All Hail The Kale…But Why? Differences Between Curly Kale and Lacinato/Dinosaur Kale & More!

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April 24, 2013 by Living Girl Living Foods

I have noticed a massive increase in everyone’s interest in kale! Also, more and more jokes or comments about vegheads being obsessed with kale. People hear “green juice” and they think kale. Kale t-shirts, tattoos and so on. Everyone has their opinion and like most things in life it’s a love or hate relationship.

I’d like to share some observations I have noticed with kale. The difference between curly kale & dinosaur kale in the culinary world, storage, how to pick it, season and health benefits.

The two most common varieties of kale are Curly Kale and Lacinato/Dinosaur Kale. When consumed in their raw, uncooked form, these two have very different tastes, textures and usually recipes will ask for a specific type of kale.

Lacinato Kale or Dinosaur Kale has a darker shade of green, a little darker than spinach and is lumpy like we would imagine dinosaurs skin being. The large stem/vein in the middle of the leaf is much thicker and isn’t round on the bottom like curly kale. I tend to use this type of kale more often for juicing or if I am cutting the kale into  shreds, ribbons, anything very thin.


I have a previous post where I share tips on how to prepare raw kale, please remove the large white stem that goes down the middle also called the vein. This part is far too difficult for most people to chew and digest unless it is juiced. Consider keeping these stems for juicing in a bag!

I have a previous post about how to prepare spinach and kale for easier digestion for anyone interested, it’s a video where I show cutting techniques 😀

Curly Kale is typically a lighter shade of green, the tips are very curvy and curly looking. Curly Kale typically has shorter leaves. Many people new to eating kale raw in salads prefer curly kale because the taste is much milder and some find it to even be sweeter. It breaks down easier in raw salads with oils, citrus and etc. In raw kale chips it provides that crunchy, messy, junk food fix. Most of the time this is the type of kale I personally use because of these reasons.

Kale in general is bitter and slightly earthy, so in most recipes juice, salad, entree you name it it is probably paired with fruit.

I almost always have lemon or some sort of acid (vinegar, fruit or may be oil) in living kale entrees , it helps breakdown the fibers in kale. This way it is more enjoyable to eat, easier to digest, and the lemon even gives a nice “cooked” appearance that gets people asking me what I did. Here is a link to all of my previous kale juice and living salad recipes.

Purchasing, Storage, Season Of Kale

If you are buying kale to use in a raw salad or entree choose kale with smaller-sized leaves. These are more tender and have a more mild flavor than those with larger leaves. For any recipe or juice look for kale with firm, deeply colored leaves, zero to little spotting, no holes or discoloring, and moist strong stems. Kale must be refrigerated and does best in a green bag or standing up straight in a jar with water and a bag wrapped around the leaves. Kale is available all year round, it’s best seasons are from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring. I love buying local kale because kale grown in colder climates is actually sweeter!

Health Benefits of Kale

  • May lower cholesterol
  • Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale assist in preventing cancer: bladder, colon, prostate, breast & ovary
  • Detoxing pulls bile from from digestive tract. The ITCs are what make it so detoxing 😀
  • Kale’s high levels of flavonoids (lutein and beta-carotene) combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.This gives kale the benefits such as; avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress (some of the ailments that may cause cancer among other things)
  • Rich in Vitamins A, K, C, maganese, fiber, protein, calcium
  • It is low in calories

If you are looking for other ways of adding kale into your lifestyle and already looked through my kale archives here are a few more ideas!

Add kale with balsamic, pear/apple, your cheese of choice and pecans/walnuts!

Massage kale with lemon juice, miso, tahini, garlic and aminos

Make a poppy seed, raspberry, strawberry dressing and add whatever fruits or veggies you have around the house

Mix the kale with your favorite seaweed

Make a spicy walnut taco mix to put on top of the salad

Massage your favorite marinara, tabouleh, pesto or hummus into it

Add it into your favorite slaw recipe

I hope this gives you all some fun ideas on what to do with kale and for any kale haters may be you will revisit this amazing green! My parents are from Portugal so I have had more than my share of kale while growing up and can not say I ever had a dislike for it. Thank you all so much for taking the time to stop by my site! Much love ❤ and raw power 😉


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