutritional yeast, plant milk, coriander powder, smoked paprika, vegetable oil, tahini, an onion, garlic, kale, and salt. That’s it!
Each roll has 16 grams of protein, 34 grams of (mostly healthy) fats, and plenty of potassium vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium.
If you only associated kale with green juice and boring salads before reading this article, we hope our selection of vegan kale recipes has shown you that kale can be part of some delicious comfort food recipes as well.
Be sure to check what kind of kale each recipe recommends using, including whether fresh or frozen kale is best, before you start preparing or cooking since this can often make all the difference to the end result.
Thank you for reading, and we hope you enjoy these recipes!