If you want to include more vegetables in your diet, you've probably considered trying kale, a leafy green popular with both nutritionists and chefs. Kale is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Plus, Kale is easy to grow and usually inexpensive, making it an excellent choice for health-conscious gardeners or shoppers.
However, until a few years ago, kale had fallen out of popularity, and many people don't know good ways to prepare it. Many people may even be intimidated by its bittersweet flavor and tough texture. Luckily, there are lots of great recipes that bring out the best in kale.
If you crave crunchy snacks but want to make a healthier choice, consider making kale chips. Kale chips have a hearty, slightly bitter flavor that many people find is addictive. They're often baked in olive oil, another healthy choice, and you can add any seasoning you like such as kosher salt, garlic powder, paprika, or even a little turmeric.
Kale chips are simple for even an inexperienced cook to make. You'll only need a few ingredients and an oven. Start with bagged kale or fresh leaves. Tear it into bite-sized pieces. You might want to remove the ribs, the fibrous centers of each leaf if you're trying to achieve maximum crunch. Spread the kale leaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then pour on a teaspoon or two of olive oil and toss with your hands to get it good and coated. Add your seasoning, then bake at 325 degrees for around 15 minutes for crisp results.
Sturdy, crunchy, and full of flavor, kale makes an ideal base for hearty salads. Thanks to its robust taste, kale can be combined with other pungent ingredients like strong cheeses, meats, or fruits without getting lost in the mix. Due to its texture, kale performs best as a salad base when the dressing is massaged into the leaves instead of just drizzled on. Kale pairs perfectly with autumn flavors and does well with cold or warm dressings without wilting.
In order to achieve the best salad, balance is key. Since kale has a slightly bitter flavor, this salad adds sweet elements like dried cherries and a dressing made with maple syrup for balance.
2 cups curly kale leaves
1/4 cup walnuts
One-quarter cup dried cherries
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
One teaspoon Dijon mustard
Simply combine the salad ingredients and toss until well distributed. Prepare the dressing by shaking in a mason jar.
Thanks to its texture, kale can withstand a warm dressing without getting soggy. Try this tantalizing salad with crispy bacon and a warm vinaigrette.
4 cups curly or lacinato kale
1/3 cup toasted walnuts or almonds
Six slices of bacon (reserve drippings for dressing)
Three tablespoons of reserved bacon drippings (use olive oil if you didn't have enough drippings)
Two tablespoons of minced onion or shallot
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Two teaspoons brown sugar
One teaspoon Dijon mustard
To prepare the salad, strip the kale leaves from the stems and cut into thin strips. Top with the toasted nuts and set aside.
Cook the bacon in a frying pan over medium heat. Remove the strips when done and set aside. Make sure there are around three tablespoons of drippings left in the pan and saute the shallots or onion in the drippings. Whisk in the other ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Massage the warm dressing into the leaves. Chop the bacon strips up and add on top.
If all else fails, but you still want to include kale in your diet, try adding it to a smoothie. This recipe includes lots of fruit flavors to balance the kale's bitterness.
1 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 cups kale
Trim the kale leaves from the ribs. Blend all ingredients until smooth. For the freshest taste and appearance, enjoy immediately.
If you're new to kale and wondering where it fits in the vegetable family, you might be more familiar with a few of its cousins. Kale is a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens. Rich in folate, which is especially important for women of childbearing age, and vitamin K, which is essential for blood clot formation, cruciferous vegetables are a wonderful addition to your diet. Kale, a dark leafy green, is also a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as phytonutrients and other antioxidants.
Looking for a way to watch your weight without feeling hungry? Adding kale can help. Though it only has 33 calories in each cup, it's packed with fiber, which helps you feel full longer. High fiber also helps manage blood glucose levels, which is helpful for those who are dealing with diabetes or pre-diabetes. It's also high in magnesium, a mineral that many people don't get enough of, that can aid in digestion.
Kale can be leafy or curly, green, red, or even purple. While exploring your kale options, you're likely to encounter four main edible types: