Thanks for all the great feedback on my Overnight Kale Salad. I’m happy to hear that it has inspired you to eat salads more often, and for some people, to try kale for the very first time!
I’m sure most of you are aware of the hype around kale. Despite being in existence for over 2000 years, kale has gained a recent surge in popularity and has earned itself some catchy slogans along the way – ”Kale Is The New Beef”, “Eat More Kale”, “Queen Of Greens” and is often touted as a “Superfood”. Heck, people are even making t-shirts about kale.
Okay, so kale isn’t exactly “new” to people anymore but it definitely lives up to the hype. Although all leafy greens are insanely nutritious, kale really is the superstar of the bunch. So I thought you might like to get to know this superstar a little better!
Let’s start with the facts. Kale is about as nutritious as it gets. Besides the benefits of all leafy greens, kale contains more Vitamin K than almost any other food. It has more calcium per calorie than milk and more iron per calorie than beef. It is super, duper high in fibre and omega 3 fats and has been proven to help lower cholesterol. However, what makes kale really stand out in the vegetable world is its high concentration of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Kale is jam packed with them, and it has been well documented that these nutrients significantly decrease inflammation in the body, and have cancer preventing properties. The amount of nutrients present in kale are rare to find in other vegetables and the more I read about kale, the more I am convinced that everyone should be eating it as much as possible.
So if kale is so incredible, why has it only recently become popular? Well, for starters, some of the health benefits that I mentioned have only recently been discovered in scientific studies. Scientists always knew kale was good for you, but didn’t realize how healthy it is until they started researching it in more detail. I think that as people become more health conscious, they want to eat more greens – and if they are going to eat their greens, they want as much nutrition in them as possible!
Kale is also pretty inexpensive as far as healthy veggies go and this is in part because it is extremely easy to grow. Kale grows all year round in just about any climate as it tolerates the cold well. Kale has a pretty hearty texture, which is why up until recently it was mostly used as ornamental garnish on buffets.
Now I know some people think that kale tastes bitter and awful. To those people, I would say that you just aren’t preparing it right! Kale’s tough texture can take some getting used to, so if you are new to eating kale I would recommend starting off by putting it into soups, smoothies or even sneaking it into your (green) eggs. You can take the edge of the bitterness by cooking it or massaging (yes, massaging) it with some sort of oil based dressing. The massaging also softens the kale up, making it a bit less tough.
And of course I have to mention the ever-popular kale chip, which involves massaging the kale in oil and salt and popping it in the oven at a high heat and cooking until crispy. Kind of like a potato chip, only green and kale-y. A lot of people start eating kale in this form and then move on to other, more nutritious kale recipes (the high heat from the oven denatures some of the nutrients in the kale). I must admit, the kale chip is darn delicious and I’m pretty sure most kids would eat them right up.
This summer my father-in-law is going to give growing kale a try. He always has a beautiful garden and its great being able to eat freshly picked vegetables when we visit Jon’s parents. I can’t wait to introduce them to many delicious kale recipes over the summer!
Some tips on prepping kale:
- Wash thoroughly. Kale is often full of dirt in all the nooks and crannies and I have found dirt in my salad on more than one occasion! Also, kale is on the dirty dozen list, so it is especially important to give it a good scrub if you are not able to find organic kale.
- Trim and wash your kale as soon as soon you get it home as it will be less likely to wilt. This is a good habit for all leafy greens. Although kale will actually last much longer without wilting than most, it’s nice to have it ready to use when you want to (and you will be much more likely to eat it if it’s already prepped)
- I find that the easiest way to prep kale is to fill the sink with water, and then use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the leaves from the stem and throw them right into the water to wash and then spin dry.
- In my experience, the best way to store all washed and trimmed leafy greens, is to put them in a ziplock bag or a very tight closing container with a folded paper towel to absorb the moisture. This method of storing extends the life of your greens by quite a bit. I’ve had kale last for almost 3 weeks when stored this way.
Here are some great recipe ideas to get more kale into your life:
- My Overnight Kale Salad is super simple and delicious, making it easy to reap the nutritional benefits of this superhero green vegetable.
- My Kale Pesto recipe
- Kale Chips by Smitten Kitchen or Easy Kale Chips by HEAL (there are a million recipes for kale chips out there so just play around with it until you get them right!)
- Go very simple with Steamed Kale from World’s Healthiest Foods or Balsamic Glazed Kale by Simple Girl
- Kale Citrus Salad from Edible Perspective (the dressing on this salad is so good)
- Pasta and Bean Soup with Kale from 86 Lemons
- Portabella Kale Pizza with Roasted Garlic Sauce by Oh My Veggies
- Leek and Kale Quiche by Smith Bites
So many recipes, so little time.
There is so much I could say about kale, but I think you get the point. I love kale. He (she?) is a superhero to me. Remember, if you want your kids to love kale so that they reap some of its amazing benefits, you need to learn to love it first. So don’t just sit there – jump on the bandwagon and throw some kale into your smoothie or eggs tomorrow!