Hi Levita! It’s Erika from Maret. I was looking for a recipe for some meat-free kale, and came across the post written by your guest-blogger about the event at Saks. Reading about those delicious-sounding greens you prepared made my mouth start watering, and I was wondering if you might be willing to share the recipe? I’d like to prepare them for the next gathering of a book club I am in. Hope all is well — love reading your blog!

Thank you so much, Erika, for following Vita’s Vegan Ventures and for leaving this food question. Your inquiry about that garlicky kale recipe is perfect because I had planned to blog about it for my Thanksgiving series.

Growing up down South in Memphis, Tennessee, I remember my grandmother picking greens, sometimes on the front porch or at the kitchen table with a tub at her feet. Other times, she’d pick them right over a sink filled with water and a little vinegar for soaking. 

Meanwhile, she’d boil a piece of fatback or ham hocks in a big pot of water for what seemed like half a day. Then she’d add her picked greens and cook them for what seemed like the other half of the day.

By the time the greens were ready, their vibrant green color had transformed to brown(ish) and their tenderness to mush(iness). Nevertheless, the greens were delicious and the pot liquor was perfect for some sopping up with warm, buttermilk cornbread.

However, since adopting a vegan diet, I have modified my grandmother’s recipe in favor of one that uses little, if any, water, relies on no meat for seasoning, and cooks in a fraction of the time. 

I’ve found that many foods, including kale, contain enough water to aid the cooking process, particularly when they are prepared in a pot with a tightly fitting lid. I love using Bragg’s Liquid Amino’s, a non-fermented, soy-based vegetable protein, for salt in my greens and other dishes that I grew up seasoning with meat. 

Another key to preparing a healthy, yet just-as-delicious-as-my-grandmother’s-pot-of-greens is chopping them finely and adding crushed red pepper flakes, or better yet, adding some slithers of smoked jalapeño, aka chipotle pepper, which results in a spicy kick and a hint of smokiness that traditionally comes from meat.

Not only is kale quick and easy to prepare, but it also does a body real good. Coming from the same family as cabbage, collard greens and brussel sprouts, kale is a great source of beta carotene, calcium, iron, and vitamins C and E.

While green curly kale is what we see most often in grocery stores, kale comes in many different varieties, including red curly and dinosaur, which is my absolute favorite. I’ve only seen all three in Whole Foods. The recipe below can be applied to all three kinds.

Vita’s Garlicky Kale

1 lb Kale (thoroughly washed)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons Braggs’s Liquid Aminos

2 tablespoons Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

2 teaspoons agave nectar or raw sugar

1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes or 1/2 of a dry chipotle pepper

Levita’s garlicky kale (Levita D. Mondie )

Add thoroughly rinsed, finely chopped kale to the pot and seal with a tightly fitting lid. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes before stirring. Gently stir after the kale has wilted. Continue to cook until the kale is tender to your taste. I suggest 10 – 15 minutes more of  cooking.

Enjoy! Richly colored kale can be a delicious accompaniment to my better than candied yams.

More on The Root DC

D.C. Students explore Brazil

Are you black, white or what?