Kale & Mushroom Risotto

April 02, 2017

It’s tempting to take a bunch of kale from your farm share and simply make a kale salad with the leaves while composting the stems, but with this recipe, you can use all of the ingredients: the kale stems, mushroom stems, and turnip peels, yielding zero waste.

A zero food waste meal is possible because:
When the kale stems are sliced finely into the size of grains, they’re a great substitute for rice and can be cooked just like risotto.

To emulate the creaminess of risotto, pureéing the turnip peels (from the braised turnips) and mushroom stems with an apple is a great substitute. It’s thick and is packed with flavor – sweet, bitter, spicy, and umami. In this recipe, the pureé is used as a substitute for water or chicken stock that is traditionally used when making risotto.

Using half of the kale leaves to create chips adds texture to the dish but is also a great snack! Similarly, the braised turnips work well with this dish or could be used as a side dish or eaten alone at another time. Because the recipe is versatile, it extends the life of your produce and expands your experience with them.

Kale and Mushroom “Risotto”:

  • 1 bunch of kale, destemmed (Save stems. Reserve half the leaves for kale chips.)
  • 7-8 cremini mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

Turnip, Mushroom, Apple Pureé

  • turnip peels (saved from the braised turnips)
  • mushroom stems
  • 1 apple, sliced with peel on
  • 1 tsp. EVOO
  • 1/4 of a lemon, juiced*
  • salt, to taste

Braised Turnips

  • 2 turnips, peeled (save peels for “risotto.”)
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter (increase or decrease, depending on taste.)
  • ½ of a lemon, juiced. Zest this lemon and save for kale chips
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • water
  • salt, to taste

Kale Chips

  • Kale leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. EVOO
  • lemon zest, using lemon from the braised turnips
  • salt, to taste


Please note:
It is recommend to peel the turnips as one of your initial steps, so that you can have the peels for the pureé.

Kale and Mushroom “Risotto”:

1. Rinse kale. Separate stems from leaves. Finely slice stems to about the size of a grain of rice. Cut the leaves into 3-4 inch pieces. Reserve half of the chopped kale leaves for kale chips and let them dry.

2. Rinse mushrooms. Separate the mushroom caps from the stems. Reserve the stems. Finely slice the mushroom caps. Set aside.

Turnip, Mushroom, Apple Pureé
1. Coarsely chop the turnip peels and mushroom stems into smaller pieces.
2. Slice the apple. Leave the peel on.
3. In a blender, put the ingredients in the following order: lemon juice from ¼ of a lemon, EVOO, apple, chopped turnip peels and mushroom stems.
4. Add water as necessary in order to get a loose oatmeal-like consistency.
5. Taste and add salt and/or lemon juice as desired. Set aside.
6. In a sauté pan, place butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the garlic (and optional red pepper flakes). Sweat the garlic. Then add the sliced kale stems.
6. Cook the kale stems until it gets a little color and the butter browns. Then add the puree.
7.  Stir until fully combined. Keep at a low simmer. Stir occasionally.
8. Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms and half of the kale leaves, separately. Set aside.
9. Once the “risotto” has thickened (but not dried out) and the kale stems are tender, add the sautéed mushrooms and kale. Stir until combined. Taste and season as desired.

Braised Turnips:

1. Slice the turnips into rounds, about 1 cm. thick.

2. Place the butter into a sauté pan over medium heat. Add lemon juice from half of a lemon and mashed garlic.

3. Once the butter has melted, add the turnip rounds. Then add water just to cover the turnips.

4. Braise the turnips over medium to high heat. Flip the turnip rounds occasionally for even cooking. Cook until tender.

Kale Chips

1. Preheat oven to 300° F.

2. Make sure the kale is completely dry. In a bowl, toss the kale with the EVOO. There should be a light coating of EVOO on the leaves.

3. On a sheet tray lined with parchment paper, lay out the kale leaves. Sprinkle lemon zest and a pinch of salt on the kale.

4. Bake the kale for 8 minutes. Then rotate the sheet tray for even cooking and then bake for another 8 minutes.

5. The kale chips should be dry, rigid, and with little color. The kale chips should be dry, rigid, and with little color

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