Kalettes – What on earth are they?

They say the best things come in small packages, and these little leafy, ruffled parcels, packed with flavour and nutrients stand testament to that!

As a relatively new vegetable which was first introduced to the UK market in 2010, you may be wondering what on earth are Kalettes? These mini green marvels are Channel Farm’s latest young additions to the Brassica family, born from the innovative fusion of Kale and Brussel Sprouts. Originally named the ‘flower sprout’, Kalettes were first developed 20 years ago by Dr Jamie Claxton and the team at Tozer seeds in Surrey who were looking to create something new for the modern consumer that was convenient for cooking whilst also boasting great flavour. For some, the notion of experimenting with vegetables might raise concerns, but fear not—Kalettes are not products of genetic modification by some mad scientist in a lab. Rather, their hybrid nature emerged through fertilising one plant with the other’s pollen – a perfectly natural process. This is only Channel Farm’s second season growing our own Kalettes, which has resulted in more prosperous results compared to last season. We are excited and pleased by the quality of the produce so far which can be bought from our Food Hall alongside our other glorious greens. For this blog we’re going to be giving Kalettes the spotlight they deserve, delving into all the delicious ways you can prepare and incorporate these nutritious newbies into your dishes.

What do Kalettes taste like?

In our opinion? De-lic-ious!

The combination of the two ‘superfoods’ Kale and Brussel Sprouts has resulted in a crunchy yet tender texture with a subtle sweet and nutty flavour. Brussel Sprouts famously are known to receive mixed reactions, particularly amongst children due to their bitter taste. Whilst we remain loyal advocates for the misunderstood sprout, some may find kalettes, with its milder flavour, more agreeable. Dr Jamie Claxton noted in an interview with saucydressings, that during development they only chose varieties to combine the flavour profile with the best kale and spout line ups. In this way, kalettes possess the best qualities of each vegetable parent without their less popular traits such as kale’s tough stalk or brussel’s bitterness. If you want to learn more about kalettes’ origins and development, you can find the rest of Claxton’s interview here.

Are Kalettes healthy?

You betcha! Just look at their family heritage…

The Brassica family are prized for their nutritional value, being rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Aside from Kale and Brussel Sprouts, some other members of the family tree include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes and turnips. They have double the number of vitamins B6, C and E compared to Brussel Sprouts and are also high in vitamin K which bodes great for bone and heart health. Like other cruciferous vegetables, kalettes are rich with fiber and contain anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancer. They don’t call them superfoods for nothing!

When are Kalettes in season?

Kalettes are typically a winter harvested vegetable, currently in season between October and early April. This makes them great accompaniments to some of our favourite hearty and comforting winter recipes, not to mention a great addition to Christmas Dinner or a Sunday Roast!

How do you cook Kalettes?

This is where is gets fun! One of the best things about Kalettes is their incredible versatility in the kitchen, allowing you to get creative with your cooking. These green gems can be roasted, sautéed, steamed, or even eaten raw in salads. Their mild, nutty flavor pairs well with a variety of ingredients and seasonings, making them a perfect addition to stir-fries, pasta dishes, soups, and more.

For a quick and healthy snack why not whip up a batch of kalettes crisps? These green crunchy goodies are irresistibly tasty, so easy to make and packed with nutrients. Simply toss your Kalettes in oil, sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, ½ a tablespoon of sea salt and pop in the oven to bake at 200C for 5 mins until they look crispy.  

Why stop at snacks though when this mighty veg was made to be the main event? The creators of Kalettes have a whole host of exciting and colourful dishes to impress your friends with using the latest leafy wonder on the block. Check out their website to discover the endless possibilities you can whip up using the versatile and all-round crowd pleasing Kalettes! We’ve included our favourite recipe with spicy twist below!

Stir Fried Kalettes with Tahini, Chilli & Garlic

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Pack Kalettes
  • 2 Tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Sesame Oil
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Red Chillies, Deseeded And Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice

For the sauce:

  • 120g Tahini Paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Mirin (Japanese Rice Wine)

Method

Step 1

Whisk all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, add three to five tablespoons of water (the amount you need will depend on the tahini, so add gradually), and whisk until the sauce is thick but pourable, a bit like honey. Set aside.

Step 2

Wash the Kalettes, separate the leaves and dry thoroughly.

Step 3

Heat both oils in a large sauté pan on a high flame, then fry the garlic and chilli for one to two minutes, until the garlic is golden. Lift out the garlic and chilli, place in a separate dish.

Step 4

Add the Kalettes into the hot pan, add the soy and a tablespoon of water, and cook to wilt down. As the greens collapse, add any additional Kalettes leaves to the pan and cook, stirring regularly, for three to four minutes, until the Kalettes are cooked yet crunchy and there is no liquid left in the pan.

Step 5

Stir through the sesame seeds and lime juice and take off the heat.

Step 6

Spoon the greens on to a platter and drizzle the sauce over the top (hold a bit back to serve on the side). Scatter the fried garlic and chilli on top, and serve.

Visit the Larder Food Hall today and grab our own Channel Farm grown Kalettes today! Got a burning question? Have a chat with our team members who will be more than happy to suggest simple and delicious ways to prepare these glorious greens! Discover more ways to cook our locally grown vegetables here.

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