Kale…your new friend!

Kale

Kale..

…is one of those things that people love or hate.  I LOVE it!

Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. A leafy green, kale is available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties.

What makes kale so exceptional? Here is why it’s a superstar vegetable — and ways to work it into your diet.

One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

With that said, here are a few of my favorite ways to eat KALE!

 

Simple Kale Salad

Ingredients:

(I have a habit of doing everything in ounces, it’s easier for me, of course you can eyeball everything too and that works just fine.)

Dinosaur Kale (de-stemmed and chopped in small pieces) 3 oz

Olive Oil (I love Bariani’s) 2/3 oz

Balsamic Vinegar ½ oz

Roasted Unsalted Pine Nuts or Sunflower Seeds 2/3 oz

Black Mission Figs 5.5 oz (at other times of year, substitute nectarines or peaches, just another to add a fresh blast of sweetness)

A tad of cooked pasta (regular) or brown rice pasta (I use Fusilli, but any will do!)

A dash of Tarragon

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Mix all ingredients into a large bowl and serve, all the flavors are present and so healthy, minus the pasta to be even healthier.

 

Cheesy Kale

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large bunch dinosaur kale, de-stemmed and torn into bite size pieces

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup of raw cashews (ground fine)

1/3 teaspoon sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C). Drizzle olive oil over the kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with the nutritional yeast, cashews and salt. Stir with your hands to coat kale. Spread kale onto baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven until kale begins to get slightly crisp; rotate racks and flip the chips, and continue baking until completely crisp, 45 to 60 minutes total. Make sure to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn; if you notice certain chips ready much sooner than others, take them out.  The best way to bake these is in a food dehydrator if you have one.

 

Creamy Kale Salad

4 cups chopped kale (ribs removed)

1/4 cup chopped red onion

3 tablespoons raisins

1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt

2-3 tablespoons of mayonnaise

2 teaspoons sugar

1 lemon, zested and juiced

3 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Directions: Mix kale, red onion, and raisins in a large bowl. Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice together in a bowl; pour over the kale mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours to overnight. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the salad and toss to serve.

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