The Simple Addition For Thicker, More Flavorful Creamed Kale

Spinach and cream. Who knew that these two very different ingredients could come together to create a rich and creamy side dish known as creamed spinach? Popular in steakhouses, creamed spinach highlights butter, heavy cream, cheese, and a light dusting of seasoning, per Food Network. But why should spinach have all the fun when collard greens, Swiss chard, and kale are all equally suitable substitutions for such "creamed" dishes?

Kale, in particular, is one of those greens that you'll either love or hate. As The Tasty Tip explains, the taste of kale depends on which variety you purchase. Young kale is milder, while old kale is associated with bitter flavors. There's also red Russian kale that has an interesting sweet taste, especially when it's survived frosty weather. And if you need another reason to love kale, Healthline discusses how it ranks as one of the top nutrient-dense foods, especially with its incredibly high vitamins A, C, and K numbers. Consuming kale may also help with weight loss and cholesterol reduction.

Creamed kale recipes are pretty similar to creamed spinach ones, which makes for an easy substitution. But sometimes, creamed kale can end up thin, runny, and a bit watery. Here's how to fix that with this tangy ingredient.

Grab some cream cheese

You see the stuff spread on toasted bagels, paired with smoked salmon, or used in cheesecake recipes. But did you know cream cheese is one of those secret ingredients in creamed kale? Science Direct explains that cream cheese is composed of a starter culture and pasteurized milk that is homogenized and standardized. The result is a smooth, mild, and tangy dairy product that adds thickness and richness to just about any dish. And like compound butter variations, cream cheese also pairs well with a variety of herbs, seasonings, fruits, and even other cheese varieties, per The Kitchn

As MasterClass discusses, the "creamed" component of such a dish highlights fat, flour, and milk, and cream cheese is a welcomed addition to the mix. Not only will it enrich the sauce with extra thickness, but it will also offset those "earthy" kale flavors. Food blog Slender Kitchen recommends adding about four ounces of cream cheese to the cream sauce. This should also be the step that calls for parmesan cheese and seasonings. Just stir the cream cheese into the sauce (over medium heat) until it starts to melt, then mix in the kale.

Creamed kale is easy to make and also easy to level up, thanks to the tangy richness of cream cheese. So be sure to add some in next time to thicken up an otherwise thin or runny cream sauce.