Kale is another one of those oft-overlooked vegetables that delivers a huge nutritional bang for your buck. It is a hardy vegetable that grows through much of the year, but its best and sweetest in the wintertime.
Kale is in the same family as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens, which more than live up to their reputation as some of the worlds most nutritious foods. Like these other leafy greens, kale is chock full of health-promoting phytonutrient sulfur compounds, which have been shown to prevent several different types of cancer. Kale is full of vitamins and minerals such as manganese, fiber, calcium, copper, and potassium and vitamins A, C. E, and B6, which make this a very wise addition to any diet. Kale is high in carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect the eyes from UV light damage, much like sunglasses, and help protect against cataracts. Studies show that just 3 servings a day of green leafy (such as kale), yellow, and cruciferous vegetables per day can help improve mental function, reducing age-related mental decline by about 40%.
DID YOU KNOW:
-Kale actually becomes sweeter with light frost, and therefore freezes very well!
-The cultivation of kale goes back over 2000 years and probably originates in the Mediterranean.
-Kale is often used as a garden prettifier (ornamental kale). Ornamental kale is also very edible!
HOW TO CHOOSE AND STORE KALE:
Look for smaller bunches of kale; they tend to be more tender. Leaves should have stong colours and be crisp and unwilted/unblemished. Wrap kale in damp paper towels and store in the crisper in a plastic bag. Kale will stay fresh like this for about a week.
HOW TO EAT KALE:
Wash wellkale can be gritty, and the dirt can hide in the crevices of the leaves. All of the kale is edible but you can cut the leaves off the stems if you like. I find kale most palatable when cut into small pieces, as opposed to whole leaves.
NUTRITIONAL INFO PER 1 CUP BOILED KALE:
Sodium 29mg (1% RDA)
Potassium 296mg (8% RDA)
Total Carbohydrate 7g
Dietary Fiber 10% RDA
Protein 4.9% RDA
%RDA Vitamins & Minerals:
Vitamin K 1327.6%
Vitamin A 192.4%
Vitamin C 88%
Vitamin E 5.6%
Vitamin B6 9%
Pantothenic Acid 10%
Easy, healthy recipes for kale:
<>-Add small pieces to soups and stews.<>
-Sautee kale lightly with a small amount of olive oil and as much garlic and thinly-sliced onions as you like. Drizzle with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar before serving.
-Top homemade pizzas with small pieces of kale.
-Mix small pieces of kale in with cooked, whole-grain pasta, toasted pine nuts, and a little bit of olive oil. Season to taste.
This is not one of the healthier recipes Ill post here, but it is my absolute favourite way of cooking kale. I adapted this recipe from a very carnivorous and decidedly heart-attack-inducing recipe I found some time ago, and this is a MUCH healthier version.
6-8 medium-sized potatoes (I used russet)
about 1 cup of vegetable broth
about 1/2 cup of soymilk
dill, and/or basil to taste, and/or seasonings of your choice
about half a bunch of kale (I use black kale, which I find the most appealing), chopped fine
1 package vegan cheese (I use Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack), grated
1 large onion, cut into thin strips
1 package vegan soy sausage slices (I use Tofurkey Kielbasa) sliced into small rounds
Boil the potatoes till soft and mash them with the broth, soy milk, and seasonings. (I always mash mine with the peel, but use your own judgment). Steam the kale for about 10 minutes, or until crispy-soft (I did this in a bamboo steamer over the boiling potatoes). Mix the potato mixture with the kale and all but about 1/4 of the cheese. Sautee the onion until soft, and mix in the soysage slices until warmed over. Top the potato mixture with the onion/soysage mixture, and spread the rest of the cheese over the whole thing. Put the whole thing on the top rack of the oven on the highest temperature setting (broil on mine) until the cheese melts. If you are not using vegan cheese that melts well, just broil it for about 5 minutes.
Serve with a nice salad.
Filling, and VERY yummy!
Serves: about 8
Preparation time: about 30 min <><>