Chelan wrote us, asking “I want to incorporate more Kale &/or Spinach into my diet for all the nutrients, but don’t know of any great recipes!
Now all I do is stick a handful into a blender as part of a protein shake. Help?!”
No worries Chelan, I love both kale and spinach. As kale tends to be the lesser known veggie, let’s start with that…
Kale is a form of cabbage, green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms, and is related broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts.
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and reasonably rich in calcium. As with broccoli and other brassicas, kale contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying do not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.
Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. Curly leafed varieties of cabbage already existed along with flat leafed varieties in Greece in the fourth century BC.
Kale freezes well and actually tastes sweeter and more flavorful after being exposed to a frost.
Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, particularly when combined with other such strongly flavored ingredients as dry-roasted peanuts, tamari-roasted almonds, red pepper flakes, or an Asian-style dressing. In the Southern United States, kale is often served braised or wilted, either alone or mixed with other greens, such as collard, mustard, or turnip.
Here are three of my favorite kale recipes from the hautemealz.com recipe box…Bon appétit!
Wilted Garlic Kale
Yield: Serves 2 Active Time: 10 Total Time: 5
1 lb of kale
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Rinse and dry the kale and remove from stem. Tear it up into roughly 3inch squares.
In a skillet, heat your oil to medium and roast your shallot, followed by your garlic.
Once shallots have softened, toss in your kale and drizzle with vinegar.
Cover and let wilt – about 5 minutes.
Toss, and serve immediately.
Total Time: 45 min Prep: 25 min Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 serving
1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt.
Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes.
Serve as finger food.
1 tsp. olive oil
4 oz. fully smoked kielbasa sausage, thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh fennel bulb
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1/8 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chopped kale
1/2 can (15-oz.) cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
1/3 package (9-oz.) cheese tortellini
1/3 cup grated Asiago cheese
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add next 6 ingredients and saute until vegetables are soft and kielbasa is brown, about 12 minutes.
Add broth and bring to boil. Stir in kale and cannellini. Reduce heat to low and simmer until kale is wilted, about 4 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead.
Cool slightly; cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.)
Add tortellini to soup. Simmer until pasta is just tender but still firm to bite, about 5 minutes.
Ladle soup into bowls. Serve, passing cheese separately.