Hail to the Kale

 

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I am in love with a leafy green vegetable!

Who wouldn’t be? Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. It belongs to the Brassica family. Some of its relatives include cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. One cup of raw kale contains: 30 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 1,020 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin K, 200 percent vitamin C, 180 percent vitamin A, 40 percent magnesium, 15 percent of both calcium and vitamin B6. Recently, the antioxidant qualities have helped kale to gain in popularity because of its high levels of sulfur containing phytonutrients. These phytonutrients and antioxidants rid our bodies of toxins and can assist in the fight against cancer.

This spring, I decided to attempt growing my own kale, and I found that it’s very easy to grow in our mild spring climate. The only problem I see so far is that my chickens seem to like it too.

So, how can you incorporate kale into your diet? I have enjoyed eating kale for the last year in hot soups, in quesadillas, and any recipe that calls for spinach. Kale holds its color and shape, and won’t turn limp like spinach. But, my very favorite way to enjoy kale is in chip form.

When roasted, the leaves are crunchy, with a melt in your mouth quality that’s reminiscent of potato chips. The flavor is fresh and mild, with a finish of salt and garlic.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Crispy Kale Chips:
4 cups kale leaves (torn into bite-size pieces and large middle stems removed)
1 Tablespoons good olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Rinse the kale and pat it dry thoroughly. Remove and discard the thick ribs and roughly chop or break up the leaves a bit. Pat leaves dry again. In a large bowl, toss with olive oil, garlic, sea salt and pepper. Spread out onto a large rimmed baking sheet. The kale leaves do not need to be in a single layer, they shrink in volume as they bake. Bake for 15-20 minutes, giving them a stir every five minutes or so, until its tender, crisp on the edges and slightly browned.

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Raw kale leaves are also good in smoothies, where combined with more flavorful ingredients, they blend very well, and retain all their nutritional value.

Add these items to a blender and mix well: 1/2 cup mango, 1 cup blueberries, 1 1/2 cups coconut water, 1 cup kale leaves (stems removed), 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1/4 avocado, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 Tablespoon flax seeds.

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You’ll have a delicious, spicy, filling snack (or lunch). If you don’t love spice, you can eliminate or decrease the cayenne pepper. This recipe is one of my favorites from the Dr. Oz 3-day cleanse.

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