Veg-Head Monday:Mashed Potato and Kale Cakes

November 7, 2011

If any of you readers remember my run-in with Kale chips last year, you probably saw the title of this post and thought, “Kale? Really? Are all of Kitchy-Witchy’s dogs barking? Or is this a repeat of last winter, when she completely lost her marbles?”

Maybe, readers, maybe. Winter’s just begun here, so it’s probably too soon to tell on the marbles front. I could lose those suckers at any time. My ground is always perilous in wintertime.

Anyways, about the kale. I admitted defeat the last time I cooked kale in my kitchen–so why did I try cooking it again?

The answer, dear readers, is that evil nemesis of mine: side-dish ennui.  I am, again, afflicted. It got to the point where I just couldn’t face another loaf of French bread or rice pilaf on my dinner plate. Truth: I am boredboredbored. Rice and French bread can suckit.

Boredom led me to the leafy greens section of the produce department, and I stared at all of those curly, woody-stemmed, sturdy green bundles with a healthy dose of trepidation.  Laugh all you want, but I think those green dudes are intimidating. I looked at them and thought, “Put on the big girl undies. Commit.”

But once I’d committed, I had no idea which road to travel. Collards? Mustard greens? Swiss chard? Kale?

I went with kale because–honest confession–the bundle of organic kale was much smaller than any of the other bundles of greens. The proportions of some of those suckers was downright scary. Seriously, it would take me three weeks to work my way through some of the behemoth-sized greens in my Kroger. I really wasn’t up for that kind of commitment. So kale it was.

I stacked the deck–okay, cheated–a little by combining the kale with mashed potatoes.  Mashed potatoes make anything lovable, don’t you agree?  Even scary kale.

Plus, this recipe featured a rouille, and rouille is downright delicious. If you’ve never made rouille before, you are in for a treat. You could spread rouille on a stick of chalk and it’d taste dang-dandy.

Luckily, no chalk necessary.  I’d even go so far as to say that this recipe is perfectly nice without the rouille, but truly, you don’t want to miss it. It adds such a lovely, smoky lick of complexity to the dish.  I made a nice lunch out of two of these potato/kale cakes, and didn’t miss the meat whatsoever.

I served the rest of the cakes at dinner (alongside some lovely pork chops–don’t worry, readers, I haven’t gone all juice and veg regime on you) and the adults scarfed them right down. The girls are still far too suspicious of the leafy stuff to try these, but they missed out.

If you’re hating on the rice and the crusty baguette, right now, I suggest that you try these little beauties. They’re a perfect antidote to dinnertime boredom.

Potato and Kale Cakes with spiced Rouille

serves 6

slightly adapted from Bon Appetit magazine


1/4 cup reduced-fat mayo

1/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

pinch of cayenne pepper


3 cups leftover mashed potatoes

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 pound kale, center ribs and stems cut from leaves, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

For Rouille: whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For Cakes:  Heat 1/2-1 tablespoon olive oil oil in a heavy, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes or until softened. Increase heat to medium-high and add kale and thyme. Cook, tossing frequently, until kale wilts, about 5-10 minutes.

Combine 3 cups leftover mashed potatoes, kale mixture, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix well, let stand for 20 minutes or until cool.

Shape potato mixture by 1/4 cupfuls into patties, about 1/2-inch thick.*

Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add cakes and cook, without moving or flipping, until cakes are crisp and browned on the bottom, 3-4 minutes. Carefully turn cakes over and cook on the other side 2-3 minutes longer or until browned.

Transfer to plates and serve with rouille.

*The next time I try this dish, I think I’m  going to lightly coat the cakes in some seasoned breadcrumbs before sauteeing, so they’ll coat up crispier and hold together more easily.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacia November 7, 2011 at 5:43 am

This is one of those dishes I would scarf down in a restaurant but don’t have the patience to commit to making myself. Can you come cook it for me??


Christine November 7, 2011 at 5:48 am

Confession: I have never had kale. Ever. And everybody is talking about these days. Perhaps this is a recipe for me to start with? What do you think?


TKW November 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm


If you are going to start with kale, I’d definitely try this recipe!


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon November 7, 2011 at 6:33 am

I have so many bad memories of kale. I desperately want to try and come to an understanding with it but I fear too much damage has already been done. Do you think there is any hope for me Kitch?


Jenna November 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

Wendi, sorry to jump in here, but the easiest introduction to kale is to toss it in a soup. Seriously. I have a recipe for Spicy Tuscan Soup on my blog that will ease you right into things.


TKW November 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm


I honestly liked it in this incarnation–and that’s saying something!


Camille Brightsmith November 7, 2011 at 6:35 am

Oh this sounds so fabulously yummy. And that sauce – I’ve never even heard of it. That could work in so many ways.

Have we talked about how much I love kale. I even like it raw. My kids like it raw but won’t eat it cooked. Cooked greens they won’t eat.

Glad you went wacko on us.


TKW November 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm


I am so impressed with Max and Chloe! My kids would never touch kale, raw or cooked (or even mixed with potatoes)!


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes November 7, 2011 at 6:55 am

Damn you woman. I’m detoxing this week and now I want this more than I want coffee.


TKW November 7, 2011 at 12:37 pm


Detox? Oh no! *shudder*


BigLittleWolf November 7, 2011 at 9:31 am

I’m not usually a kale fan, but I’m trying new things and finding I’m enjoying many of them! (This sounds like a hearty cold weather dish.)


Jenna November 7, 2011 at 9:53 am

As I mentioned to Wendi, I’ve used kale in soup, but I haven’t tried it any other way. And it is time.


Kristen @ Motherese November 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

This sounds delish. But you know you had me at Veg-Head Monday.

Question, oh wise one: what do you chez Kitchy Witchy when the minxes refuse to eat something you’ve made? Do you offer them an alternative or do they just make do with the other items on their plates? We are in full-on food refusal mode over here and it’s driving me nuts.


TKW November 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm


Ah, it’s a rough deal over here, too. Miss D. isn’t horribly picky any more, but Miss M. is an utter nuisance. If she won’t eat her dinner, I’ll usually cave and let her have something else. I’m ashamed to say so, however.


Stephane November 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Anything browned in oil or butter sounds dandy to me! : )


Biz November 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I remember the kale chip craze – I still don’t get it! I may be pursuaded to make these – once I can have potatoes again – did I tell you on my new diet other than no wine – no cheese or potatoes?!

Luckily this challenge ends up right before Turkey Day! :D


Mary lee November 7, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Okay, I know I’d love them because I rarely fix collards without mashed potatoes anyway, the potatoes being my reward for eating the collards.

I notice you didn’t even bother with the Minx rating.


TKW November 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm


Not sure which to weep over more–the no wine, no potatoes or no cheese. All are weep-worthy.


Heather @girlichef November 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Well, I love kale…and mashed potatoes, so this one’s a given. As a matter of fact, I want it right now…esp. w/ that rouille. YUM.


Christin November 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Looks good and I actually really like kale.


pamela November 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I hated kale the first time I made it – I cooked it too long. Truth be told, I like it all chopped up raw with lime juice and loads of avocados. And salt.

But this dish looks much more sophisticated and delish – can’t wait to try it!!


TKW November 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm


You can do raw? You are a better woman than I.


Jennifer November 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm

There is just one little part of this recipe that I don’t understand. Left over mashed potatoes? Who EVER has left over mashed potatoes.


TKW November 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm


You made me laugh out loud. I’d make extra, just for this recipe.


Cathy November 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I must confess – I have never eaten nor cooked ANY of the greens you mention. I know I should be ashamed. I may try. I’m not ruling it out.


SuziCate November 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm

It just seems like an awful lot of work for a vegetable I don’t care for…can’t I just go for the mashed potatoes and pick another green?


Jody November 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm

This dish has a lot in common with one of our winter staples – Portugese potato-sausage-kale soup. Yummy yummy yummy. It’s basically potato soup with chunks of sausage and teeny slivery ribbons of kale in it. Cheap, filling, whole-meal-in-a-pot, easy cleanup, perfect on a weeknight, etc. etc. Soup and bread and cheese = done.


Salad in a Jar November 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Pretty sure I could make a meal on this. The rouille stuff sounds really good too. I’m with you on the greens. Intimidating.


TKW November 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm


The rouille is magic. I put it on scrambled eggs the next morning…heaven. I stirred it into rice…heaven. I slathered it on a toasted half-bagel…you get the idea.


Contemporary Troubadour November 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I am hatin’ on the rice big time, Kitch. Rice cakes, rice pilaf, rice flour muffins. Boredboredbored is exactly how I feel. But tomorrow is potato test day! If all goes well, this recipe is going in the file for fall sides. Heck, even if it doesn’t go well.

Maybe sweet potatoes will substitute decently …


tasteofbeirut November 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm

We both share a less-than satisfactory experience( previously) with kale; I tried kale chips (O horror); well this one now looks easy and especially delicious. Enough reasons to convince me to give kale another try.


denise November 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Oh my dear KW, have I mentioned that I adore reading your words? AND I am in need of some cooking-inspiration and so your recipe comes at a perfect time. Sounds delish indeed. xo


Heather November 7, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Greens = slimy = ain’t gettin’ anywhere near this girl’s gullet! I don’t do slimy ANYTHING, even when smothered in mashed potatoes! Now I did try a zucchini casserole – basically zucchini meets cornbread – that was delicious. A good veg in a different setting. But the greens? No, those are better left for when I’m captured and interrogated about Kitch’s snark. Sorry sister, I’d spill the beans for sure!


Katybeth November 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm

My kid bought Kale at the grocery store the other day and I just starred at him. He told me everyone was eating it…EVERYONE??? Well if EVERYONE jumped off the Sears Tower (I will ALWAYS call it the Sears Tower) would you? Eye roll…Kale in my basket..offending my baguettes /
I made it, tasted it and informed my kid that Kale was down 1. Cause SOMEBODY, did not like it. “Mashed potatoes make anything lovable, don’t you agree?” NO. Poor mash potatoes set up with Kale…you probably told the mash potatoes…don’t worry some people think Kale is evil..but they just don’t really understand him…he had a rough childhood.Trust me! You will pair up nicely” A food blogger extraordinair you may be…a Yenta you are not.
Your pictures make everything look tasty. Do you have a pair of Uggs? Winter is so much better with Uggs.


faemom November 7, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Those sound great. I’m so bored with cooking right now. Boredboredbored. I could use suggestions like these. (I miss the days of leafing through cookbooks with my BFF because what’s more fun than leafing through cookbooks with someone you love.)


Barbara November 8, 2011 at 7:00 am

I’m making this for my daughter when she comes home. She loves kale, chard and all those things I never eat. :) The bread crumbs are a great idea. Healthy is what we need right now..things are going to get bad for the next month or so.

(Spring form will not work with the cranberry cake as liquid is poured into the pan before the cranberries and batter. Lining it with foil might work though.)


Janis November 8, 2011 at 7:59 am

ooohhh boy! that is one mouth watering dish. yum!


Tiffany November 8, 2011 at 9:54 am

That’s it! I’m buying kale at the store tomorrow. I can’t take any more egg noodles, rice or plain potatoes anymore. I’ve never had rouille before either…what else do you serve it on/with?


TKW November 8, 2011 at 7:46 pm


Rouille is crack. So good on any protein, including scrambled eggs, which sounds weird, but it isn’t. Good on veg, too. You’ll likey, promise. But make sure to get smoked paprika, not the regular kind!


Monet November 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I have been getting awful bored with my dinners so these are going to have to enter into the rotation! Thank you for sharing with me…and thank you for visiting my own blog. I hope you have a blessed week, my friend!


Jane November 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm

I have to admit…after looking at the picture I was sure there was spinach hidden in there somewhere. But kale? I can handle kale. Sounds delish!


Chiara @ The Wandering Cook November 9, 2011 at 2:54 am

How creative!! I love how you incorporated kale in those cakes… and the sauce sounds yummy as well.


Aisheteru November 9, 2011 at 8:21 am

It definitely looks good to eat! Love to make it for my self.. Thanks for posting!


Kelly November 9, 2011 at 9:13 am

As you know, I’m a huge fan of kale (as are my children). It’s not slimy at all and has a great texture. I eat it in soups, sautee it on the stove, chop it up for a raw salad. Yum!

I’m going to try this recipe. It seems easy enough — even making that sauce.


Shelley November 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

We have a garden full of kale. Good job I love it. Mind I tend to pull the leaves off the stems and recycle the latter. Have you tried just frying kale? Bill has done this a couple of times – you have to be careful not to burn it – and it’s yummy! I am not scared of kale and though I love mashed pots, I’m thinking I might just skip those and go straight to the sauce ingredients you’ve listed.


denise November 9, 2011 at 10:44 am

hi. back again to jot down this recipe because i plan to make these tasty cakes today or tomorrow. thanks, KW!


The Curious Cat November 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm

These sound fab – another one for the bookmarks! I will be trying these out this winter me thinks! xxx


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri November 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Believe or not, as a lifelong vegetarian, I’ve never tried kale. This recipe sounds like a perfect introduction. Thanks!


Dawn November 9, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Really. Kale? I tried the kale chips too. Disaster. But this seems kinda good. I’d have gone with chard…just cause…but maybe I could try this. Would be a way to get husband to eat green stuff…


sandraw2580 November 11, 2011 at 1:36 am

Thank you for this recipe! I’m surprising my husband on Sunday and I’ve been checking for great recipes like this.. Thank you so much again!


Lyndsey @The Tiny Skillet November 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I was wondering!! :) I have sneaked kale into lentil soup, celrey root and potato mash, and lasagne…and I have made mashed potato patties. This sounds really good though especially with the Rouille. It is on my list for sure. Yum…can’t wait to try it on a stick of chalk! :0


Waverley@uncleaimedfunsnewyork December 16, 2011 at 8:35 am

I really love dishes made out of potatoes.. Thanks for this ingredients! I will surely try this out.. :) I am looking forward for your next dish..


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