in praise of kale

"Superfood" is a term we hear more and more these days. It refers to a sort of nutritional powerhouse, one that contains many minerals and vitamins and contains elements that are associated with health benefits. In the case of the often under-appreciated leafy green vegetable (and its sometimes more colorful varieties) there's a lot of truth to its superfood status.

Kale is known to contain everything from phytochemicals associated with the prevention of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. It connotations flavonoids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It helps your body detoxify as well as provide generous amounts of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. 

And beyond all that good-for-you stuff, it actually tastes good and is versatile as well. Kale is great used in salads, as a side vegetable, as a snack, blended into smoothies and drinks, soups and sauces. Read on for a special easy recipe too!

In the supermarket, you will generally find it bundled in bunches. Most often you will see green kale, but there is some that looks purple (red kale). You can find full, big leaves and baby leaf kale. Some kale is curly,  some just rumply looking (known as Dinosaur kale because it resembles what we imagine as dinosaur skin). And while raw it may have a grassy flavor (that's all that goodness coming through), it mellows when cooked and blends well with other flavors such as in juicing and smoothies.

 

It's also super easy to grow in your own garden, even when starting it from seeds. We had fun watching it pop up quickly and now we've got so much kale our options are vast.

So, in addition to steaming it like spinach, throwing it in with mixed greens or shaving it with Brussels sprouts in a salad, adding it to quiches and scrambles, cooking into soups and stews, blending it into a dip, adding it to your blended smoothie and whatever else your heart imagines, we thought you'd like to get in on one of the best and easiest recipes for kale ever. 

Here we'll share with you a ridiculously simple recipe for one of our favorite guiltless pleasures - kale chips. 

What's that? Chips you say? Guiltless? Why yes, in fact we certainly do. This recipe is so easy, we hesitate even to call it a recipe, but we will. It's quick and easy and the results are always delicious. They're low cal and addictive. Unlike their potato chip namesake, though, they are high in all those "superfood" elements, so enjoy and don't feel guilty!

 

Kale Chips Fresh from the Oven

1 bunch of kale
1 tablespoon olive oil, for sprinkling
1 teaspoon salt, sea salt is good
pepper to taste (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Rinse and thoroughly dry a bunch of kale.
3. Snip the greens (not the stems) of kale into bite sized pieces (kale will shrink a lot, so think BIG bites here).
4. Drizzle oil and coat very lightly. Too much oil and the chips won't crisp. 
5. Sprinkle with salt and, pepper if you like.
6. Bake for about 5 minutes until the chips edges start to turn slightly brow.
7. Stir them aground and flip on pan. 
8. Watch carefully for another 3-4 minutes until edges are brown and chips are crispy. Be sure not to over-bake or burn. Greens should still be green. Just edges get brown.

 

Other serving suggestions: Use seasoned salt, lemon pepper, garlic, onion or celery salt instead of regular salt. Or add a splash of sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar to make a healthier version of salt & vinegar chips.

Now that you know more about the wonders of kale, add it to your diet and let us know some of the ways you best enjoy it!