Cooking/ Recipes

Not a Sad Desk Sandwich: Braised Kale, Mozzarella & Red Onion Jam

braised kale with mozzarella sandwich |dailywaffle

How often do you eat lunch at your desk?

Whether you’re in a corporate environment, or working from home, researchers suggest getting away from your desk for even a short break can dramatically impact creative thinking. It’s not even so much about the food, it’s about a change of scenery.

I have to admit, until recently, I’ve more or less been tethered to my desk, a lot of the time just feeling the need to be available at a moment’s notice. And even now, when that urgency no longer exists, I’ve still been in the habit of sitting in my office to eat. The rainy days don’t help much, either.

Am I the only one? #NotaSadDeskLunch says I’m not. So as part of this sandwich series, I’m vowing to get out from behind my desk, and even if I can’t go outside, I’m at least going to step away from the computer and eat somewhere else. From my point of view, the food is still an important part of the experience. It doesn’t make sense to get the change of scenery and still mindlessly cram whatever passes for edible that day into my face. No one is saying it needs to be fancy, it just needs to be good. The braised kale sandwich on today’s menu certainly fits that bill.

Braised Kale, Mozzarella & Red Onion Jam

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 1 hour


  • 1 small ciabatta loaf, cut into 3 to 4-inch slabs
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼ in. slices
  • ~1/2 c. braised kale
  • red onion jam or pickled red onions
  • pinch of sea salt
  • !Sweet & Sour Braised Kale
  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale, washed, stems removed & leaves cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ½ c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ c. golden raisins
  • ½ t. sugar
  • 1 T. seasoned rice vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • !Red Onion Jam (adapted from PCC Natural Markets)
  • 3 T. butter
  • 3 medium red onions, thinly sliced in rings
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 c. dry red wine
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • !Quick Pickled Red Onions (adapted from PCC Natural Markets)
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 2 T. brown sugar



!Sweet & Sour Braised Kale


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for ~1 minute until fragrant. Add the kale in batches, allowing it to just wilt and make room in the pan. Add the chicken broth, raisins and sugar. Simmer for ~7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is cooked down and the raisins are plumped up. Add the vinegar and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


!Red Onion Jam


In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onions and bay leaf, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and just caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add sugar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook for another 10 minutes.


Add wine and vinegar and simmer until liquid becomes syrupy, about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and let jam cool. It’ll store in a the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


!Quick Pickled Red Onions


Put onions and garlic in a heat proof bowl.


Combine sugar, salt and vinegar in a 2 qt. sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the vinegar mixture over the onions and garlic and let sit for 30 minutes. The pickled onions are best the next day and will last in the fridge for up to two weeks.


!Assemble Sandwiches


Slice each ciabatta slab in half. Squeeze some of the liquid out of the kale and layer it on the bottom of the ciabatta. Add three slices mozzarella. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Top with red onion jam or pickled red onions.


This sandwich takes braised kale from side dish to sandwich. One bunch of kale will make enough for two sandwiches. If you're making it as a side dish, use at least two bunches to serve 3-4 people. The red onion jam and quick pickled red onions are adapted from PCC Natural Markets recipes.


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