If you’re wondering what this is, let me introduce you to kale, my new favorite green vegetable (well, second to spinach). Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that can tout an array of health benefits, including but not limited to cancer prevention, protection against rheumatoid arthritis, and promotion of cardiovascular health. It is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, fiber and even offers some protein. Full details on the health benefits of kale, as well as a description and history of kale, can be found on the World’s Healthiest Foods website. Here’s a quick look at the nutritional chart from the site:
There are a number of different ways you can prepare kale. You can have boiled kale, stir fried kale, baked kale, raw kale salad, steamed kale, sautéd kale, braised kale, kale soup….. Point is, if you’re looking for a way to incorporate more green vegetables into your diet and are tired of the same ole’ same ole’, try kale. Adding this tasty green is a great way to mix things up, especially since there are so many different ways to prepare it.
“That sounds great, but where should I get started?” you may ask. Great question! Here are a couple quick and easy recipes you can try.
KENYAN-STYLE KALE AND TOMATOES from the Whole Foods Market website
In Kenya, this dish is called sukuma wiki, named after the dark, leafy greens from which it’s made. The name translates roughly to “push the week,” implying the ingredient’s stellar ability to stretch meals, making them last to the end of the week. Throughout the country, the popular dish is eaten without utensils, with chapati (a variety of flatbread) or ugali (a type of cornmeal mush) used to scoop up bites instead. This recipe was inspired by a Whole Planet Foundation microcredit client.
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
3 ripe but firm tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 bunches kale (about 1 pound total), ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeño (if using) and cook, stirring often, until softened and golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until collapsed and juicy, about 10 minutes more.
Add kale, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper, toss once or twice, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender and flavors have come together, 10 to 15 minutes. Spoon into bowls and serve.
Per serving (about 9oz/277g-wt.): 110 calories (30 from fat), 3.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 18g total carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 5g protein
OVEN-ROASTED KALE also from the Whole Foods Market website
Serves 4 as a side dish
You’ll be surprised how easy and tasty this kale preparation is. Andrea from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, sent us this recipe with a note: “It’s the only recipe I’ve found where the kale is not masked by other flavors or cooking methods, and it’s crunchy. That makes it fun to eat, plus it’s delicious.” We are in complete agreement; this recipe quickly became a test kitchen favorite.
2 bunches kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse kale and pat dry thoroughly. Remove and discard thick ribs and roughly chop leaves. Pat leaves dry again. Toss with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Kale does not need to be in a single layer, as it will shrink in volume as it cooks. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so, until leaves are tender, crisp on edges and slightly browned. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.
Per serving (About 3oz/83g-wt.): 100 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 3g protein, 5g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 0g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 160mg sodium