Winner, winner, kale for dinner [Kale Surprise Pastry]

Trust me I’ve spent quite a while pondering what to tell you about this dish only to come to the conclusion that a) nothing will do it justice in anyway [yes, I’m that excited to share it], b) it [hopefully] doesn’t matter in anyway as you’re going to skip right down to the recipe in anyway [why are you still reading??] and c) a glance at the time tells me I should finally get writing :D.

with sauce

Until now my  simply when I couldn’t stop thinking about it resulting in multiple repeats in a short amount of weeks. Take the Hummus Bake for example: I can’t even remember how often I’ve had it the first time after coming up with the recipe let alone in total. The downside of living alone was that I had no additional taste testers. But on the upside I didn’t have to worry about disappointing others when a recipe idea didn’t work out. Now that I’m temporarily back at my parents’ and take over dinner responsibility once a week it’s a new level of difficulty. My parents have no worries voicing their disapproval of any dish I prepare especially regarding its vegan-ness.  Note that my parents are far from big meat eaters but actually eat a lot of accidentially vegan food like vegetable stir-fries or … Conclusion: it only turns into dangerously vegan food once it comes explicitly labeled as such.

Kale Pastry

same would be true for nutritious food coming under the guise of being healthy. Needless to say I’m not advertising my dishes touting the high Vitamin C content of kale, singing the protein praises of chickpeas or proclaiming the anti-inflammatory benefits of onions. For all of you interested in these facts, though, rejoice that this dish isn’t just absolutely tasty but you can feel virtuous eating it if that’s how you roll ;).


There wasn’t any need to worry with this dish, though. As soons as they’d had one bite of the flaky pastry, smoky spicy filling and creamy sauce they were won over. The kale was a surprise hit with my parents hence the name of the recipe. As mentioned in my What I ate Wednesday post my parents are only now discovering the versatility of kale through our family dinners. Does that make up for my bad blogger behaviour in terms of neither being fond of snack bars nor salads? I hope Gigi won’t mind me applying as a spokesperson at the National Kale Board ;).


Kale Surprise Pastry

  • 5 sheets phyllo dough
  • 6 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, then mashed
  • 2 heaped tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup soy creamer [I used Alpro Soya; might work with any other kind of unsweetened non-dairy creamer or real cream]

For the sauce:

  • coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp soy creamer [100 ml]
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Sauté the onion in coconut oil until slightly browned. Add the garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped kale and sauté until wilted.
  3. While the kale is cooking arrange the phyllo dough sheets in a greased springform pan so they’re overlapping.
  4. When the kale is wilted, stir in the mashed chickpeas, raisins, lemon juice and spices.
  5. Mix in soy cream and adjust seasonings if needed.
  6. Transfer the filling into the springform pan and enclose the pastry by using the parts of the dough overlapping on the sides of the pan.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes at 375 °F/175 °C.

For the sauce: Sauté the bell peppers in  coconut oil in a small pot. Add some water or broth and simmer covered until soft. Blend with the soy creamer and season to taste.

with sauce

I’m not entirely sure how many this would serve. Served with  three of us easily polished it off with no crumb left behind but if we all have pretty big appetites so I guess it’d serve four ‘normal’ people. Or two kale fiends …

If you’re not keen on kale [but also if you are] visit Kierston’s blog for more Recipe Friday deliciousness.

Happy Friday!

Happiness inducing today: A pleasantly busy day at work.


Tell me about your favourite kale recipes!

What’s your surefire sign a newly developped recipe has passed the ultimate taste test?

Edible lessons in satisfaction

If giving actual hugs via internet was possible I’d send one to each of you. For now, though, a simple thank you will have to suffice. When posting yesterday I didn’t know what to expect but reading all of your kind, understanding and supportive comment just makes me have to say it once more: my heart feels so full. All of you are awesome!

Like I said the initial struggle turned out to be a learning experience. Any kind of ‘slip-up’ I had used to be a fail in my eyes and made me feel I’d never make true progress in recovery. These days, I notice what happens, occasionally still feel disappointed by setbacks or repeatedly making the same ‘mistake’. But I also acknowledge them as lessons – and some need one or several repeats to fully sink in, right? At least I can say it took me multiple revisions to finally understand the citric acid cycle or analysis in school, too, so why would recovery be any different ;)?! Sorry for the lengthy intro. What I’m getting at was to say I’d share some more of my recent lessons [in satisfaction] while also loving my veggies on this What I ate Wednesday – and a side of chickpeas knowing Jenn will appreciate them. There we go!


Starting off with another recipe from Happy Herbivore Light & Lean found its way into my lunch box [and onto a plate for prettier pictures]. The Skinny Puttanesca jumped right at me when looking through the pasta chapter because I’m a huge fiend of green olives. Black ones? Keep them. Green, however, yes! Once more I tinkered the recipe to use what I had on hand. No storebought marinara but my usual quick from scratch recipe, kale instead of spinach. And though Lindsay lists chickpeas as an optional ingredient you know they are most definitely not optional for me.

Light & Lean_puttanesca

Two things about this recipe. First, if you read Carly’s [great] post on words that shouldn’t be used to describe food you’ll know that skinny is one of them. I’m using this here as it’s the original recipe title and that’s fine with me. Secondly: I honestly don’t like giving bad reviews. So let me start out by saying that yes, I did think the dish tasted good and I’ll probably have it again [given I’ll be able to locate another spaghetti squash – why, oh why is their season already over?]. However, I took it to the office with me where it served as a cold lunch. As mentioned before I’m not fond of cold main meals so this played into my rating. Also – and this once more might just be a subjective feeling – I wasn’t satisfied after finishing. Spaghetti squash is great but it’s not pasta. Next time I’d either add even more [and there already was half a cup in there] chickpeas or add some ‘real’ pasta/rice for a more satisfying dish.

Light & Lean_skinny puttanesca

Not all of my own creations are completely satisfying, either. More often than not a lack of creative cooking juices combined with special produce anxiety facing the question of how to use a new-to-me-ingredient best. Note that this was not the best way to try sunchokes for the first time. But it still was strange but good due to using a [vegan] cheezy broccoli sauce/soup as a base layer, topping it with all kinds of vegetables and – yes – cereal. Don’t knock it till you try it – they’re a great replacement for breadcrumbs when you’re out of the latter. And when the final dish wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped? Simple solution: eat more cereal. It was yet another sign I hadn’t eaten enough before and no reason for despair.

Strange but good_cereal topping

Making up for the unsatisfying – or: yet to be perfected – experience of that dish, however, was our last family dinner. With only a vague idea in mind and no recipe I simply hoped for a somewhat edible outcome – and was more than pleasantly surprised by the result. Some might assume I was on an ‘Eat more kale’ mission when serving my parents the blog world favourite at almost every family dinner. Actually, though, I’m not. Just being savvy when it comes to using up produce. Okay, maybe there’s a little newfound fondness for my parents had never eaten kale in any other form than as part of traditional German “Grünkohl” [kale stewed to mush with pork chop ribs and a specific type of sausage]. That’s why I was wary serving it to them as the main ingredient of a dish I created myself [read: that hadn’t gotten the approval of another blogger and his readership before].

Family dinner_kale pastry

I’m excited to share the recipe for this one with you on Friday. If you have yet to get into kale: this is the recipe for you. It’s approved by my dad and trust me when I say that says something.

Another sign of approval was received by this cake as my contribution to the buffet on New Year’s Eve. Though I was breaking two major rules of serving guests here: trying a new-to-me recipe and it being not just vegan but low-fat, too. It’s the Chocolate Cake from Light & Lean. Again an occasion of keeping my fingers crossed for the best but I didn’t expect getting rave reviews. Don’t you like when your expectations are exceeded?

HH Light & Lean_Chocolate cake

Seeing how long my post has already become I’ll leave it at that and wish you a very happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: Treating myself to something I’d been eyeing for ages [will share it soon].


What were some of your latest recipe hits and misses?

Are you wary of serving guests healthier fare?

Kale: yay or nay?