Spicy West African Braised Kale & Tofu

A wise friend recently declared we should all eat more kale. Tony is the trainer I have been working with for the past three months and I’ve learned that we agree on many things: women should lift heavy (bet you saw that one coming), tapas is the best way to eat, and True Blood equals awesomeness. We’re also on the same page about eating plenty of nutrient-packed veggies like kale. What’s so great about kale? I’ll let Tony’s t-shirt blog post do most of the talking, but I’d like to add in that kale is delicious and versatile as well.

The inspiration for this Spicy West African Braised Kale and Tofu came from Kalyn’s recipe for West African Chicken and Peanut Stew. I knew as soon as I saw this recipe that I would love it, but I decided to change things up a little. Kale immediately came to mind. I knew it’s rich, earthy flavor would work well with the peanut sauce, and that it would add plenty of bulk. And because I was feeling a vegetarian meal, I threw in cooked, cubed tofu.

Some of you skeptics are probably reading this thinking, “what’s the point of eating kale and tofu if you’re just going to drown it in fat?” True, this recipe is heavy on the nut butter. But dear readers, don’t fear the fat! Like puppies and good men, peanuts are good for your heart. Well, maybe not in exactly the same way. Peanuts are a great source of monounsaturated fat, which reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. They also feature an array of other heart-healthy vitamins and nutrients, and their antioxident content rivals or exceeds that of certain fruits. And speaking from my own personal experience, I can guarantee you that eating a little extra good fat each day WILL keep you more satisfied and will NOT hurt your weight-loss efforts.

I’m not suggesting you go pick up a jar of Jiffy reduced-fat and eat it by the spoonful. In fact, I highly suggest you DON’T do that. “Reduced fat” is synonymous with “increased carbs, sugar, and ingredients that don’t need to be there”. Instead, choose a natural peanut butter (the only ingredient should be peanuts, and maybe some salt) and don’t be afraid to have an appropriate serving here and there.

I hope I’ve convinced you of all the good reasons to eat more kale and peanut butter, because this satisfying stew totally packs the one-two punch. But don’t think I’ve strayed from my mantra that food should taste good and be good for you. Along with the boatload of nutrients, this creamy, rich, and spicy stew delivers plenty for the taste buds too.

Spicy West African Braised Kale with Tofu
Adapted from West African Chicken and Peanut Stew, by Kalyn’s Kitchen
Printable Recipe

1 lb firm tofu, cubed and baked*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup (128gm) all natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 large bunch of kale, thick stems removed and roughly chopped

2 large scallions, thinly sliced

Heat the oil in a large, heavy dutch oven. Cook the onion, ginger and jalapeno over medium-low heat, until the onion has softened, about five minutes. Season with the chili powder, salt and pepper, and cook one minute more.

Stir in the chicken broth, peanut butter, tomato paste, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then add the kale, a few handfuls at a time, stirring to let it wilt down. When all of the kale has been incorporated, add the tofu. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until kale is tender.

Ladle the stew into serving bowls and garnish with sliced scallions.

*To prepare the tofu: Preheat oven to 500ºF. Spray a 9×13 ceramic baking dish with nonstick canola or olive oil cooking spray. Cut the tofu into cubes and place it in the baking dish, and spray the tofu with the oil. Bake for 30 minutes, turning three times. This is a great way to prepare tofu when you’ll be adding it to soups, stir-fry’s, or stews. It comes out crisp on the outside and still tender on the inside – no draining or frying required!

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 405.5
Total Fat: 27.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 354.6 mg
Total Carbs: 20.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.7 g
Protein: 24.9 g

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22 Responses to “Spicy West African Braised Kale & Tofu”

  1. 1

    Lindsey @ Enjoying Healthy Foods — January 5, 2011 @ 1:08 pm Reply

    That looks wonderful! I might try it with chicken or a turkey sausage. I do not eat tofu! Looks wonderful, non the less!

  2. 2

    Dawn — January 5, 2011 @ 3:10 pm Reply

    Well this is perfect! I'm trying to get my healthy fats in, I need to use up some tofu AND I LOOOOVE peanuts!

  3. 3

    Roxan — January 5, 2011 @ 4:12 pm Reply

    Cara this looks SO delicious to me!!! I so want to make it. I like kale but don't use it often because it's hard for me to use up a huge bunch, but in a dish like this I think I could EASILY use it all up.

  4. 4

    Lizzy — January 5, 2011 @ 4:40 pm Reply

    Peanuts and Kale! Plus tofu… another gem of a dish! I cannot wait to try it!

  5. 5

    Joanne — January 5, 2011 @ 5:28 pm Reply

    In my opinion, Jiffy's reduced fat is the most ridiculous thing ever! If it's not even fewer calories, then what's the point? All natural PB (Trader Joe's!) tastes delicious and is super cheap as well.Mmm I do love me some kale. And PB. Need to try this!

  6. 6

    That Girl — January 5, 2011 @ 6:02 pm Reply

    I have completely been craving kale lately, which I know makes me a weirdo, but still…

  7. 7

    Jennifurla — January 5, 2011 @ 6:39 pm Reply

    Looks fab, I need more of this in my diet but am not a lover…maybe I should try again.

  8. 8

    Kelly — January 5, 2011 @ 6:48 pm Reply

    It's interesting. I feel like for a long time I was definitely slave to low fat, but in the past few years I've stopped worrying about it so much. I've put more of an emphasis on variety and whole foods and it seems to be working out just fine.This looks smashingly good.

  9. 9

    Tasha — January 5, 2011 @ 7:01 pm Reply

    Such a tasty sounding meal. I just love peanut butter-tomato based sauces, so I'll be giving this one a try for sure!

  10. 10

    Shanon — January 5, 2011 @ 8:55 pm Reply

    Love your how used the African Peanut Stew to inspire this dish. I think even throwing some kale in the stew would be delicious. And you are right, all the peanutiness fills me up fast!

  11. 11

    Melissa — January 5, 2011 @ 9:20 pm Reply

    This looks and sounds delicious!! I will definitely try this, thanks for the yum idea!

  12. 12

    janet — January 5, 2011 @ 9:57 pm Reply

    Yum! I love your addition of the tofu. I made a similar peanut kale stew but I also included pineapple. Super yum!This was my recipe:http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/african-pineapple-kale-peanut-stew/

  13. 13

    innochkaskitchen — January 6, 2011 @ 1:56 am Reply

    This looks so so good! I've actually just recently started cooking with kale so I'm definitely going to try this out!

  14. 14

    Kalyn — January 6, 2011 @ 2:25 am Reply

    This may be my favorite ever variation of one of my recipes. You rock! Love the idea and I bet it tastes fantastic.

  15. 15

    Taste of Beirut — January 7, 2011 @ 12:34 am Reply

    CaraI admit I tried kale once, it was a recipe for kale chips and I thought it was gross; I am willing to give it another try, your dish appeals to me, unlike these chips! :)

  16. 16

    Spendthrift — January 7, 2011 @ 4:56 am Reply

    Yummy – can't wait to try it. I agree with Tony – we should all eat more kale (maybe not about the TrueBlood though – I'm just not feeling the vampires)

  17. 17

    Shannon — January 7, 2011 @ 3:53 pm Reply

    love kale. in fact, along with eggs and milk and butternut squash, is something i pick up almost every time i'm out :) this sounds fabulous, and i'm excited that i also picked up some tofu recently! i'll be making this soon…

  18. 18

    K — January 11, 2011 @ 11:49 pm Reply

    So, I've been following your blog and making your recipes for over a year now, and this is the first time I'm commenting, for whatever reason! I'm a vegetarian (mostly vegan) and I made this for dinner tonight. SO good! I'm living with my parents for a few months and my mom had made a homemade soup for she and my dad and said upon tasting the kale stew "well, this is better than what we're having!" Thanks for all your great, healthful recipes! I'm a huge fan :-)

  19. 19

    Shannon — January 20, 2011 @ 2:06 am Reply

    this was delicious!!! next time i might try it with some of my "heat-is-on" pb :)

  20. 20

    K — April 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am Reply

    So, I've been following your blog and making your recipes for over a year now, and this is the first time I'm commenting, for whatever reason! I'm a vegetarian (mostly vegan) and I made this for dinner tonight. SO good! I'm living with my parents for a few months and my mom had made a homemade soup for she and my dad and said upon tasting the kale stew "well, this is better than what we're having!" Thanks for all your great, healthful recipes! I'm a huge fan :-)

  21. 21

    innochkaskitchen — April 5, 2011 @ 1:20 am Reply

    This looks so so good! I've actually just recently started cooking with kale so I'm definitely going to try this out!

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