Crispy Coconut-Kale Barley Bowl

Crispy coconut kale

I am so glad I learned to cook in the age of the internet. I have tried so many new and interesting recipes, using ingredients and combinations that I never would have tried if I was just picking out cookbooks. There is something appealing about getting a first-hand review of a recipe, rather than speculating whether the meal will actually be good or not. I don’t know about you, but I have had my fare share of cookbooks where I swear the recipe was never tested. There was actually a cookbook that was so bad, after about 5 flops I was convinced I was a terrible cook. That thing went to goodwill, but it may have done more good in the trash!

I stumbled upon this recipe on Lemongrove Avenue, and I was immediately intrigued. Kale is a relatively new ingredient for me, and I’m always excited to try using it in new ways. Plus, add coconut to anything and I’m down with it. The original recipe called for 1/3 cup olive oil, which I just couldn’t stomach. Too much oil always makes me feel drowsy headache-y. I was able to cut it down to 2 tablespoons, which means I shaved off about 350 calories! The whole meal is extremely easy, and only took me about 30 minutes. Plus it was absolutely delicious, and is going on my “must make again” list.

Roughly shred the kale. I usually tear the leaves off the stems, roll them into a cigar and cut with my kitchen scissors.

Chopping Kale

Mix the olive oil, sesame oil and soy sauce well. Pour a little more than half of the sauce over the kale and coconut and toss well.

Crispy Coconut Kale

Bake kale and coconut for 15-20 minutes, until crispy.

While the kale is cooking, pour the rest of the sauce into a blender. Add tofu, ginger, pepper and water and blend well.

Sesame soy dressing

Once the kale has become crispy, serve over grains and top with the sesame soy dressing. Enjoy!

Crispy Coconut-Kale Barley Bowl

Inspired by Lemongrove Avenue

  • 4 cups kale, roughly shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup lite silken tofu
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger or 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • black pepper
  • 2-3 Tbs water
  • 2 cups cooked barley, rice, quinoa or other grain

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the olive oil, sesame oil and soy sauce into a small jar or bowl. Shake well or whisk to combine. Pour a little over half of the sauce onto the kale and coconut. Toss well to combine, and spread evenly in a large pan.

Cook kale mixture for 15-20 minutes until crispy, stirring occasionally.

While kale is cooking, pour remaining sauce into blender. Add tofu, ginger, cayenne, pepper and water. Blend until smooth.

When kale is finished cooking, place over grains. Drizzle about 2 Tbs tofu sauce over bowl.

Serves 2.

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Bean and Tofu Quiche

I’m still whittling away at the giant bag of greens I got this weekend, making something new each night. I’ve been trying to eat the greens from most perishable to least, and so far, nothing has gone to waste (but it’s a bit early to start patting myself on the back just yet!). It’s been a delicious adventure, trying all these new flavors.

Today’s greens are beet greens. These are quite similar to swiss chard in both texture and flavor, so I decided to turn to one of my favorite easy recipes: Fat Free Vegan’s Savory Swiss Chard Pie. However, I was lacking both half of the tofu and the onion. In the spirit of using what you have, I decided to sub a can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans) for half the tofu, and it worked beautifully! The beans made it taste even more savory, and added a buttery richness that just the tofu lacked. Tofu is just a processed bean anyways, so why not! This technique is now my go-to for using up leftover tofu, since I think it’ll work in nearly any proportion (and I always have a can of beans around).

I love the ruby red color contrasting that bright green!

The ever difficult "self pouring snapshot"

The top of the pie did shrink and crackle more than when I’ve made it with tofu only, but it looked quite neat.

‘Oops, not enough Tofu’ Pie

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan’s Savory Swiss Chard Pie

  • 12 ounces beet greens (or combination beet greens + other greens)
  • 4 large green onions, white part separated from green tops
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8oz leftover tofu (ideally silken), drained
  • 1 can cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 heaping Tbs cashews
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)

Preheat over to 375.

Chop the white base of the green onions and the stalks of the beet greens. Saute the stalks and onions on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.

Chop the beet green leaves and the tops of the green onions into bite sized pieces. Add garlic and the leaves to pan, stir well and cover. Let cook until mostly wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove lid and let the excess water cook off while leave continue to cook.

Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.

Evenly spread the cooked veggies into a pie pan sprayed with oil. Pour the tofu-bean mixture over the veggies. Using a spatula or fork, gently push the tofu mixture down though the veggies, so that it is incorporated, but not mixed.

Bake for 30 minutes, then let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.