Friday, January 6, 2012

Cook With a New Food: KALE

Next up in the "Cook With a New Food" series: Kale!  
I don’t know about you, but this “kale” character was totally off my radar until, oh, about a year ago?  It started popping up in health articles all over the place with other dark leafy greens, topping every “superfood” list due to its powerful effects in weight lossreducing risk of disease, antioxidant power, brain health, flat abs, and even healthy hair. Decently low in calorie (34 for one cup, raw, chopped) and a provider of fiber, iron, and calcium, this vegetable is one to start eating today.  Consuming such nutrient-dense vegetables like Kale makes getting all your nutrients easy.  This fall, I added it to my grocery cart on a regular basis.

To try this new leafy green, I started out easy.  

Step 1:  Wash and pat dry. 


My go-to for any vegetable, as you know, is roasting.  So I thought that making kale chips would be simple enough.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and spread them out on a baking sheet, like so:

BAKE!  Cook for about 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

The shrivel down a lot, like their leafy-green relatives.  They came out crunchy and too bitter for my taste.  That's probably because I was VERY stingy with the oil, and may have let them bake a little too long.

I'll try this one again in the near future.  They're not so bad, really.  I need to play with flavoring.

BUT, you can have kale so many ways!  Next, try a salad!  Almost too easy.  Replace your usual lettuce with shredded kale.

Add what you like!  Here, I tossed in what I happened to have on hand, which was...

Butternut squash, cubed and cooked

I threw some chopped walnuts in the oven with the butternut squash for the last 5 minutes, just to toast a bit.

Mixed it all together, and added some craisins for sweetness.  Tossed with oil and vinegar, about a tablespoon or two each.  Et voila!

How ELSE can you incorporate kale into your diet?

One painless way I found to reap the benefits of this nutritious superstar without the bitterness or roughness of the leaves is to blend it right into my smoothies!

Let your blender shred the greens, and you won't even taste the health food in your morning smoothie.

Just be sure to check your teeth after, for those little green bits and pieces!!

A fourth way to start using kale is to mix it into pasta dishes.  I did this, but didn't photograph.  Sorry.  Basically, I sauteed shredded kale with the other vegetables I was putting into my pasta, and it was delicious!  Still slightly bitter, though.  To avoid the bitter trap, try not to overcook it -- just long enough to soften it up.

If you like to cook with spinach, this will be an easy transition; it was for me.  Above are four very simple ways to start eating kale, and here are three more:
-       Lasagna

Do you cook with kale? Have a recipe to share?
If you're a novice, what are you waiting for?  
Add "kale" to your shopping list,
and start eating this nutrient king.
I dare you.

1 comment:

  1. Kale in soups and hashes are my favorite uses, e.g.:

    A hash with potatoes is the bomb, especially with Smoked Paprika and a poached egg for dinner!


I would love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences below: