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Easy dinner recipes: Kale three ways for gluten-free Wednesday

Love kale? Even if you don't consider yourself a fan, these options are bound to have you asking for seconds. Best of all, they're perfect for gluten-free Wednesday.

AOC's cavolo nero: You'll love this recipe for its simplicity and immense flavor. Seasoned with onion, garlic, rosemary and a dried chile de árbol for a little heat, the kale is slowly cooked to the point of caramelization for extra rich color and depth of flavor.

Gjelina's grilled Russian kale: Quickly charred Russian kale is topped with a bright yogurt dressing flavored with garlic, shallot, fresh mint and a touch of red wine vinegar. Sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts and this salad works well as a simple dinner on its own, served with a cool glass of wine, or a substantial side. Make this recipe from Gjelina chef Travis Lett in less than 30 minutes.

RECIPES: 99 easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less

Little Dom's Tuscan kale salad: Because of their rather tough texture, greens such as kale are often cooked to tenderize them before serving. But gently rubbing a bright vinaigrette onto the cut greens also works to soften their texture, making for a wonderfully fresh salad with crisp, assertive notes. Top it with a few grilled baby carrots for an extra touch of color and you have a finished dish in under 30 minutes.

You can find all of the recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at

MORE RECIPES: 99 ADDITIONAL easy dinner ideas in about an hour or less


Total time: About 1 hour

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from Suzanne Goin of Lucques. Cavolo nero (black kale) is also known as Tuscan, Lacinato and dinosaur kale.

4 bunches cavolo nero, stemmed and cleaned

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 white onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

1/2 sprig rosemary

1 dried chile de árbol

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided, more as needed

2 tablespoons chicken broth or water, optional

1. Blanch the cavolo nero in a large pot of salted, boiling water just until softened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the cavolo nero and immediately place it in a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again and set aside.

2. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan heated over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onions, rosemary and chile de árbol. Gently sauté for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt. Continue to cook until the onions are transparent and just beginning to color, an additional 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Stir the cavolo nero into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 30 to 40 minutes. As it cooks, the cavolo nero will turn a deep dark green, almost black color, and the texture will go from soft to almost a little crisp from caramelizing on the bottom of the pan. This is good and will enhance the flavor. If the cavolo nero becomes too dry, add a little stock or water to moisten the bottom of the pan. Season with the remaining one-fourth teaspoon salt and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

Each of 6 servings: 120 calories; 2 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 10 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 224 mg. sodium.


Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from Travis Lett of Gjelina. Lett suggests Russian kale from Coleman Farm or Flora Bella Farm.

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 shallot, very thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

10 mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste


Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup raw hazelnuts (skin on)

2 bunches Russian kale, stems removed

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and heat a grill pan over medium-high heat until hot.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, shallot, garlic, mint, one-fourth cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, one-fourth teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon pepper. Adjust the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. This makes about 1½ cups dressing, more than is needed for the remainder of this recipe. The dressing will keep for up to 3 days; keep covered and refrigerated until ready to use.

3. Place the hazelnuts on a jellyroll pan and toast in the oven until fragrant and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts to a clean, damp kitchen towel and rub to remove the skins. Roughly chop and set aside.

4. Place the greens in a bowl and lightly coat with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Lightly season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Splash with a little cold water to help create steam on the grill. Place the greens on the hottest part of the grill until they slightly char, 1 to 2 minutes depending on the temperature of the grill. Start to move the greens around to avoid burning and continue wilting for another minute or so. They should be slightly charred around the edges and nicely softened in the center. Remove the greens to a large bowl and toss with enough dressing to lightly coat. Divide the salad among 4 serving plates, and divide the hazelnuts among the servings, sprinkling them over each salad. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 303 calories; 8 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 26 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 103 mg sodium.


Total time: 25 minutes

Servings: 2 to 4

Note: Adapted from Little Dom's in Los Angeles

Grilled carrots


4 baby heirloom carrots, peeled

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Salt, pepper

1/4 teaspoon coarsely chopped oregano

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1. In a small pot of salted, boiling water, blanch the carrots just until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and shock the carrots in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, then drain and split lengthwise.

2. Toss the carrots in a bowl with the olive oil, one-eighth teaspoon salt, one-eighth teaspoon pepper, oregano and vinegar.

3. On a grill heated over medium-high heat, grill the carrots for grill marks and to warm through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place.

Salad and assembly

Juice of ½ lemon

Juice of ¼ orange

1/4 teaspoon finely chopped shallots

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt, pepper

1 bunch Tuscan kale, stems removed and julienned

Grilled carrots

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon and orange juice, shallots, vinegar, oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Toss in the kale, gently rubbing the dressing into the kale (the rubbing will soften the kale slightly).

2. Plate the salad, garnishing each serving with grilled carrots. Take any remaining dressing from the bottom of the bowl and pour over the carrots and salad. Serve immediately.

Each of 4 servings: 188 calories; 4 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 14 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 131 mg sodium.


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