Kale is one of the most nutritious greens you can eat – it’s packed with vitamins A, C, and K. Kale is also a source of fiber and calcium. Kale is one of the few vegetables that thrive in cooler temperatures, so this is an excellent time of year to try kale for the first time, or to experiment with new ways to enjoy it.
Choose dark green, firm leaves. With clean hands, wash them well. Separate the leaves from the center stem, which tends to be bitter. I’ve found the best way to eat raw kale is to “massage” it with an acidic dressing and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes before eating. Whether you choose a homemade vinegar and oil mixture or a dressing with some lemon juice, gently rub each piece to make sure all of the leaves are coated with the dressing.
One of my favorite combinations is as follows:
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. mustard
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. honey
- ⅛ tsp. ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp. garlic powder
- pinch salt and pepper
Served with with almonds, chickpeas, and blueberries.
Another way to enjoy kale is steamed – either in the microwave (about 3 minutes) or on the stovetop (after cleaning and removing center stem). You can also chop up raw kale leaves and use them in place of spinach in recipes. For example, I add kale to stuffed pasta shells or omelets for some extra veggies.
Once you become a fan of the flavor of kale, you can also make some healthy baked “chips.” I find that the “dinosaur” variety of kale is best for this purpose – it has big, flat leaves.
- Olive oil
- Salt, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Separate leaves from center stems and clean well. Then tear into pieces of approximately 2 to 3 inches.
- Use two tsp. of olive oil for every five cups of fresh kale. With clean hands, coat each piece well. Spread kale in a single layer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle with salt (optional).
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes, turning once or twice until the leaves are crispy but not brown.
*Note: If you or a family member is on a blood thinning medication, check with your doctor before increasing your intake of leafy greens like kale. Foods high in vitamin K can counteract the effects of some medications.
If you eat kale, what’s your favorite way to prepare it?