Sick of salads but still want all the benefits of kale? From kale chips to smoothies, here are a few easy ways to add this superfood to your diet that have nothing to do with salad dressing.

By Brittany Loggins
June 07, 2021
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If you're not the biggest fan of kale, that's totally understandable. It's a little coarse, a little bitter-and that's with a generous pour of the best salad dressings out there. 

That said, the stuff is called a superfood for a reason. It's packed with vitamins K, A, and 71 percent of your daily value of vitamin C. Add to that the fact that it's rich in calcium and iron, and you have yourself a true nutritional winner.

"Like other vegetables in the cruciferous family, kale contains glucosinolates, which are associated with decreased inflammation and protecting against cancer," says registered dietician and culinary nutritionist, Jackie Topol. "Kale also contains fiber, an important nutrient for heart health and gut health. Lastly, kale is packed with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are nutrients that promote eye health." 

Convinced to get more kale into your diet but not so into it's less-than-ideal taste or texture? Topol offers up five new ways to add it into your diet, plus the secret to making kale tasty even if you do decide just to throw it in a salad.

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1 Add It to Homemade Hummus

If you haven't made hummus at home, you're missing out. Not only can you whip it up in no time with our 5-minute hummus recipe, you can go heavy on your favorite ingredients (hello, paprika!). That said, it's also a great way to sneak some kale into your diet. "In a food processor, add a handful of chopped kale into homemade or prepared hummus," says Topol. She explains that you won't even be able to taste it, but you'll still benefit from the nutrients!

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2 Throw It in Soups

No matter what kind of soup you're making, kale will cook down once it's in the broth-giving you all of the nutrients with none of the taste. Whether you want to toss it in before you use an immersion blender, or even as you're reheating chicken noodle soup, it's always a great option. Topol specifically recommends adding two cups of chopped kale to soups toward the end of cooking, and she calls out minestrone as a great option. Bonus points? Make this whole-grain minestrone soup, which features lots of whole grains and delicious parmesan. 

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3 Try a Kale Pesto

Pesto is already jam-packed with good-for-you greens like basil and garlic, but have you ever thought about adding in kale? "Add one cup of chopped kale into a pesto recipe," says Topol. Or if you want to try a whole new spin, skip basil and pine nuts and make this kale and walnut pesto to coat your pasta and find yourself fully confident that you're getting all of your greens. 

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4 Blend a Kale Smoothie

This has become my morning go-to, and it turns out that Topol loves the idea as well. You can make a kale-apple smoothie if you have a taste for something tart, or pretend you're beachside with this kale smoothie with pineapple and banana

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5 Crisp Up Some Kale Chips

If you've accidentally gone a little too heavy or light on the salt with your kale chips before, you're not alone. That said Topol has a super-easy and fool-proof solution: toss them in light soy sauce or tamari instead. If you're looking for a different take, try out this smoky kale chip recipe that will leave your mouth watering for more. 

And the Secret to a Better Tasting Kale Salad?

If you love salads, but you've found that kale can be a bit too dry, Topol suggests that you make sure to do a little prep work before you dig in. "Make sure to massage the chopped kale with a little olive oil and pinch of salt before adding other veggies or grains [in order] to tenderize the leaves," says Topol.

And if you're looking for an amazing dressing, it doesn't get much tastier (or easier to prepare!) than this mustard-lemon salad dressing recipe.