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Green fingered: Anna Jones' resourceful kale recipes | The modern cook | Food


Recently I’ve been trying to fill our plates with as much greenery as I can. We are shopping for food less regularly and buying veg in bulk, meaning greens are often not at their freshest by the time I use them. This week, I created two recipes that made use of tired greens; both are inspired by food photographer Joe Woodhouse, who is one of the most inventive vegetable cooks I can think of.

All greens pasta (pictured top)

This recipe is mainly about the sauce, which can be kept in the fridge or freezer and used for a hit of green with pasta or any grain when fresh reserves are running low. Here I’ve put it with some orzo and some buttery fried leeks, but almost any other veg would work.

Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4

5 tbsp olive oil
2 onions
, peeled and finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp white-wine vinegar
500g greens
(such as kale, spring greens or cavolo nero), shredded
2 leeks
(or another green veg of your choice)
400g pasta
(I used orzo)
Hard cheese
(such as cheddar, parmesan, pecorino, comte), to finish (optional)

Put a frying pan on medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil, then the onions, and cook for 10-15 minutes, until soft and sweet. Add the garlic and cook for another three minutes, then add the vinegar and let it evaporate.

Next, stir in the greens and leave them to cook for a couple of minutes, so they are wilted but still have their colour (how long this takes will depend on what type of greens you are using – spring greens will take longer than kale, for instance). Put the lot into a blender with the rest of the olive oil, and blitz until you have a thin, green sauce, adding a little water if you need to loosen it.

Prepare your other veg: I used leeks, which I cut into 2cm rounds and fried in butter until soft.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water to packet instructions, then drain, reserving a little of the cooking water.

Put the pasta back into the pan and toss it with about four tablespoons of the green sauce (you might need more or less – trust your judgement), add a little of the cooking water to loosen, and then add the leeks. Serve topped with a good grating of cheese.

Peanut butter roasted kale

Roasting kale (or any green) until crisp in this peanut-buttery dressing elevates it from a likeable green to a snack that is fought over. Eat straight from the bowl or use to top soups, dal, rice and noodles.





Anna Jones’ roasted kale with peanut butter dressing



Anna Jones’ roasted kale with peanut butter dressing. Photograph: Anna Jones/The Guardian. Food and prop styling: Anna Jones.

Prep 5 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 2

1 head kale or other green (roughly 500g)
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
(or other nut butter or tahini)
1 small thumb ginger
, grated
1 splash vinegar
or a squeeze of lemon or lime juice
1 tsp soy sauce
(or a pinch of salt)

Tear the kale or greens from the stalks. Rip the leaves into bite-sized pieces and slice the stalks finely. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl with a tablespoon of cold water until you have a spoonable dressing. Toss the kale in the dressing.

Lay the kale on baking trays in one layer (you may need two trays). Roast for 15-20 minutes, until crisp.

Leave to cool before eating. I eat these as a snack or next to some buttered rice with lots of toasted sesame seeds and a fried egg.

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