This vegan creamy kale is made with a garlicky simmering of curly kale in creamy cashew milk. It makes a perfect addition to a holiday table, or a simple but delicious weeknight side dish.
I've been having a seriously hard time with Thanksgiving recipes this year. Normally, about a third or so of the recipes I make never end up on this blog, because I just don't like them enough. This is fine, and totally expected, but every now and then I hit a rough patch, where I bomb on everything for weeks. That just happens to be what's been happening with the majority of my planned Thanksgiving posts for the year. It's rough. How did I manage to screw up mashed potatoes? I don't know, but they were awful. My sweet potatoes turned out to be a soggy mess. I even tried to create a fancy stuffed puff pastry main course thing, and despite the fact that it's pretty darn challenging to make anything out of puff pastry that isn't absolutely delicious, I did.
So I decided to go back to something tried and true. My first year blogging I shared a recipe for vegan creamed kale, which was awesome, but the photos weren't all that great. I'd been meaning to update the photos, and figured about now, in the midst of a bunch of epic holiday fails, would be the right time. As things turned out, I couldn't manage to stick to the original recipe.
Ah well. I did make it better though! While the original was a simple simmering of kale and cashew milk, this time around I decided some garlic was needed. I also thickened up the creamy cashew mixture with just a bit of flour, which did awesome things. As much as I love cashew milk, the one issue I have with it in recipes like this is the fact that you I never, ever seem to get it 100% smooth. Like, it might taste smooth, but you can always see little microscopic bits of cashew in the mix, and that bugs the heck out of me. A little bit of flour smoothed things out perfectly, and I feel confident when I say that this creamy vegan kale is just as rich and luscious as any dairy version that may have ever graced your holiday table.
Vegan Creamy Kale, Version 2.0
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 large bunch curly kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice, or to taste
- 1 tbsp. whole wheat flour
- salt and pepper to taste
Place cashews and water into blender or small food processor bowl. Blend until very smooth.
Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add vegetable broth and kale. Cover and allow kale to steam until fully wilted, about 5 minutes, removing lid and flipping every so often.
Remove lid from pot and add cashew milk. Stir a few times to incorporate. Bring to a simmer and lower heat. Allow to simmer, uncovered, until liquid reduces by about half, about 5 minutes.
Stir in lemon juice. Add flour, a little bit at a time, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
For a gluten/grain free option, skip the flour and reduce the amount of water to about ½ cup. You may need to allow the mixture to simmer a few minutes more to thicken up, and in the end it won't be a smooth, but it will still be tasty.
I wanted a creamy greens recipe for Thanksgiving, so this is perfect - Thank you! Do you think you can make it ahead and reheat or do you recommend just cooking right before serving?
Alissa Saenz says
Thank you! My husband took the leftovers to work and reheated them in the microwave. He confirmed that it was just as delicious on the first day, just needed a little stir to reincorporate everything. It also might not be as pretty, as greens tend to dull in color after cooking.
I'm out of cashews, do you think this could be done with unsweetened almond milk?
Alissa Saenz says
Hi Alex! Maybe, but it probably won't be as rich, and you'll probably need to play around a bit with amount of liquid and flour in order to get the right consistency. I haven't tried myself so I can't say with absolute certainty.
The secret to making smooth cashew milk is to purée in a small amount of liquid and get it as smooth as possible. Then keep adding liquid to the blender until you like it.
Simon Nightingale says
This is awesome! Thanks so much for posting.
Alissa Saenz says
This was so amazing! I used quinoa flour instead of whole wheat because it was all I had. I made it last night for Thanksgiving and it was a hit! Thank you for sharing this recipe! Definitely a keeper!