Have you been introduced to kale? If not, allow me to have the honor. I think you will soon be enjoying kale for many delicious, healthy meals as you become more acquainted with each other. You will embrace its bounty of nutrients, versatile styles of preparation and convenient availability.
Close relatives of kale include cabbage, collards, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. With lineage like that, kale has to live up to a lot of good nutrition -- and it doesn’t disappoint! More formally known as borecole, kale is a leafy green vegetable that’s available in three varieties: ornamental, curly and dinosaur. Kale tends to thrive in cooler weather and may be available when other dark, leafy greens aren’t in season. Look for the smaller, more tender, milder leaves. The Simple Truth (ST) line already selects the best for you by having Organic Baby Kale. Colors naturally vary from dark green to purple to a deep red, and the leaves will have a curly edge. Think how festive kale will look at dinner.
Like its relatives, kale is a powerhouse when it comes to packing nutrients. I’ve read that it’s the “Queen of Greens.” What a fabulous title! So exactly what does this Queen of Greens bring to the table? Let’s look at what each one-cup serving offers:
Our ST Organic Baby Kale provides those great levels of antioxidants and fiber with a crisp, young texture. Kale has also been cited by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition to have anti-cancer health benefits. While kale is on its way to becoming a “super food” there are some limitations. Since it has such a large amount of Vitamin K, people taking anticoagulants (heart patients) should consult their doctor before eating it. Also, kale should not be eaten with calcium-rich foods such as dairy products. The naturally occurring oxalates in kale can interfere with calcium absorption.
So, now that you know the 411 on kale, I hope you’re comfortable inviting it to a lunch or dinner. Still not sure how to use it? Kale can hang out in your refrigerator, unwashed, in an air-tight plastic bag for up to five days. This patience gives you some time to get inspired. How about trying it as a substitute in a favorite collard greens recipe? Or try thinly slicing it for a salad topped with red peppers, raisins and your favorite dressing. Are you a fan of pasta? Toss some chopped kale with whole-grain pasta and then top with pine nuts, feta cheese and a splash of olive oil. And the possibilities continue to grow ….
Once you invite kale in for a meal, I think you will become fast friends. How cool will it be to tell your friends and family that you’re having the “Queen of Greens” for dinner tonight?
BAKED KALE CHIPS
Start to finish: 20 minutes (10 minutes prep time)
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Slice ST Organic Kale into bite-sized pieces.
Drizzle with ST Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil -- toss to coat kale evenly.
Sprinkle lightly with sea salt or your favorite seasoning mix.
Bake for 10-15 minutes.
KALE AND QUINOA TOSS
Start to finish: 55 minutes (35 minutes prep time)
2 cups water 1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup quinoa 1 tsp ST Whole Black Peppercorns (ground)
12 ST Organic Baby Kale leaves ½ tsp ground sea salt
3 tablespoons ST Organic Olive Oil 1 cup pecans or walnuts
Juice from ½ lemon 1 cup ST Dried Cranberries
1 tsp Dijon mustard 1/2 cup dry chow mein noodles
Boil the water. Add the quinoa, stir, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Let sit about 12 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest for five minutes while covered. Remove cover and allow quinoa to cool completely.
Prepare kale by washing, draining and cutting into small pieces.
In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, pepper and salt until the oil emulsifies. Drizzle over the kale. Add the cooled quinoa, pecans, dried cranberries and chow mein noodles. Toss until blended.
Serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Karen’s role as Home Economist in the Kroger Customer Connect (C|c) is to answer customer questions and write about recipes, ingredient substitutions, and Food Safety. She holds BS and MS degrees from The Ohio State University’s College of Home Economics with a specialty in Resource Management. Karen also has teaching credentials from Miami University (of Ohio) and Wright State University. After having been a food teacher for 20 years she transferred to the corporate world in 2011. Farming and crafting have always been a part of her life. Karen values being part of our food production and preparation processes PLUS being able to share those experiences with others. The Simple Truth Brand embraces the wholesome nature of the foods we select and consume which makes a perfect choice for Karen’s lifestyle.
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