01 Sep Kale? Are you kidding?
If you had told me a year ago I’d be eating kale this year, I’m not sure I would have believed you. But kale is tickling my taste buds now, and I wonder why it took me so long to get started. Yes, I know, we need to eat more dark leafy greens, but actually remembering to do it, and then actually doing it, can seem difficult.
I like that it contains phytochemicals, which are beneficial to eyes, and it has antioxidants to help reduce body inflammation to promote aging well, so that helps with my motivation. For us, growing curly kale in the garden made it readily available, or put it on your grocery list right now as a reminder to get some.
Once you have it, what can you do with it?
After washing the kale, tear the leaves off the stem and chop them with a knife. The stems can be bitter so add them to your compost. If you like, add one or more other vegetables such as shredded cabbage, grated carrots, thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, zucchini slices, or mushrooms.
Add in fresh or dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries, or raspberries. Sprinkle in some nuts or seeds: walnuts, pecans, filberts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
Toss with a dressing of 4 Tbsp. olive oil, 3 Tbsp. lemon juice or a vinegar of your choice, and a bit of salt and pepper, plus some crushed garlic or a drizzle of maple syrup if you like.
Use kale leaves as a substitute for spinach in any of your favourite main course recipes, such as soups, stews, and pasta dishes. Just cook kale a little longer.
Sautéed with oil and crushed garlic, or steamed in the microwave or on the stove, it can be dressed with a sprinkle of lemon juice or vinegar, and perhaps a pinch of salt, plus maybe some nuts or seeds, to enjoy as a side dish or as a bed for fish or other protein.
If you combine cooked kale (sautéed or steamed) with a cooked grain (e.g. rice, barley, or quinoa) along with sautéed onions, perhaps some nuts or seeds, and grated cheese on top, it will serve delightfully as a warm salad or side dish.
Wash and thoroughly dry large pieces of kale leaves, ideally about the same size. Toss with olive oil (a light covering, don’t drench the leaves in oil) and a bit of salt, pepper, and herbs or spices of your choice.
Spread in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 300 F for 10 minutes. Turn the pan around in the oven and bake for another 8 to 12 minutes. Watch carefully towards the end so the leaves don’t burn. Once out of the oven, leave them on the cookie sheet for 3 to 5 minutes. They are best eaten fresh, or stored in a tin with a tight-fitting lid.
If you’re a fan of protein smoothies, try adding kale leaves (not the stems) – a little at a time until you get a taste you like. Even fruit smoothies can absorb some kale. If you happen to put in more kale than you like, just add more fruit or fruit juice.
So, thanks to our younger daughter, we are now eating kale frequently and finally getting enough dark, leafy greens into our diet. The smooth-leaved kale tastes slightly bitter to us, so we’re sticking to curly kale with its frilly leaves.