Superfood Saturday: Kale

SuperfoodSaturdayYay! It’s Superfood Saturday again and I’d like to talk about another of my current fave’s: Kale. Yes, Kale. It’s bitter and leafy and when prepared or combined correctly, amazingly delicious!

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Let’s start with the Wikipedia definition here. It’s a part of the broccoli group Brassica oleracea but doesn’t form a head like broccoli. It comes in edible and ornamental varieties and it’s even more of a powerhouse than spinach (another great superfood we’ll be discussing soon).

So, why should you try kale? According to webmd.com:

“One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.”

IF that’s not enough of a reason for you, kale is anti-inflammatory because it has 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, and helps us detox the body (with fiber and sulfur), helping our liver to do it’s job.

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Ok, so now you know what it is and what it does, how do you use it?

Like I said before, it’s pretty bitter by comparison to some of the other leafy greens, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cut up a little for your salad. I like to toss a few leaves into my spring mix salads.

Kale chips are a wonderful alternative to potato chips and only take a little bit to make. Just cut them up, coat them in oil and sea salt (Celtic if you have it- for the minerals), and stick them in the oven for 30 minutes at 250 degrees. If you like it hot (some do you know), add some cayenne pepper or hot sauce to the oil/ salt mix. You could add garlic and parmesan cheese (if you can tolerate dairy) for a more savory taste. Very similar to the broccoli from last week. Just remember that whenever you cook something it depletes some of the vitamins and nutrients, so don’t go crazy!

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Ok, so here’s the real deal: I like to mix it up every now and then and use kale instead of spinach in (or on) just about everything. The funny thing is that a few years ago I stopped using regular lettuce and switched to using spinach on everything… oh how we learn. Anyway, a few ideas would be to

  • Chop it up small and use it in potatoes.
  • Try it on your pizza with onion and tomato (yum!).
  • Add it to tacos, or fajitas, or quesadillas.
  • JUICE IT!!! (That is if you have a juicer, but if you don’t: why not?).
  • Make some kale pesto and use it with lemon on top of your favorite pasta (or spaghetti squash for those of us who are avoiding gluten).
  • Use it in a soup that you would normally put spinach in (we have a great tortellini soup that I’m going to try this with… I’ll let you know how it goes).
  • Chop it and mix it with rice.

Ok, so that’s all I can think of right now, but I’m sure there are more ways. What can you do with kale?

Here are just a few more ways to eat kale… try one out and tell me what you think!!

Spicy Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup (great for these Wyoming winters):

http://www.thecandidappetite.com/2013/01/19/spicy-sausage-potato-kale-soup/

Pistachio and Kale pesto (have you noticed that I have a thing for pesto?):

http://cookingstoned.tv/recipe/pistachio-kale-pesto/

Triple Berry Kale Salad (the sweet cut’s the bitter really well and is DELICIOUSLY healthy to boot):

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/06/omg-its-another-way-i-can-eat-kale/

Crunchy Kale Salad (it’s like a slaw, but better for you!):

http://userealbutter.com/2012/06/13/crunchy-kale-salad-recipe/

Try something, let me know how it goes! Happy Saturday!!!

 

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