Cheddar Bacon and Kale Strudel

OMG, you guys, I’m about to do the unthinkable…I am posting a recipe about KALE!   It’s something I said I would never do.  “Life is too short for kale”, I said, “Don’t you dare put kale in my smoothie”,  I said.

I always tease  my friend Ginny because she is such a healthy eater and she is forever eating her greens while I can’t give up my Mountain Dew and nacho cheese.  I have said to her many times, “you and your kale and butternut squash”.  She knows it’s a loving jab and that she’s going to have to lend me another one of her vegan cookbooks so I can make yet another attempt to get my chubby rear end in shape.  She’s used to me, and this is what I do.

We always say anything can happen, Ginny, look at this KALE recipe!  I hope you are proud.  I ask you to please, just for me, overlook the fact that these greens are seasoned with a little bacon fat, topped with cheese, and wrapped in pastry…I hope it still counts…it’s the closest we are going to get, girl!

So,  what was I doing with a big old bunch of kale anyway?  Well, I whipped up this recipe this weekend for the Chopped at Home Contest, sponsored by Sargento cheese.  It’s one I really have no hopes of winning because there are hundreds of entries, many of them really great, but I would just not be able to sleep if I didn’t at least try.   You had to use Sargento’s Four State Cheddar Cheese, oyster crackers, bacon, and the dreaded kale in the recipe for it to qualify.

I knew there was hope if bacon was involved so I went for it.


I was so flustered with the kale that I didn’t have the strength and stamina for step-by step photos on this one guys, sorry about that.  I didn’t blink an eyelash at the many layers of phyllo dough that I meticulously layered one by one for this strudel, that was nothin’.  But that mound of tough, noxious, leafy, pungent, so-very-green kale-oh how it intimidated me!

Turns out it is no harder to cook than spinach and it’s just like my brussels sprouts, guys, it loves bacon fat.  Who knew?  I actually had a little leftover that didn’t fit into the strudel and I put it in a bowl and ate it for lunch.  I said out loud, “damn this isn’t half bad”.  It was like a revelation…a really green, flavorful revelation.


This strudel was really quite yummy.  Even though it’s a bit of a girly dish, Chad polished it off when he got home so it passed the man test!  Serve in slices like I’ve shown above as an appetizer.  I would serve two slices per person, so you’d get four servings out of this.  It literally took me just a few minutes to prep and a scant 20 minutes in the oven.  Honestly, you could make this strudel with most any vegetable-just give them a quick saute in a skillet before you put them onto the pastry dough.  If you wanted, you could also use Parmesan or Pecorino Romano in between the layers in addition to, or instead of the cracker crumbs.

I hope I’ve been a good influence on you all today and that you try out a new food that maybe has made you a bit squeamish in the past.  You never know, you might actually love it.  Just remember, when all else fails, a layer of bacon fat and cheese is repentance for any food mistake.  Those two ingredients would make a leather shoe taste heavenly.

Cheddar Bacon and Kale Strudel

Serving Size: 4


  • 1 8 oz package Sargento Four State Cheddar
  • Six ounces bacon, diced
  • 1 ½ Cups oyster crackers
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 3 Tbs butter, melted
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thin
  • 2 pinches nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Six sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • ½ tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 1/8 tsp coarse black pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


  1. In a deep skillet, cook bacon until crispy and the fat is rendered. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Leave the bacon fat in the skillet and add the shallot. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until the shallot is translucent.
  2. Remove the ribs from the kale leaves and coarsely chop the kale. Add it to the pan with the shallots. Cook for 2 minutes, turning with tongs, just until it is wilted and combined with the bacon fat and shallots. Remove from heat.
  3. Place the oyster crackers into a food processor and pulse until crumbled. Add the garlic powder and drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the melted butter.
  4. Place two sheets of phyllo dough onto a clean countertop with the short end facing you. Spray with olive oil cooking spray and 2 or 3 tablespoons of the oyster cracker mixture. Repeat this twice more, so that you have a stack of six phyllo sheets in three layers.
  5. Sprinkle 1 Cup of Sargento Four State Cheddar Cheese onto the last layer of phyllo. Add the kale, spreading it around to cover the entire surface of the dough. Top with the bacon and another Cup of the cheese.
  6. Roll the phyllo dough into one large log. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray and place the log onto it seam side down. Sprinkle with the remaining oyster cracker mixture.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool five minutes.
  8. Top with red chili flakes, a sprinkle of fresh thyme, and some coarse black pepper. Slice carefully and serve.




  1. This looks fancy, I would never think I could make it! But you have given me hope. :)

  2. This turned out great!

Speak Your Mind