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Merry Kale Trees

kale christmas trees

Hosting a holiday party? Create an edible tablescape using kale and chard. With a little help from a microwave, leafy greens can become evergreens.  A light dusting of coconut chip snow completes the festive fun. What’s a party without a few flakes?

This post was inspired by two things. One day, I was making kale chips in the microwave and forgot to massage the greens with coconut oil. And I covered the kale with a paper towel. What did my non-brain think would splatter? Anyway, the kale melded together and was flexible enough to press into a bowl before eventually drying out. A kale wrap was born. Papery, but still.

It reminded me of seeing this post on making paper from vegetables. Stunning. Do yourself a favor and bask in the glorious veggie art.

To make paper, the key thing is removing moisture from vegetables with newspaper and putting heavy stuff on top to weigh it down. Since I wanted to eat the finished project, I used paper towels to blot extra moisture instead. Adding a plate on top of microwaved greens provided some weight.

By the way, I made the most beautiful bowl out of red cabbage. But eating the finished product left me a bit winded. Sticking with greens for now.

Merry Kale Trees

2 minutes

2 kale trees

The festive red in chard goes great with kale's hunky green, no? Make decorative kale bowls or go all the way with kale trees. Perfect for a holiday gathering. Somewhere.


  • 2 or 3 handfuls of greens, washed and dried. Good ones to use:
  • Kale
  • Red Chard
  • Spinach
  • Collard Greens


Use parchment paper to cover a dinner plate. Spread greens over parchment, overlapping pieces. Top with a paper towel. Add another plate on top as a weight.

Microwave for 1 minute on high setting (in a 1500 watt oven). Time will vary depending on how powerful your microwave is.

Remove from oven. Lift top plate off. The paper towel on top will now be soaked. Peel it off slowly and replace with a dry paper towel. Put the extra plate back on top and cook for another 45 seconds.

If it's easy to peel kale off parchment and is still somewhat flexible, congrats you cooked it perfectly. It's actually more likely that you'll have to experiment with the cook time.

To make a bowl, push kale paper into a parchment lined bowl and let cool before removing.

To make a tree, cut kale paper round in half and curve around a funnel or (wish I had one) a pointy cone of some sort. Moisten the edges and press together. It'll dry into the tabletop tree of your dreams. Trim bottom edges so they sit nicely on table.

Repeat steps to make a kale serving platter. Presentation is everything.


kale paper trees recipe

Still here? Check out more edible decorations here or on twitter with the #LetsLunch tag. Some of the recipes below aren’t gluten free, but fear not. I’ve included links to gluten free equivalents in parentheses.

Lisa’s Chocolate Almond Tree on Monday Morning Cooking Club

Anne Marie’s Ornament Sandwiches on Sandwich Surprise

Grace’s Spiced Shortbread Cookies at HapaMama (make it gluten free with this recipe)

Betty Ann’s Mini Bibingka on Asian in America (sub gluten free blend for ap flour)

Lucy’s Peppermint Candy Tray at A Cook and Her Books

Pat’s Lemongrass and Pandan Sugar Cookies at The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook (use this gluten free sugar cookie as recipe base)

Tammy’s Chewy Gingerbread Cookies at Insatiable Munchies (soft gluten free roll-and-cut cookie recipe here)

Vivian’s Festive Gingerbread Cookies at Vivian Pei (gluten free gingerbread recipe here)

Annabelle’s Pecan Caramels at Glass of Fancy

Karen’s Christmas Baskets of Cookies at geofooding (get gluten free versions at All Gluten Free Desserts)

Linda’s Ottolenghi-Style Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate at Spicebox Travels

Nancie’s Buche de Noel at Nancie McDermott (sub gluten free blend for ap flour + add 1/2 teaspoon guar or xanthan)


  1. To think I thought I was doing pretty well with my kale braise! It’s amazing how much it’s possible to do with kale.

  2. Very cool! Another way to share the kale love. Happy holidays!

  3. Luminously beautiful. I am eager to try this and thankful for the inspiration. Love that sly red in the chard….


  1. […] at Insatiable Munchies Vivian’s Festive Gingerbread Cookies at Vivian Pei Linda’s Merry Kale Trees at Free Range […]