Adrienne Gajownik

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Vegan creamed kale

We celebrated an early Thanksgiving over the weekend with my family. I made a big pot of cider braised collards while my mom handled the rest of the very Southern fare such as sweet potato souffle, green bean casserole, marinated pea salad, dressing (my favorite), and a smoked turkey. While everyone was napping off the big meal, I was reading this book.

I first learned about Scott Jurek while reading this book last year. Scott is an elite ultramarathoner who has broken numerous records. His book tells the story of how he stumbled into running, his motivation and drive that keeps him going, how he trains and eats. He swears by a totally plant-based, vegan diet and shares recipes throughout the book.
Scott's story makes me want to throw on my shoes and go for a long run, but it also inspires me to make more delicious vegan meals. I started thinking about vegan dishes that would be Thanksgiving friendly and this one popped into my head. I've made it before and it's husband approved.
It may look like there are a lot of steps, but it's really pretty easy. I made the cashew cream the night before, so that saved me even more time. If you're making this for a group, I'd double the recipe or double it just because. It's that good.

Vegan creamed kale
Serves 3-4 
1/2 c cashews
1 tsp nutritional yeast*
1/4 c + 2 T rice milk
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of half a lemon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp of salt
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
half a red onion
1/4 red chili flakes

Put cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 2-4 hours.

Drain cashews and put in food processor along with nutritional yeast, 1/4 c rice milk, garlic, lemon juice, nutmeg, and salt. Blend until very smooth. Add more rice milk—tablespoon at a time—if needed.  set aside. You can make this a day ahead.

Bring a pot of water to boil along with a pinch of salt. Make an ice bath by filling a bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes. When it's boiling, add the kale. You made need to do this in batches. Let the kale cook for about a minute and then submerge into the ice bath. Drain kale and squeeze out excess water. Roughly chop up the kale.

Heat olive oil over low-to-medium heat. Add the onion and red chili flakes, cooking for about 5 minutes. Add the drained, chopped kale. Cook for a few minutes, then add a big tablespoon of the cashew cream along with two tablespoons over rice milk to thin. Mix well until the cream is incorporated and is warm. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat.

*You should be able to find nutritional yeast at Whole Foods or your neighborhood co-op.