A Love Letter to Lacinato Kale

This hearty garden green has won one gardener's heart.
Grow Nutritious Kale in Your Home Garden

Grow Nutritious Kale in Your Home Garden

Lacinato kale plants: Lacinato kale has beautiful, long, crinkled leaves that look as handsome in the garden as they do on your plate. Here, they’re used ornamentally, paired with castor bean plant for a lovely color palette of bluish-greens and purples.

Lacinato kale plants: Lacinato kale has beautiful, long, crinkled leaves that look as handsome in the garden as they do on your plate. Here, they’re used ornamentally, paired with castor bean plant for a lovely color palette of bluish-greens and purples.

Related To:

Some vegetables I don’t feel that strongly about. Like cucumbers, for instance: I can take ‘em or leave ‘em. But kale’s another story. I love kale, especially Lacinato, the heirloom black kale variety that’s stolen hearts, including mine, for generations. (The name even sounds like an Italian heart-breaker, which, in fact, it is.) It seems everyone from gardeners to chefs to Paleo dieters have recently rediscovered Lacinato, and that’s a great thing. It means there’s more Lacinato for everyone, and I don’t mind sharing.

There are three main types of kale and — as with many plants — each goes by several names. Here’s a bit of a cheat-sheet on the main kale types.

Curly kale has bright green leaves that are very curly; it’s also known as Scotch or green kale and is probably familiar to most eaters as a garnish, though it’s much more than that.

Black kale has elongated, flat, bluish-green leaves with a crinkled texture; it’s also called Tuscan or dinosaur kale, and Lacinato is a specific Italian heirloom variety of this type.

Red kale has frilly leaves with red or purple stems; it’s also called Red Russian kale.

I’ve tried them all and settled on Lacinato as my main squeeze for favorite dishes like chopped kale salad and kale chips. Look for all the different types and varieties in your garden center, grocery store or farmers’ market, and try them all to see which one you love the most. You’ll also no doubt see more than a few plants labeled ornamental kale. Often of the red category, these kale plants are grown specifically for their ornamental value, such a pretty pink or purple centers, though they’re just as edible as any others. It seems I’m not the only one around here who loves kale. See these additional articles for more insights on growing, cooking and decorating with this nutritious, delicious veggie.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Sow and Plant Fruiting Vegetables

Large leaves, golden flowers and heavy yields make squashes, zucchini and cucumbers ideal plants for productive pots.

Small-Space Vegetable Gardens

Make room on your fire escape or pot up some tomato plants—you can grow delicious fruits and veggies even if you don't have much space.

Love Fixer Upper? See 5 Ways to Bring Joanna's Style Home

HGTV.com shares 5 charming home design ideas from Fixer Upper's Joanna Gaines.

Tips for a Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden

Raised-bed vegetable gardening takes very little space and allows vegetables to be grown closer together.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.