Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What the Veg?: Three Ways to Cook Kale

Kale has been the "it" gal of superfoods for a while now.  When it comes to dark, leafy greens, kale happens to be one of my favorites.  It comes in many varieties - Lacinato (aka Tuscan), curly gray-green, and red Russian.  It gets its hero rep because it is packed with beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and a ridiculous amount of calcium.  It is super easy to prepare and maintains about half its volume when cooked, as opposed to spinach.  The popularity of this green star has even created a demand for it pre-washed and chopped in bags - a busy mom's best friend.  Below are three of my favorite ways to serve up this leafy powerhouse.

Sauteed kale in olive oil with garlic and balsamic vinegar
Sauteed kale

Saute it: This side dish is so easy to make and the aroma fills the kitchen with green goodness.  I chop 2-3 cloves of garlic (love, love, love garlic!) and sauté in a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  When the garlic turns lightly golden, add in a bag of pre-washed, organic kale.  I use tongs to move the kale around until it just starts to "wilt" or soften.  Turn off the heat and drizzle in a bit of balsamic vinegar and add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Toss to mix.

Make it meal: Serve over quinoa.

Roasted kale chips with nutritional yeast
Kale chips

Roast it:  My kids love these "chips" which can act like a side dish or snack.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with olive oil and spread chopped kale on the sheet.  Shake on salt and pepper to your liking and a bit of fresh, chopped garlic.  Roast for about 7-10 minutes, depending on your oven.  Chips should be crisp, but not brown.  For extra fun, sprinkle with nutritional yeast (available at Whole Foods).

Make it a meal: Serve alongside Gardein's Seven Grain Crispy Tenders or sliced tempeh.

Using kale in a salad with carrots, avocado, cabbage, tomatoes and sunflower seeds
Kale salad

Toss it:  This just might be my favorite kale salad (close tie between this and Veggie Grill's All Hail Kale salad!)

I use organic Tuscan kale (chopped and ready to go from Trader Joe's) and add in shredded carrots, shredded green cabbage, and halved cherry tomatoes.  For the dressing, I mix 1/3 cup Tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos (both available at Whole Foods), 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/3 cup olive oil.  I drizzle a tablespoon or so of the dressing over the veggies and gently massage the kale with my hands.  This tenderizes it a bit.  I top with fresh chopped avocado and sunflower seeds.

Make it a meal: Add in chopped tofu or garbanzo beans.

Do you have a favorite way to cook kale?  I'd love to get your recipe - please share!