By Kristen DeAngelis
Kale, or as our Aussie friends call it Tuscan cabbage, has been gaining popularity by the minute. It’s known as one of the healthiest foods on the planet; it’s on all health blogs, in health food stores, and of course a common main ingredient in fresh juices. But I hear too often “What is this stuff and what do I do with it?”
Many different varieties of kale, ranging from dark green, red or purple colored leaves, are nutrition powerhouses that can do wonders for you health. One cup of raw chopped kale contains 206% of Vitamin A, 134% Vitamin C, and 684% Vitamin K for only 33 calories! It is a great source of important minerals and antioxidants that have been associated with lowering cancer risk and promoting healthy skin, eyes, and immune function.
Using kale in your everyday diet can help improve nutrition needs dramatically, as well as pleasing the eyes and palate for a beautifully colorful and flavorful meal, snack, or side dish. To find the freshest kale, look for firm, deeply colored leaves. Store unwashed in an air-tight ziplock bag for up to five days in the refrigerator.
Here are ten ways for you to get creative and enjoy your new favorite flavorful dark green veggie!
1. Add to Your Smoothies and Juices:
Kale is an all time favorite addition to many juices at Reboot. To wean into your new juicing experiments, try a sweeter juice or smoothie like our Red Citrus or Green Strawberry Juice. Or, stick to concentrated “greens” with our Bright Light Green, or Beet-Kale Juice. And you can add kale to just about ANY smoothie for added nutrients.
2. Make Your Own Raw Kale Slaw:
This is a PERFECT entrée or side dish for the hot summer days. The key to mastering your own creative slaw or salad is to:
1.) Thinly tear kale leaves into bit sized pieces.
2.) Drizzle dressing over leaves (lemon juice, olive oil, salt/pepper, optional ginger root, and spices).
3.) Massage leaves in your hands until leaves feel tender.
4.) Add any combination of dried/fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, beans or other vegetables to the mix
Try our Citrus Kale Salad to bring a refreshing and colorful dish to the table to start you off!
3. Simply Sauté:
As a side dish, I love to sauté kale. I have found the key to this is to add lots of lemon! Keep the skins in tact to infuse a strong refreshing lemon taste and smell. Your basic ingredients, along with lemon, should simply be 2 heads of garlic and chopped yellow onion (mincing in other ingredients such as cherry tomatoes or roasted bell peppers as you like). Try our Seasonal Caprese Kale Sauté to get you started!
4. Chomp on Kale Chips:
These light and delicate crisps are great for snacking or when you are craving a salty crunch. Tear leaves off into small 2-3″ pieces. Toss in a small bowl with 1-3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet. Cover with another baking sheet and bake at 300 F/149 C until crispy (12-15 minutes). You can also try adding more flavor with these Honey Mustard Kale Chips!
5. Pump Up Your Breakfast Sandwich:
Sauté or steam kale leaves along with minced garlic just until tender. Spoon over crusty bread topped with a juicy heirloom tomato and/or avocado for a breakfast-lunch combo this weekend.
6.) Make a Healthy Pesto:
Top over spaghetti squash, shirataki noodles or whole wheat angel hair for a dinner dish; Use as a dip for fresh veggies at your next party; or use as a fresh condiment for a sandwich. Try our Kale-Pistachio Pesto for a meatless and dairy-free dish that will be a definite party pleaser!
7.) Spice up a “Seaweed Salad”:
This is super simple: boil kale while you prepare your dressing by whisking 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp. sesame oil. Drain kale once tender, and spoon dressing over kale along with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and fresh lemon juice. Chill well until serving.
8. Green Your Pizza:
Make your own homemade pizza crust with quinoa and top with thinly sliced kale leaves, seasoned with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and maybe some cherry tomatoes, or thickly sliced seasonal heirlooms. Get one of our favorite recipes and try it today: Quinoa and Teff Sweet Potato Pizza.
9. Spike Your Potatoes:
Steam thinly sliced kale and stir into your mashed or roasted red skinned potatoes along with minced garlic and sweet onion. Add scallions, fresh rosemary, and herbs of your choice.
10. Warm Up With Kale Soup:
Go meatless for your next Crockpot meal and try this hearty Italian soup Vegan Zuppa Toscana Soup.