Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Recipe: Kale and Cabbage Gratin

Serve this hearty gratin as a main dish or at a potluck. It’s good hot or at room temperature. The recipe is inspired by one I saw in the New York Times. I am using fresh kale right now, but you could also use frozen kale, collards, turnip greens, or others. Feel free to use what you have available in season and on hand. The hardest part of this recipe is remembering to start the rice cooking about 2 hours before you want to eat (unless you have some cooked and on hand ready to use!).


• 1/2 to 1 pound kale, preferably cavolo nero, stemmed only if stems are thick and tough, washed thoroughly and cut in slivers (use the larger amount if you have it - I only had 1/2# and that amount looked "skimpy" after being combined with the cabbage)

• 1 pound cabbage, preferably savoy cabbage, quartered, cored and cut in slivers

• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• 1 medium onion, finely chopped

• 2-4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed

• 6 leaves fresh sage, chopped

• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

• Optional - Salt, preferably kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste

• 2 eggs

• 2 cups rice, preferably a short grain rice like Arborio, or brown rice, cooked

• 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup, loosely packed)

• 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, preferably whole wheat


Cook rice before chopping vegetables, or use some previously cooked rice that may be in your refrigerator or freezer.

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a two-quart casserole baking dish.

2. Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender and translucent, about five minutes.

3. Stir in the garlic, sage and thyme, and cook for another minute until fragrant.

4. Stir in the kale. Cook in the liquid left on the leaves after washing until the kale begins to wilt. Stir often, and when most of the kale has wilted, add the cabbage and salt.

5. Add 1/2 cup water, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes until the water has evaporated; the kale and cabbage should be wilted and fragrant but still have some texture and color.

5. Add pepper, taste and adjust salt.

6. Beat the eggs in a bowl, and stir in the cooked vegetables, the rice and cheese.

7. Stir together well, and scrape into the baking dish.

8. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top, and drizzle on the remaining olive oil.

9. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until firm and browned on the top. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve hot or warm.

Yield: Serves 6 as a main dish but many more at a potluck.

Advance preparation: This can be made a day ahead and reheated or simply brought to room temperature. Or prepare the vegetables through step 1 a day ahead, and assemble the dish the next day.

(Photo: Kale and Cabbage Gratin ingredients)

(Photo: Fresh sage, lemon thyme, marjoram)

(Photo: kale, cabbage, farm-fresh eggs)

(Photo: Garlic and cippolini onions - our last onions from 2009 growing season)

(Photo: Cabbage, kale, onions, garlic, and herbs in cast iron skillet)

(Photo: Eggs, rice, and feta cheese mixture)

(Photo: Egg mixture with cooked kale and cabbage and seasonings added)

(Photo: Kale and Cabbage Gratin in the baking dish almost ready to put in the oven)

(Photo: Last step - topping with bread crumbs and remaining olive oil drizzled on top)

(Photo: Kale and Cabbage Gratin - done, cooling, and smelling too good to wait to eat!)

Serve with a hearty whole grain bread, some other cooked vegetable (something colorful like carrots or beets or stewed/fresh tomatoes) and some fruit in season.

Yum, yum - the sage seasoning makes the house smell faintly of Thanksgiving while cooking, but the lemon thyme makes your hands and kitchen smell like a summer herb garden. Enjoy!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


TeacherPatti said...

It was absolutely delicious!! Thanks for bringing it to the potluck!

Diana Dyer said...

What little was left is already gone, already enjoyed for lunch by Dick and me. That recipe is a winner to make again, next time with even more kale!

Jen said...

Oh, yay, I loved this!!! I am so making it. I posted the salad recipe today, too. ;-)

Ruth Trowbridge said...

I came here from Mr. H's blog "subsistence pattern" - first time - and omg I am drooling right now - this does not happen often - your tutorial is excellent - off to read more - thank you - peace

Diana Dyer said...

Ruralrose - thanks for winding your way to my kale blog, which is so much fun for me to do! I linked back through your great photo to take a peek at your own blog (Life through the Cracks) and appreciate the title of your last post - Secret to Happiness - Messy is All Right. :-) Our own farm transition is also "messy", but a wonderful "mess" to have!

kate said...

This was fantastic!! Thank you for the great recipe... and great blog! I made this recently (substituting barley for rice to make it more local to to where I live: Scotland) and it was delicious!

Diana Dyer said...

Hi Kate
Thanks for stopping by my kale blog. Barley would be great! I'll try that next time. I sure hope I get back to Scotland some day. One week was simply not enough time to visit your country!

Marie from RI said...

As a life long vegetarian I had never eaten kale until a friend made your kale and cabbage recipe. It's great and I will be making it weekly when I get back to Rhode Island.
Cheers from Minneapolis Marie M

Diana Dyer said...

HI Marie
Thanks for your comments on this delicious recipe. I have rice made in the refrig, so I'll head off to the farmers' market this afternoon to get some locally grown cabbage and then Voila! we now have supper planned! Yes, I love this recipe, too. Welcome to the 'kale klan'. :-)


PS - When I looked at the photos, my brain had to do some flip-flops to get re-oriented since they were taken in the kitchen of our old house.

SJB said...

This is a great recipe! As an aspiring Nutritionist in Scotland I am going to share this with everyone as people have no idea about how good and healthy kale is, and it's yummy too! Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to try some more of your kale recipes :)

Diana Dyer said...

SJB - I have everything in my refrig or pantry to make this again tonight! It has become a 'go-to' recipe for us - in fact a dietetic student living with us at the moment has made this recipe for her parents who are now kale fans, too!

I have heard that some form of kale actually originated in Scotland. Now I am more inspired to dig into that question a little more. Thanks for helping your community love to eat a true super-star food!

Haven on the Bay B&B Inn said...

It seems that this recipe has not been commented on in 2 years. But it came up on a search when looking for something to make. I had the kale and cabbage but decided to add some sweet potato, turnip and carrot. It is fantastic! Thank you for the inspiration.

Diana Dyer said...

Dear Haven,
Thanks for finding your way to my blog. Most of my recipes are really flexible. I am salivating while imagining your additions. I recently took this dish to a potluck for the farmers at one of the farmers' markets we attend, and it received rave reviews! It's worth the time to make it. Thanks again for finding your way here - I hope you explore a bit and find your way to my main blog www.dianadyer.com where I have dozens and dozens of delicious, healthy recipes.