Your Complete Guide to Every Single Type of Kale (and How to Use Them)
Kale: Been there, done that. But wait, not so fast. There’s a wide world of kale out there, and some varieties are surprisingly sweet and tender. Keep this guide handy so you’ll choose the right variety the next time you make a Kale Caesar Salad.
It’s pretty obvious why they call this guy “curly.” And even though it’s tempting to tear up a few leaves and throw them in your salad, don’t eat it raw. Its bitter, peppery flavor and thick leaves become much more palatable when thrown into soups, stews and stir-fries. Making kale chips? Opt for this variety—the ridges trap plenty of olive oil, seasonings and cheese.
Lacinato Kale (aka Dinosaur Kale, Tuscan Kale or Black Kale)
OK, now bring on the raw kale salads and smoothies. This variety has flat, tender leaves and a mild, nutty flavor. It’s still on the tough side, so slice it into thin ribbons before digging in.
Usually sold prewashed in bags or clamshells, this young leafy green is similar to baby spinach but a tad more peppery. It’s great for weeknight salads because it requires zero prep (three cheers). Plus, it cooks in literally two seconds: Just toss it into a heaping plate of pasta to wilt it.
Ornamental Kale (aka Salad Savoy)
You won’t spot this frilly, colorful (white, green, or magenta) variety in the grocery store, but your wedding caterer probably used it to dress up the edges of veggie platters. Take a leaf out of their book and head to your local garden store before your next dinner party. One Pinterest-worthy tablescape, coming right up.