Thanksgiving Side Dish: Ohio State Chef’s Recipe for Kale and Bacon Tart

Picture of fresh kale

COLUMBUS, Ohio — There’s a lot you can do with fresh kale. Including pairing it with, yes, bacon.

Lesa Holford, corporate executive chef for Ohio State University’s Student Life Dining Services department, helps grow kale in a university greenhouse as part of a new farm-to-table project with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. (Read more about the project at 

“We use the kale to make a tart with puff pastry, bacon and three cheeses that we’re selling in several cafés” on campus, she said.

The recipe, which is fairly simple and can be made ahead of time, makes a great family Thanksgiving side dish, said Holford, who shares the recipe below.

“I’m going to be making it myself,” she said.


Serves 8.

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 6 ounces bacon, sliced into thin pieces about 1/3-inch thick
  • 4 ounces white onion, small diced
  • 1 pound kale, removed from stems and thin sliced
  • 1 ounce honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, fine chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 4 ounces mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1. Thaw puff pastry on a flat surface. Place one piece each of the pastry in the center of two cookie sheets. Keep cool until ready to use.

2. In a large sauté pan, render the bacon until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the sauté pan and add the diced onion; cook until translucent.

3. Reserve the bacon for the top of the tart. Add rosemary and kale the sauté pan, stirring until kale is wilted and tender. Add honey, salt and pepper. Cool mixture.

4. Combine the three cheeses. Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator and sprinkle each piece of puff pastry with half the cheese. Divide the kale mixture on top of the cheese, leaving a little room on the side for the pastry to “puff.” Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Divide the bacon on the two tarts. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg wash on the outside rim of the tart.

5. Bake the tart in a 375 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Cut each tart into 4 equal squares.

Can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

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