It took me a few years to really enjoy the taste of fresh kale. When I first tried it in a balsamic salad, the bitter taste of the leafy green threw me off. I wanted to like it. It was the "cool new thing" and popping up on menus absolutely everywhere I went.
So naturally if you're anything like me, you hear the word "kale" and think it's a sorta trendy thing that foodies like because it's oh so much more sophisticated than spinach or -- gah -- romaine. Well truth be told, after a whole bunch of trial and error, I can now say that it's a legitimate part of my diet.
Trust me, there are reasons you should like it too. Real awesome reasons -- like nutritional value and health benefits for starters.
Here, let's talk:
First things first, kale is literally one of the healthiest vegetables on earth because it's crazy loaded with vitamins. Seriously, one cup of chopped kale ranks in at only 33 calories but has 9 percent of the daily value of calcium, 134 percent of vitamin C, 684 percent of vitamin K (WHOA), and 206 percent of vitamin A. Hello, natural pharmacy! Plus, kale is high in fiber, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease AND lower blood cholesterol levels. Wanna enhance your eye-health? Yup, eat kale.
See -- I told you it was worth the chew! So now that I have you convinced, the next question is how you should eat it. Check out these 5 great kale recipes, here:
1. Quinoa with sweet potatoes, kale, and pesto: Kale and quinoa is a favorite combination of mine. You'll be amazed at how fast two bunches of kale cooks down to next to nothing.
2. Kale and apple salad: The bitter taste of kale combined with the sweetness of apple cider vinegar and goat cheese is pure perfection.
3. Sweet potato pasta with crispy kale: OK, so this one's a little heavier, but MAN is it delicious. I usually double the amount of kale to sprinkle on top.
4. Crispy kale chips with lemon: Super easy, this is a great snack instead of something a whole lot more fatty and doused in saturated fat (ahem, potato chips).
5. Kale and pepper stir-fry adapted from Real Simple:
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 1 bell pepper sliced
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 medium bunch kale with stems removed and leaves torn into small pieces (approximately 10 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
1. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add ginger, pepper, and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook the vegetables for about 2 to 3 minutes or until soft.
2. Add the soy sauce and kale to the pan, tossing occasionally for 6 to 8 minutes or until kale is tender. Finish off with sesame oil, serve, and top with sesame seeds.
Are you a fan of kale? How do you prepare it at home?
Image via Pete Sneekes/Flickr