By Janet Verney.
(May, 2020) — So why eat Kale? It is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet and is chockful of vitamins and minerals that go to work cleaning up your insides, helping your skin to glow and your hair to shine! In addition, kale is filled with antioxidants that slows down the aging process and can even help protect and fight against cancer. This green superfood is one of the best natural anti-inflammatories and you don’t need a prescription to indulge!
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable and one of my all-time favorites! I think I have at least four varieties growing in my garden this spring. Cruciferous veggies have long been known for being superheroes when it comes to fighting disease. If you have a thyroid issue, be sure to cook your cruciferous veggies, versus eating them raw.
Let’s look at two ways to serve up your kale:
- Raw: Raw kale freshly picked still has that “life-force-energy” in it and the more energy in your food, the more energy in you! If you think about what would happen if you boiled a seed and then tried to plant it… would it grow? I highly doubt it, as the heat would certainly zap all the “life-force-energy” from the seed. Having said that raw kale may not be for everyone (see the note above about thyroid). Raw kale can be added to smoothies, blended in dressings, used as wraps, chopped in salads, and juiced for a powerful dose of nutrients.
- Cooked: When you use a steamer to cook kale you lose some valuable nutrients in the water. Rather than throwing away the water, try steaming them directly in a small water bath that gets mostly absorbed and then there is no need to drain the greens and lose all the wonderful nutrients. Sautéing is another great option, as long as it is done on a medium to low heat with quality oil or broth. It is best not to brown greens and to not overcook them. You want them to retain their vibrant green color.
Massaged Kale Salad
This is a raw kale salad that you can make early in the morning, or two to three hours before you’re ready to serve. It is best fully “marinated.”
- 1 bunch kale leaves, remove stems and tear leaves into bite size pieces, curly works best.
- ¼ cup olive oil, or your favorite dressing.
- Juice of one lemon or orange, unless you are using a pre-prepared dressing.
- ¼ cup dried, fruit juice sweetened dried cranberries.
- Organic pecans or walnuts, lightly sautéed in avocado oil with a drizzle of pure maple syrup.
Massage the kale leaves with the olive oil, using your hands. Add in other ingredients, except nuts and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the nuts just before serving to keep them crisp. Get creative with this. You can do a Mediterranean version with kalamata olives, capers, and chopped tomatoes.
Kale chips make a great nutritious snack when you need something a little savory or salty.
- 1 bunch curly kale
- 2 T olive or avocado oil
- Seasonings of choice: (cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika) (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) (rosemary, dill, oregano).
- Dash of sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Wash kale leaves and dry thoroughly. Remove stems and tear leaves into chip sized pieces. In a bowl, whisk oil with desired seasonings. Toss the kale pieces into the oil & seasoning mixture, best to use your hands for an even coating of all chips. Place chips on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Keep chips from touching for best results and a crispy texture. Bake for 15 minutes, then toss and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes. Watch them closely so they do not burn. Best eaten right away, but they will store for 2-3 days in an airtight container after they are completely cooled.
Curried Kale Slaw
This has to be one of my all-time favorite salads and it is great leftover. A wonderful and nutritional dish to bring to spring into summer pot luck when kale is at its best!
- ¾ cup vegan, soy free mayo
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. spicy mustard
- 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 bag organic veggie or broccoli slaw
- 1 bag baby kale, or large kale leaves chopped or torn off stems
- I chopped apple
- I can chickpeas (bpa free can)
- 1 cup raisins or fruit juiced sweetened cranberries
- ½ cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
Whisk the first 9 ingredients in a large serving bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients. This can be made the morning of the event and lasts up to two days.
- 2 packed cups shredded kale, or baby kale leaves
- ½ cup fresh basil or parsley (optional)
- ½ lemon, squeezed
- ½ cup walnuts or pine nuts
- 1 raw clove of peeled garlic, or ½ tsp. garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast or grated parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp sea salt, or less if using cheese.
- Olive oil
Place all of the ingredients, except the olive oil into a food processor, as you begin to blend, drizzle the olive oil from the top until it is the right consistency. Use on pasta, as a dip for veggie sticks, or spread on crackers.
Kale Green Smoothie
- 1 handful of baby kale leaves, fresh or frozen.
- ½ small cucumber, chopped into large chunks.
- 1 small fresh banana, or ½ cup chopped frozen banana.
- 3-5 fresh or frozen strawberries.
- ¼ cup frozen pineapple chunks.
- 1 t spirulina algae powder.
- 1-2 cups non-dairy milk of choice or coconut water.
Wash all fresh ingredients. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.
If you have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time!
Janet E. Verney is an Author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and Healthy Food Chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives! Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at email@example.com. To learn more, visit her website at roots2wellness.com.