Hey, Thanksgiving: You’ve Got Kale

This is crazy. Thanksgiving is in four days. WHERE IS TIME? And does it know how to cook a turkey in the microwave?

Anyway, here we are, on Monday morning, steeped in things to do, people to see and the encroaching fear of what to make for Thanksgiving dinner. Well, good thing it’s time for another edition of Make Your Market, our weekly West Oceanfront series on how to take the deliciousness of the Newport Beach Farmers’ Market and turn it into deliciousness on your plate.

This week, we’re exploring the wild world of kale. The leafy vegetable is not only trendy but also a hearty ingredient to star in your new, favorite Thanksgiving side dish. Hold up, though. Before we get into the recipe, here’s our brief pitch on why kale is worth the leaf:

Did you know …?
  • One cup of kale contains just 33 calories, almost 3 grams of protein and 2.5 grams of fiber.
  • Kale is also packed with vitamins A, C and K, and our recipe doesn’t call for boiling the kale, so the nutrients can be preserved.
  • Kale contains folate, a B vitamin that’s important in brain development. (Translation: Have the kiddos try this dish, too.)
  • Other nutrients in kale include: An omega-3 fatty acid called Alpha-linolenic; lutein and zeaxanthin, responsible for giving kale its forest-green coloring; and minerals like phosphorous, potassium, calcium and zinc.

At the Newport Beach Farmers’ Market, Divine Harvest Family Farms usually carries two varieties of kale: curly kale, which tastes hearty and a hint bitter (in the best way possible), and Lacinato (or dinosaur) kale, which has tall, narrow leaves and a more earthy, nutty flavor. This recipe can be made with either variety but we chose curly kale, bought Sunday from Divine Family Farms’ booth, because we saw it first in the refrigerator.

Here’s how to make a kale side dish this Thursday:



(Serves two. Double, triple or quadruple as necessary.)


*Note* Ingredients from the Newport Beach Farmers Market are listed in BOLD

  • 1 big bunch of curly kale (if you use Lacinato kale, use two to three bunches) from Divine Harvest Family Farms 
  • 1/4 c. California olive oil
  • 1/4 c. raw almonds from Hopkins AG 
  • 2 persimmons (If the persimmons you bought still aren’t ripe, you can use dried cranberries from your local grocery store, ours weren’t yet ready—they should feel like a water balloon when you squeeze them—so we substituted for cranberries and will make this with persimmons Thursday morning, hence the photo above with cranberries.)
  • 1/4 c. feta cheese
  • 1/2 sweet onion from Divine Harvest Family Farms 
  • 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Slice the onion and place in a small bowl. Coat with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili flakes, and mix until onions are coated. Add olive oil to a medium-sized sauté pan, add onions and cook on medium heat. Cook until onions turn golden brown.
  • Rough chop the almonds and add to a small, sauce pan on medium heat. Mix the almonds occasionally until they, too, turn a bit golden. Watch this pan! Nuts burn quickly, so make sure you remove the almonds from the heat once they’re toasty. (No oil necessary for this one.)
  • Rough chop the kale, removing the middle stem because it’s incredibly bitter and nobody wants that on their Thanksgiving plate. Add the kale to the pan but watch it! Kale goes from leafy and full to wilted REAL quick; you just want the kale to cook 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (to taste), garlic powder and chili flakes.
  • Turn the heat down to a simmer and add in the permissions (rough chopped, with skin removed) and 1 tbsp. of the Parmesan cheese.
  • Transfer ingredients to a serving bowl. Add the feta cheese and the rest of the Parmesan cheese on top. Finish with a crank or two of cracked pepper and enjoy!