I’ve heard so much about kale, but I’m not really sure what to do with it. Where should I start?
Kale is a truly great green! It’s loaded with nutrients to keep your body healthy and your immune system strong. It’s especially high in vitamins A, C, and K, plus the mineral manganese. This veggie definitely deserves all the hype! There are a few different types of kale, including curly green kale, red kale, and dinosaur or lacinato kale—enough variety to hold your interest, for sure!
To get you started, here are some of my favorite ways to eat kale:
- Make a raw kale salad. Raw kale salad is a great way to preserve all of the veggie’s natural nutrients. Kale leaves are often pretty thick and hearty, so when preparing kale for salad, I remove the leaves from the spine and massage the leaves with a little olive oil to moisten them and soften their bitterness. You can toss the “dressed” leaves as a fresh salad with sunflower seeds, raisins, honey, and apple cider vinegar.
- Bake kale chips. I love to make kale chips by seasoning the massaged kale leaves above with sea salt, and then bake at 275 degrees in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Kale chips are super popular with kids and a great introduction to exploring this super leafy green.
- Saute it with garlic. A combination and steaming and sautéing works perfectly for kale. Saute sliced garlic in olive oil, then add kale leaves and a couple of tablespoons of water, and cover the pan. After about 5 minutes, the kale will have wilted. Cook uncovered until the water burns off and the kale is tender.
- Juice it. Green juice, anyone? Kale makes a delicious addition to any combination of fruit or vegetable juices. It will turn your drink green, but it will also add vitamins, minerals, and fiber!
- Add it to soups or grain salads. Kale makes a wonderful addition to soups, especially white bean or lentil soups. It adds a great heartiness and heft in a mean green package! It’s also a perfect addition to grain salads. Check out my blog post about kale, featuring one of my favorite recipes from my book Appetite for Life: Quinoa Kale and Walnuts.
What are your favorite kale recipes? Which are kid-approved?
– Stacey Antine, MS RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA
What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy? Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected]. Stacey will answer those questions here weekly.