Jenn Louis Has a Way of Making Kale Less Boring

December 7, 2016

If you want to cook with more greens in the new year, put "The Book of Greens" on your radar. Photo: Ed Anderson

“To cook with more greens” is a goal for many home cooks. Greens equal health, and we all could be a little healthier—or so goes the logic. But how do we inject our diet with more greens without falling back on the old familiars, like kale, lettuce, and spinach? And what’s more, how can we make them interesting outside of the salad bowl? Portland-based chef Jenn Louis is ready for the challenge. It’s what her upcoming project, The Book of Greens (out in April 2017 from Ten Speed Press), is entirely about.

Featuring 150 recipes, Louis gives us a hyper-organized set of recipes grouped by the type of green, along with detailed information on seasonality, prep, and storage tips. It’s all very useful, but what caught our eye was the recipes—creative pairings like grilled cabbage with miso and lime, a mango smoothie made with radish greens, and pasta dough rolled with tomato leaves.

Below, get a sneak preview of the book with her Italian dumpling recipe that features pumpkin and kale and uses a technique Louis learned during her extensive travels in Italy.

The Book of Greens Cover

“The Book of Greens” hits shelves in April 2017.

Serves 4


1 pound kale, stemmed
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh ricotta
2 eggs
Freshly grated nutmeg
⅔ cup lightly packed finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
Semolina, for dusting
¾ cup unsalted butter
4 fresh sage leaves
1½ cups peeled, seeded, and finely diced pumpkin


    1. Blanch the kale, then wring out completely until the greens are in a dry ball. Finely chop. In a bowl, combine the greens, ricotta, eggs, a grating of fresh nutmeg, Pecorino Romano, and flour and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Generously flour a sheet pan. Scoop the mixture into small balls (approximately 1 tablespoon) and place on the floured sheet pan.
    2. Pour 1 inch of semolina into a large red wine glass or a plastic pint container. One at a time, swirl each ball in the semolina until an imperfectly shaped round is formed. Place the balls on the floured sheet pan, and let sit for 4 hours, or overnight, covered with a clean kitchen towel in the refrigerator. Rotate after 2 hours to make sure the semolina evenly encases the dumplings.
    3. Chop the butter into small pats and brown slowly over medium to medium-low heat with the sage leaves. As soon as the butter melts, add a squeeze of lemon and the pumpkin and cook until tender, about 5 minutes; be careful to adjust the heat as needed so the butter doesn’t get too dark. Season with salt and pepper.
    4. Cook the malfatti in gently simmering salted water for about 4 minutes. When done, remove from the water with a slotted spoon and gently place in dishes. Garnish with the pumpkin and brown butter. Sprinkle Pecorino Romano over the top of the malfatti and serve.

Recipe excerpted from The Book of Greens, copyright © 2017, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright © 2016 by Ed Anderson.

Jenn LouisKaleThe Book of GreensVegetables
The Book of Greens

From one of Portland, Oregon’s most acclaimed chefs comes this encyclopedic reference to the world of greens, with more than 175 creative recipes for… Read more »

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