I'll be honest here – I'm a huge fan of kale. Yeah, I know, I hate me too. But kale is actually pretty tasty when it's prepared right. Chopped up in a salad, eaten solo as chips, or served up in a pasta or risotto dish, kale can add a good depth of flavor. But there are so many types of kale out there, and it can get pretty confusing what each kind is and how to use it.

There's no question about how healthy kale is – it's packed with tons of nutrients, like vitamin A, calcium, and iron, plus it can add some protein to anything you make. I'm going to break down all the different types of kale for ya right now.

1. Curly Kale

Katherine Baker

Probably what you picture when you think of "kale," curly kale is the most common type. It's got a very hearty texture and a thick stem, which means that each leaf is large and tough (aka requires some serious culinary work). Typically, this kale is enjoyed with the stems chopped off, and then massaged with lemon and olive oil to make it more tender. Curly kale can be used in so many different recipes, but my personal favorite is in kale chips. Try it out!

2. Lacianto Kale

Also known as "Tuscan kale" or "dinosaur kale" due to its dinosaur scale-like look and texture, lacinato kale has got large, flat leaves with a smaller stem than curly kale. Each leaf is dark with a mild flavor, so it's best served sautéed or wilted, which really brings out its depth. A little olive oil, salt and pepper, and voila! You've got yourself a great side dish.

There's great versatility in lacinato kale – its scale-like texture is able to pick up lots of liquid, which means it can be dressed really well. Chop it up, add your favorite toppings and dressing, and you've got yourself a delicious salad

3. Baby Kale

Oh so cute! Baby kale is just what you think it would be – small, light leaves of regular kale. Because the leaves are much smaller than regular kale leaves (and much thinner to boot), baby kale is best served in salads, like this kale and quinoa salad with coconut-curry dressing. No chopping necessary, thank the heavens.

4. Red Kale

Christin Urso

Red kale gets its name from its dark purple-red stems. Although each leaf is dark and tough, the flavor is actually somewhat sweet and almost nutty. This makes red kale the perfect addition in kale pesto, or in this dinner of lamb meatballs, kale, cumin yogurt and rice.

5. White Kale

White kale is the definition of "tender on the inside, but rough around the edges," because it literally is tender on the inside and dark and rough on the edges. Its texture gives each leave a complex layer of flavor, ending in a peppery edge. White kale comes in a flower-like bunch, and can be used as a substitute for cabbage in many recipes for added nutrients.

There you have it – five different popular types of kale with many options for use. Stop by your nearest grocery store and pick up a new variety ASAP, because the possibilities are endless. You can thank me later.