Can You Cook Kale in the Microwave?

The early aughts brought us so many things that are still a part of the cultural zeitgeist– from pop music icons to unique fashion trends to kale. You remember kale– The powerhouse of a leafy green you so commonly see featured in green juices and chopped salads. Kale was put on the map in the early 2000s by the health food community and has since continued to work it’s way up the popularity ladder. 

Kale is often seen on menus among some high-brow offerings, so it may come as a surprise that you can cook kale in the microwave using nothing more than a microwave-safe bowl, water, or cooking oil. 

What Is Kale?

Kale is a leafy green. It’s hearty, packed with nutrients, and in the same family as broccoli and brussel sprouts. Kale is similar to cabbage in that it is tolerant to heat and cold and can be grown year-round. Kale has a sweet-yet-bitter earthy taste and can be steamed, sauteed, fried, juiced, or even eaten raw. 

Health Benefits of Kale

When discussing foods that can be prepared in the microwave, one is not likely not to assume that what they’re “nuking” could have some serious health benefits. Well, that is absolutely the case with kale, and is a major reason for its rise in popularity. Kale contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin A p
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

One cup of kale also contains 3 grams of protein and 2.5 grams of fiber at only 33 calories. 

Different Types of Kale 

The most popular type of kale, and the one you’re most likely to see on the shelves at your supermarket, is dark green kale. Even though the dark green variety gets the most retail space, several other varieties are worth trying as well:

  • Curly Kale 
  • Tuscan or “Dinosaur” Kale
  • Siberian Kale
  • Chinese Kale or Kailaan

Regardless of the kale variety you choose, the steps for cooking kale in the microwave will work just as well for every type. 

How to cook Kale in the Microwave

When cooking kale in the microwave, there’s one question you need to ask yourself– tender or crispy? Both can be achieved using just a bowl, but your preference dictates whether you will be using water or oil in the bowl. 

Making Crispy Kale in the Microwave 

Crispy kale, or kale chips, can be enjoyed on their own with a sprinkle of salt and pepper or topped with your favorite dip for a savory snack. They can also be prepared in less than three minutes. 

How to Cook Crispy Kale in the Microwave

  1. Remove the center “rib” from a bunch of kale and cut or tear the remaining leaves into 2-inch pieces. 
  2. Arrange the cut pieces onto a microwave-safe plate, ensuring they do not overlap. 
  3. Drizzle the kale leaves with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 
  4. Cook kale in the microwave until crispy, about 2-2 ½ minutes. 

Carefully remove plate from microwave and sprinkle sea salt to taste before enjoying. 

Making Steamed Kale in the Microwave

If crispy kale isn’t what you’re looking for, steaming kale in the microwave is an equally-delicious option. To do this, all you’ll need is a microwave-safe bowl, a teaspoon of kale, and a paper towel. 

  1. Remove the center “rib” from a bunch of kale and cut or tear the remaining leaves into 2-inch pieces. 
  2. Place kale in microwave safe bowl with a teaspoon of water and cover with a paper towel. It is also possible to use microwave safe plastic wrap, so long as you poke a hole in the top. 
  3. Microwave the kale on high for 2 minutes for every 2 cups of kale being prepared. 
  4. Carefully remove kale from microwave and use a strainer to drain the excess water from the bowl. 

Steamed kale makes an excellent side dish when a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of lemon juice is added. 

Final Thoughts

Kale is a veritable powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. It comes in several varieties, all of which can be cooked in the microwave and have varying bitter, sweet, and earthy elements. So whether you want to enjoy it steamed or fried, cooking kale in the microwave is a quick, easy, and low-calorie way to boost your overall health.