Friends, today I am bringing you a recipe from a local cookbook author on Martha’s Vineyard. A recipe for Kale Granola – one that will shock your taste buds with how delicious it is! The perfect on the go snack and currently on rotation as my quick breakfast this week and fuel for a busy life.
Recently, I received a copy of Catherine Walthers’ cookbook, “Kale, Glorious Kale: 100 Recipes for Nature’s Healthiest Green” and I was enthralled. Forget the trends and the hip restaurant recipes. In all honesty I can say that kale is hands down my favorite green. It’s hardy (stands up to heat), hearty (satisfies me when I’m starving) and delicious, so this book was heaven sent. A food writer and author of four other cookbooks, Catherine is a private chef on island and teaches local class in her West Tisbury Kitchen Lab here on Martha’s Vineyard. The other local connection to this book is that it’s photographer by Alison Shaw, an award-winning local photographer. Two creative women partnered to birth this book into the world and I’m excited to share it with you!
I’ll tell you more about the book in a second, but let’s talk about this kale granola. Imagine your favorite granola met some tasty maple-rubbed kale and had a baby. It’s like granola tossed with crispy, melt in your mouth kale chips. The sweet/savory combination of all these ingredients is what makes it interesting and unlike any other granola I’ve ever made, and I’ve made dozens of granola recipes before. This Kale Granola wins for healthiest, tastiest, and more provocative!
Now, we can’t have a full post about kale granola and not mention some of the benefits of eating kale and why you should include it in your diet. Below, top health benefits of kale:
- Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat.
- Kale is high in iron – a great source of plant based iron!
- Kale is high in Vitamin K, an essential nutrient necessary for responding to injuries.
- Kale is packed with antioxidants.
- Kale is high in calcium – great source of plant-based calcium!
- Kale is packed with fiber, making it a great detox food.
- Kale is amazing for your skin, as it’s packed with Vitamin A, an anti-aging nutrient.
- Kale is overflowing with potassium, which regulates and lowers blood pressure.
“Eat kale because you want to, not because it’s good for you.”
YES! I’ll stand behind this because I purchase kale weekly, wash and wrap it in a cloth towel to keep it fresh all week for smoothies, pasta dishes, and salads. In Catherine’s book, she has 100 recipes featuring this delicious green (which is sometimes red) in all its variations: Red Chidori, Winterbor, Winter Red, Spigariello Liscia, Red Russian, White Russian, Red Ursa, Toscanno, and Blue Scotch. The recipes in the cookbook are creative, like: Potato Kale Latkes, Ramen Kale Crunchy Slaw, Kale Pesto Pasta, and Kale-kopita.
- 5 cups curly kale (stripped from stalk, chopped or torn into large bite-sized pieces, rinsed and dried well)
- 6 tablespoons virgin coconut oil,* divided
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup pecans, walnuts or sliced almonds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup dried apricots, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
- ¼ cup raisins, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 300 °F.
- Make sure the kale is well dried. Place the kale in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Knead or massage with your hands until the coconut oil is rubbed on all the leaves. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 5 tablespoons of coconut oil, and the brown sugar, maple syrup, and ½ teaspoon of salt. In another larger bowl, combine the oats, nuts and seeds.
- Take 2 tablespoons of the wet ingredients and combine with the kale. Rub it over the leaves. Pour the rest over the oats mixture and mix very well until incorporated and oats are completely covered.
- Line two 12 x 17-inch baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Place the oats on one, spreading them out evenly, and the kale on the other sheet. (The kale seems to crisp up better separately, but you can mix the kale and oats together and it will work.) Bake all for about 25-30 minutes, mixing 2 or 3 times to prevent the outer edges from burning, and also rotating the trays. I sometimes switch the oven setting to convection bake if the mixture doesn’t seem to be crisping up. Remove the kale when it is crispy, but not browned. Remove the oats when they are crispy or nearly crispy and before the nuts are burned. Both with get crispier once they sit on the counter to cool.
- When cooled, combine the kale with the oats. Add the dried fruit. Pack into mason jars for storage.
- Cook’s Note: I’ve switched to coconut oil instead of canola oil for making granola (though substitute canola or another vegetable oil if that is what you have.) I love the subtle flavor coconut adds, and nutritionists are recommending its healthier properties. In warmer weather, coconut oil looks like an oil; in cooler weather it tends to solidify. For this recipe, if solidified, I usually put the jar in a saucepan of hot water until it becomes liquid again. Also, if you mix it with cold maple syrup it tends to solidify again which makes it hard to coat the oats and kale, so I usually just have maple room temp or heat it up very slightly before mixing the liquid ingredients.
p.s.: The pottery pieces used in this post are made by a talented island potter, Leslie Freeman, who creates handmade, functional, and colorful stoneware pottery on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. You can find her work over on Etsy at Leslie Freeman Designs.