What To Do With Kale and Why

At the market on Sunday when the checker scanned my extra-large bag of kale she asked what I was going to do with it.  “Do you eat it?”

I’m not sure what the look on my face was but I’m guessing it was surprise.

Oh yeah. I’m going to eat it.

I explained to her how nutritious it was and that I was so happy to find the large bags of pre-washed chopped kale at the grocery.

Kale

The conversation went on from there and she explained that at the last grocery she worked for she was in the deli and they used it on the trays for decoration. She didn’t really know that anyone actually ate it.

I wonder how many other people don’t know that kale is one of the healthiest vegetables and is a superfood with health benefits ranging from lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol to reducing the risk for certain cancers?

Kale = Superfood

What makes kale a superfood?  Here’s a list of just a few of the characteristics of the leafy green that puts it at the top of the healthy veggie chart.

  • Kale has over 45 different flavonoids that have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits  which play a role in reduced inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • The high concentration of two types of antioxidants in particular – carotenoids and flavonoids – are directly linked to cancer prevention.
  • The presence of glucosinolates found in kale provides even more anti-cancer benefits.
  • New research shows that kale provides support for the body’s own detoxification system and helps regulate detox activities in our cells.
  • Kale contains seven grams of fiber per 100 calories which provides support to the digestive system.

Kale provides an abundance of micro nutrients that many people are deficit in. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, copper and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B2 and omega-3 fatty acids.

A one cup serving has about 36 calories.

Preparation Tips

If you buy kale whole rather than in the bag like I did you’ll need to rinse the leaves under cold water and chop the leaves into half-inch pieces and the stems into quarter-inch lengths for even cooking.  Pat dry with paper towels.

After the kale is rinsed and dry you can use it in salads and smoothies, drop it into soups and stews, or steam it for a quick side dish.

Below is a fuss-free sautéed kale recipe that uses a little garlic, olive oil, chicken broth and red wine vinegar:

Sauteed Kale with Red Pepper

Ingredients

2 large bunches kale
1 large red pepper, sliced in thin strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

1. Cut the kale into bite-size pieces, removing any tough stems. Rinse and shake dry.
2. Warm the oil and garlic in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Remove the garlic as soon as it browns (don’t let it burn).
3. Add the slices of red pepper and stir fry until tender-crisp.
4. Add the kale and stir-fry 5 minutes.
5. Add the chicken stock, cover, and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until tender.
6. Uncover and add the salt.
7. Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid has evaporated.
8. Spoon into a serving dish; scatter the garlic over the top. Drizzle with the lemon juice. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sauteed Kale and Red Pepper

Nutrition

Serves 8:  One serving is 118 calories; carbohydrates 15 g; cholesterol 0; Fat 6g; Fiber 2g; Iron 2 mg; Protein 4 mg; Sodium 534 mg.

Do you have a favorite kale recipe?

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