An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook


Kale Tacos

Despite the cloudy weather predictions, last night was a beautifully sunny evening.  So I hopped in my car after work and headed down to the Columbia City Farmer's Market.  This was my first time there this season, and it was full of smiles and fresh produce.  I arrived in the last hour, so I was quickly walking around on a mission with my tote bag and wallet in hand.  My usual plan is to do a full lap, scanning all the goods, while taking mental notes.  Then I go back to the starting line to make my purchases.

While on lap number one, I spotted dozens of varieties of greens.  So this sparked my dinner plans.  Kale tacos!  Using kale leaves as taco shells makes for a nice light dinner.  And the best part is that you can fill them with whatever sorts of fillings you want.  I was drawn to another green, dotted with little yellow flowers, which turned out to be rapini.  I asked the farmer how to prepare it, and she suggested sauteing it and adding to pasta with cheese.  Check.  Will be doing that very soon.  I also got some 'Easter Egg' radishes...which live up to their name.  And to finish off the trip with style, I bought a $5 bouquet of the most fragrant flowers.

One suggestion I want to make when you make kale tacos, or any other recipe, is to make it fun.  Set all the fixings for the tacos in bowls and make an assembly station that shows off all of your creative work, even if you are eating alone.  I cooked some black-eyed peas from dried last week, in my new found skill set.  So I pulled them out of the freezer along with a little bit of frozen corn.  I really thought I had half of an onion in my refrigerator, so was visably disappointed when there were none in there.  For replacement, I decided to use a lot of garlic.  And as I reached for the bulb, realized I had three mini shallots!  So I could have (sort of ) an onion.  I recently fixed a shredded carrot salad, which was so refreshing.  So I shredded a few and tossed them with lime juice and red pepper flakes for the vegetable portion of the taco.

Also the great part about using greens as a taco shell is that you can use any variety of green.  Collard greens would be a sturdy wrapping especially if you are using meat or hefty fillings.  Chard or any other variety of kale would work too.  Or if you wanted mini tacos, use spinach.  Whatever you choose will make for a lively dining experience and will leave you feeling pleasantly full.

Kale Tacos
Yields about 2 servings

Tacos are a festive summer dinner items...and why not make them more colorful and a lighter?  This type of recipe is an empty canvas.  You can use the traditional fixings like ground beef, lettuce, cheese and salsa.  Or any other of vegetable and protein combination.   Let your imagination run wild.

1 Tbsp olive oil
3 small shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup black-eyed peas, precooked (either homemade or canned)
1/4 cup corn, fresh or frozen
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 lime, juiced
Red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, any variety

Heat a medium saute pan over low to medium heat.  Add the olive oil.  Drop in the shallots and saute for about 5 minutes, ensuring they don't burn.  If they start to brown to early, turn the heat down.  Add the garlic, cumin, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Saute for about 1 minute.

Take the shallots and onion out of the pan and pour into a small bowl for later.  Add the black-eyed peas and corn into the same pan.  Saute for a few minutes.  Add the shallots and garlic back in and stir well.  Turn off heat.

Shred the carrots and toss with lime juice and red pepper flakes.  Soak the kale leaves in a bowl of cold water.  Rinse each leaf off and dry well.  Cut off any tough stem parts.
Assemble the tacos with the black-eyed pea mixture, shredded carrots, parsley and a spritz of lime juice.  Eat immediately alongside a nice cold lager.


Alex said...

I would never have thought of using kale for tacos. what an original idea! I love kale

Alli Shircliff said...

Thanks Alex! It makes for a nice light dinner!