We are just crazy for kale these days! There’s so much to do with this delicious super veggie. And one of the best parts about kale is that comes in a bunch of varieties, so we never get bored of it. Dinosaur kale (also known as lacinato kale or Tuscan kale) looks different than most of the other varieties. It’s a fairly flat, sturdy, and crinkled leaf, but the edges don’t curl the way other kales do. The leaves are a very deep, dark green, and are narrower than other varieties. But, like other varieties of kale, this one is packed with nutrients. One cup of raw leaves is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A and C, plus vitamin K and the mineral manganese. Plus a good source of the mineral, copper.
We grow kale in the HealthBarn USA garden in the spring and fall because it prefers cooler weather. Dinosaur kale grows a little differently than other varieties. The leaves grow upward and cascade outward, almost like the leaves of a palm tree. Other types of kale grow more tightly, like heads of cabbage (they’re part of the family, after all!), so it’s easy to see the difference in the garden. The kids love to pick it fresh and eat it raw—thumbs up! And they love that this veggie is named after dinosaurs!
A couple of weeks ago, I shared some of my favorite ways to prepare kale. For those of you just getting introduced to this veggie—and wanting to get your kids on board—definitely try making kale chips. They’re a new spin on potato chips and are super easy to make at home! First, remove the tender leafy part from the spine of the kale leaf and discard the spines. Massage the leaves with a little olive oil to moisten and soften them. Season these “dressed” leaves with sea salt and bake at 275 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Kale chips are always popular with kids and a great way to start exploring this super leafy green.
What’s your favorite variety of kale? How do you like to eat it?
– 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