Kale. My favorite green!

Oh Kale, how do I love thee….let me count the ways…But before I count the ways, I wanted to mention the reason I am posting about Kale. The other day I purchased a bagged Organic variety from the grocery store (couldn’t get to the Farmers Market during the week) and noticed the cooking instructions on the back. BOIL. What?! Yep, that’s their advice. To add kale to boiling water and BOIL until SOGGY. Yuck. No wonder people shy away from greens. I hope the following recipes will inspire you to try this amazing and nutritious green.

The ways I love Kale…..

1. Delicious! This green is so full of flavor. Yet its mild and sweet enough to eat raw or add to smoothies or green juice.

2. It’s a natural Medicine! Kale has cholesterol lowering abilities, helps to lower the risk of bladder, colon, breast, ovary and prostate cancers, aids in detox,  has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits which helps to reduce chronic inflammation in the body.

3. Nutritious! 1 cup of cooked Kale provides (% of daily value): and only 36 calories!!

  • Vitamin K 1327.6%
  • Vitamin A 354.1%
  • Vitamin C 88.8%

4. Super easy to prepare! You treat Kale like lettuce, just chop and wash. You can even eat the stems, they stay crunchy when cooked. You can steam Kale, sauté it, roast it, bake it, add it to soups or casseroles, eat it raw (salads) or add it to your green juice.

Note: There are a few varieties of Kale. The flatter, wider leaves are sometimes called Curly Kale. The longer, thinner, darker leaves are known as Dinosaur kale, Lacinta kale or Tuscan Kale. I find curly kale is milder in flavor and better for raw salads and juices.

Now for the recipes!

Green Juice

You’ll need a juicer for this or a high-powered blender. I am going to make a suggestion for a great and affordable juicer: Breville BJE200XL Compact Juice Fountain its only $99 on Amazon.com (see my Kitchen Tools for web address).

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale leaves, (not dino or lacinta, they are too strong in taste) washed

2 apples, cut, skin and all

1/2 lemon, remove the rind (its bitter)

1 inch piece or more of ginger, unpeeled (the more you add the spicier it will be!)

2 ribs of celery

2 carrots (unpeeled)

Juice all of these ingredients together and feel the goodness pulse through your veins! You can be creative as you like with this, more apples will make it sweeter for example. I find this recipe to go down easy, even for those who vowed to never “drink that green stuff”.

Raw Kale Salad

When consuming greens raw I suggest to cut them as thinly and finely as possible, so they can absorb the dressing and “marinate”, giving them a softer texture and burst with flavor. If you cut big thick chunks, well, that’s exactly how it will taste and feel in your mouth.

1 bunch of kale leaves (again, not dino or lacinta) washed and cut into very thin strips (almost shredded in appearance)

1/2 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds

1 apple (Fuji, Pink Lady or Jazz if you can get them) skin on (the nutrients are in the skin!), quartered and cut into thin strips, a mandolin would work great for this (see Kitchen Tools section above)

1/4 cup of raisins

Dressing:

1/4 cup of good olive oil

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 tsp of Dijon mustard

fresh cracked pepper and sea salt to taste

Prepare the dressing and toss in the kale and salad and let sit for at least 20 min before serving so the kale can marinate and absorb the flavors.

Sautéed Kale

1 bunch of dino or lacinta Kale (curly kale will work as well), washed and cut into 1 inch pieces

Add olive oil to a sauté pan and sauté Kale on med heat for about 10 min, tossing around every 2 min to get all the pieces browned.

At about the 8 min mark, add in a clove of smashed garlic. Cook for another 2 min until garlic is fragrant (but don’t burn!)

Remove from heat and plate. Lightly sprinkle on good quality olive oil and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon, fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Serve as a side or add to brown rice or quinoa as a main dish. Note: you can also add any type of toasted nut or seed you would like to give it  a bit of crunch and protein.

Baked Kale Chips

Move over potato chips! This is not only crunchy, light, salty, flavorful and addictive but it’s also HEALTHY!!

1 bunch or more (you will inhale these…) of any type of Kale, washed and dried and cut into 3 inch pieces

In a bowl toss the kale with a good drizzle of olive oil, just to coat them, not drench them. A good sprinkle of sea salt and cracked black pepper. If you want to take it a step further (taste wise) sprinkle on some parmesan cheese. Mmmmmm….

Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 2-4 min. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. OMG….so good.

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