Kale and Cauliflower rice with a Polenta broccoli tower

Ready in: 50 minutes (less if you opt to shorten cooking time for Kale)
Serves: 4
*Gluten free 
*Dairy free

*Vegetarian – simply change stock to vegetable

Well, this the first dish I have created with my very own home grown Cavolo Nero, dinosaur Kale or Tuscan Kale at you may know it.  I grew curly Kale last year so I was keen for a change in variety.

I served this meal to my husband, eldest son Flynn 4 1/2, and Max 2 years.  I was pretty chuffed with the results.  They can be a tough crowd and my husband is not fussed on Kale to say the least.  So when they (hubby and Flynn) smashed it back, with a clean plate I was rather surprised.  Flynn didn’t even bat an eyelid at it or take much notice of the Kale.  Which was unusual as they boys are good at picking out the green stuff!  As for Max, I think the amount of food he consumed prior to dinner gave little space for anything! Hence he didn’t touch his meal.

I just love it when you try something new and you totally don’t expect to go well and low and behold it does!  It just goes to show, don’t give up on the challenge of feeding little people or the hubby and trying something new.  I always go in with an open mind when I mix up the menu.  It’s so liberating changing up the menu and getting creative in the kitchen.  It’s easy to stick to our safe standard meals that you know the family will eat, but that gets oh so boring and where is the challenge in that?

Change your approach to changing your meals.  It could be simply trying one new recipe with a few new ingredients.  Before you know it you will be experimenting with a range of vegetables you never thought you would eat!  Sometimes it’s just the texture that wins everyone over, colour, aroma or simply everyone is mad hungry when you serve up dinner.   Whatever the reason, don’t give up on changing it up!

1 Cup Polenta
2 Cup chicken stock (use vegetable stock if vegetarian)
400ml coconut cream
salt/pepper to taste
1/4 cup cheese
1/2 Cauliflower (blitz into rice texture)
1 lemon or lime (zest and juice of half)
chilli flakes to taste (optional)
Kale leaves/stalks
olive oil
1 Tsp avocado oil

Steam Kale for 40 minutes or until goes dark/black.  Let it cool then squeeze out the excess moisture.  Then finely slice (Chiffonade-means to finely slice) your Kale and set aside.

To prepare Cauliflower rice:

Cut cauliflower into large florets and place in food processor.  Blitz until it resembles a rice like consistency, place into a bowl and set aside.  Wash Kale and remove stalky bits.  Zest your lemon and juice.  Peel and mince garlic.

Heat oil in a pan, then sauté garlic for 1 minute add cauliflower.  Mix together and toss occasionally until texture softens, add lemon zest,  juice, then kale.  Mix well – Season before serving.  At this stage, I add my chilli flakes, after I’ve served the kids!

For the polenta:

Cut the broccoli into bite size florets. I also slice the stalk into bite size chunks to avoid waste.  Steam broccoli for 5 minutes then refresh. *Refresh means to plunge into the cold running water to prevent further cooking.   This helps retain shape and colour. 

In a pot add your chicken stock, coconut cream and bring to the boil.  Then add polenta to your pot whisking continuously.  Lower heat slightly so polenta is gently simmering while you stir.  Whisk until the polenta gently thickens and slow bubbles erupt.  This should take about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Add your cheese, salt and pepper and broccoli.

To serve I used stainless steel food rings to put my polenta in for presentation.  If you don’t have these try using a ramekin, or just spoon onto a plate.  Guess what? it tastes just the same even if you slap it on the plate and just to get the hungry toads eating asap!

Cooking Tip:
I am following the Italian method whereby they state Cavolo Nero (Tuscan Kale) should not be undercooked.   This was the advice of an Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli in his book, Made in Italy says “The cabbage doesn’t look black at all when it is raw — it is a dark green colour, but once it has been cooked properly (for around 40 minutes) it turns completely black — don’t listen to anyone who suggests just blanching Cavolo Nero briefly, because such short cooking doesn’t bring out the flavour or soften the bitterness.”  So if you are wondering why I steamed it for 40 minutes theres your answer.  I wanted to be an Italian!  However, you can opt to steam for a shorter period – like 10 minutes. 

There are so many sites that suggest raw is the best way to eat Cavolo Nero, no, cooked is the best nutritional value blah blah blah.  The information out there is all so very conflicting.  So all I’m saying is go with your preference at the end of the day.  After all, you are the one eating it!

I would love to hear your feedback on this?  Did the family give it a go?  Did you manage to convert a friend or hubby?


Rachael xo



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