Healthy Living: Three delicious Kale recipes
by Julia Blanton
Aug 23, 2012 | 2464 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Until about eight years ago, not a single bunch of kale, collards or Swiss chard made its way into my grocery cart. Those giant coarse leaves intimidated me. I had no idea how to cook them, and I wasn’t even sure if I would like them.

As I learned more about nutrition and how amazingly healthy these plant foods are, I began experimenting with recipes and learning how to take down, dissect, cook and feast on green beasts with names like dino kale.

I discovered that they were not only easy to prepare, but delicious to boot.

Kale is a rich source of cancer-fighting antioxidants and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Antioxidants protect us from oxidative stress and free radicals, thereby reducing inflammation — which many consider to be one of the root causes of degenerative disease — and our risk for cancer. The flavanoids found in kale have specifically been linked to the prevention of cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate.

In addition to the cardiovascular benefits of kale’s high fiber content, it also supports digestive health, elimination, detoxification, and a feeling of fullness. Kale is notably high in vitamins A, K, and C, which support healthy function of the eyes, blood clotting, and immune system accordingly.

“Kale is so high in minerals like magnesium, calcium and iron, to name a few, that it is really a super-food,” said Abby Rappoport of Los Gatos, a licensed acupuncturist. “I am a strong believer that if you eat enough fruits and veggies, like kale, you don't need additional vitamins and supplements, because you can get all the nutrients you need from your food.”

When buying kale, look for leaves that are deep green in color, springy and ideally organic. Smaller leaves will be more tender and less bitter than larger leaves.

Each of the following recipes can be made with any variety of kale, including curly kale (red or green), dino kale (also known as Tuscan kale) and red winter kale, all of which you should be able to find at your local farmers market or health food store year round.

 

 

 

Sauteed kale

Ingredients

1 bunch kale

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic

¼ cup broth

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Wash kale and remove ribs. Stack leaves, roll up, and chop into strips. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large sauté pan. Toss kale into pan, turning and evenly coating leaves. Add salt, pepper, and garlic. Continue stirring for one more minute. Add broth, cover, and reduce heat, allowing leaves to steam for 4 to 6 minutes or until tender. Enjoy as a side dish with any meal.

Raw Kale Salad

Ingredients

1 bunch kale

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 lime

Sea salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup raw sunflower seeds

2 small oranges

Directions

Wash, remove ribs, and dry kale. Chop leaves into small pieces. Place kale in large bowl and add olive oil, toasted sesame oil, juice from lime, salt and pepper. Massage until kale wilts and reduces in size by about a quarter. Peal oranges, quarter, and cut into ¼ inch flat triangles. Gently toss in oranges and sunflower seeds. Enjoy as a main course, side dish, or snack.

Kale Chips

Ingredients

1 bunch kale

1 ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Wash, remove ribs, and thoroughly dry kale. Tear leaves into large pieces, brush both sides with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Place leaves on baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 8-10 minutes (check every 30 seconds after 8 minutes).

“Kale chips should be crispy, but not brown,” says personal chef Brian Kean, of Santa Cruz. Enjoy kale chips as snack to satisfy your cravings for crunchy and salty.

Don’t let those big leaves intimidate you any longer; try at least one of these simple recipes this week. Both your health and taste buds will be rewarded as you experiment with more kale recipes and varieties.

Julia Blanton is a nutrition, fitness and wellness coach. An avid runner, she keeps a health blog at www.juliablanton.com.

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