Hail to the Almighty Kale: Simple Superfood Recipes
I love kale. I would shout it from the rooftops, but I live in an apartment these days and don’t want to annoy my neighbors. My love affair with this powerhouse veggie isn’t because everyone in the free-world loves it. The truth is, since I began drinking a kale smoothie every day, I’ve had incredible energy, and rarely get sick. Being both an athlete and a single mom, I need to be in top form. So yep, I can’t get enough of the green stuff.
In case you think that kale is just another passing health fad – think again – it’s been around forever. There are a few different varieties, but the Tuscan variety is my personal favorite. It’s high in calcium, so it helps us and our kids develop strong bones, plus it naturally lowers our cholesterol, aids in liver detoxification, and research shows that it may even reduce the risk of cancer.
There has been some negative press about kale lately, claiming that it can contribute to hypothyroidism. While it’s indeed true that kale contains the substance thiocyanate, which in very high concentrations might potentially interfere with iodine absorption, this usually applies to individuals who have a pre-existing thyroid condition. For those people, the risk of making the condition worse still isn’t that high if it’s eaten in moderation. Some research suggests slightly steaming the kale, or avoiding the juiced form helps. As for the rest of us, the good outweighs any bad, so go and get your kale on.
For a lot of folks, the biggest turn-off seems to be the texture. Yes, it is true that when eaten in its raw form, it can give the jaw an Olympian workout. But before you pass it up all together, try some of these recipes and see if you don’t change your mind and begin praising kale as much as I do:
Daily Kale Smoothie
1 cup spring water
1 ripe organic banana
7 frozen organic strawberries
¼ cup frozen organic blueberries
2 cups organic kale (I prefer Tuscan, but you may want to start with the green; it’s milder)
Honey or agave to sweeten (I personally don’t sweeten mine)
Place water, banana, strawberries, blueberries, kale and sweetener (if using) into blender. Using the high setting, mix until very smooth (the smoother the better). Note: For kale newbies, you can substitute 1 cup of spinach (also high in calcium) in lieu of 1 cup of kale. The results are much smoother and mellower, and it’s a great way to help build up to just kale.
Tuscan White Bean, Turkey Sausage and Kale Soup
Prep: 15 min.
Cook: 4-5 hours
1 cup chopped white or red onion
1 medium leek, washed and white parts sliced thinly
¼ pound thinly sliced sweet Italian sausage
2 cups finely chopped organic Tuscan kale
1 large russet potato, cubed
1 cup organic free-range chicken broth
1 cup Half & Half
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
- In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil and crumble in the sausage, cooking until browned. Drain and set aside.
- In a heavy soup pot that has a lid, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions and leek over low heat, sweating until translucent. Add sausage, potatoes, chicken broth, sage, and seasonings, and bring to a boil. Let simmer until potatoes are tender, 20-30 minutes. Stir in Half & Half and kale, simmering for 10 minutes more.
Apple, Kale, Blueberry Quinoa Salad
1½ cups quinoa (cooked and rinsed well to remove bitterness)
5 large organic kale leaves, finely minced
2 organic Envy, Fuji, or Gala apples, minced
¼ cup dried blueberries
¼ cup feta crumbles
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup organic lemon juice
¼ teaspoon organic lime juice
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Place quinoa in a bowl and mix with finely chopped kale, chopped apples, almonds, blueberries, and feta. For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Add to kale mixture, and toss.
Love kale? What are some of your favorite kale recipes? Share them with us!Tags : food recipes superfood kale