Monday, May 17, 2010

Chinese Kale Quesadilla

Chinese Kale, also called Gai Lan or Chinese Broccoli, forms open heads of thick, blue-green leaves.  These plants are brassicas in the mustard family, but the taste is closer to broccoli than the typical bitter mustard green.  The stems, leaves and flowers are all edible, providing significant amounts of calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.  Chinese Kale also contains vitamin E, folate, calcium, and fiber.  These are cool-weather greens; warm spring temperatures have caused the plants to send up huge flower spikes with seed pods forming dramatic horizontal and L-shaped spikes up the stem despite the seed package's claim that this vegetable can be grown "year-round".
Here we enjoy a quesadilla with our Chinese Kale harvest.  We make a quick sauteed kale using traditional Asian ingredients such as sesame oil and soy sauce, then sandwich it between toasty tortillas.  We have converted the same dish into a meal by adding slices of sauteed tofu and shiitake mushrooms.  For some heat, add a small diced jalapeno pepper before cooking the Chinese Kale.  Not your typical quesadilla ingredients, but wonderful nevertheless.

Chinese Kale Quesadilla


2                        garlic cloves, minced
1         lb            Chinese kale, washed drained, thick stems removed,
                         leaves torn into small pieces

2         tsp          dark sesame oil
2         Tbs         vegetable stock or water
1         tsp          soy sauce
2         tsp          toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
                         sea salt and black pepper
4                       corn tortillas
                         oil for pan


  1. Heat sesame oil over moderate heat, and saute garlic briefly.  If using chile, cook it with the garlic.  Add kale and water or stock, then cover.
  2. Cook until kale wilts, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.  Add soy sauce and sesame seeds.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from pan.
  3. Create two quesadillas with cooked kale as the filling.  Add sauteed tofu, mushrooms, or other items here if desired.  One at a time, heat in a lightly oiled pan until bottom tortilla is golden.  Flip and repeat.  Serve immediately.
Printable Recipe


  1. This looks delicious. I love anything with fresh produce and sesame oil.

  2. nice! a great way to eat chinese kale!

  3. Can't wait for my kale to emerge! I don't know if I planted Chinese kale or regular, how does one know? I'll have to wait and see. . .great recipe!

  4. Your Grow Series idea is great. I have a garden in Houston and your advice really helps! Keep it up.

  5. I've never heard of Chinese kale before but I like other types of kale so I'm sure I would love this. I like the idea of putting it in a quesadilla!

  6. Never thought about this, but so creative!


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