It’s National Kale Day which means you have more than enough reason to turn your nose up at naysayers and eat your healthy helping of this leafy green.
Before we get into the how of kale – like how to drink or eat it (even if you’re not its number 1 fan) – let’s get into the why.
There are plenty of proven benefits to eating kale. Of course, there are the common logistics concerning its vitamins and minerals – like Vitamin A, K, C and B in addition to being relatively high in Calcium and Potassium – but sometimes how these things directly and positively affect your body can get a little lost in translation. The main benefits you’re reaping that you should definitely know?
Kale is great for eye health, your immune system and helps lower cholesterol – which translates to a decreased possibility of developing heart disease.
Now that we’ve covered that, here are some ways to use this popular and trendy green in your healthy recipes.
- Smoothies & Juices: A tried and trusted breakfast for many, kale is quite popular (and loved) among smoothie and juice lovers. A great smoothie concoction would be as simple as banana, kale, almond milk, almond butter and chia seeds, while juice could be a simple mix of kale, lemon, apple, parsley and ginger.
- Soup: Make a classic chicken noodle soup heartier by adding in kale and an assortment of other veggies. You could even switch up a split pea by blending in some kale and lemon, too!
- Dips: We know there was a great debate over mixing peas in guacamole, but we think: Mix in the greens! The calories in guac really add up and if you could break it up by adding some less calorically dense vegetables, then why not?
- Salads (Massaged): When it comes to kale salads, here is my best advice: Massage it! Oftentimes, leaving kale leaves whole or large leads to a chewy, grainy and dry texture – unappetizing qualities for sure. Instead, make sure you chop your kale leaves and drizzle your dressing of choice first. I typically opt for olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. I then combine it all in a bowl until the fibrous veggie feels more “marinated” and soft. Then top with your ingredients of choice like grilled chicken, chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado.
- Salads (Finely Chopped): Another great way to utilize kale is to finely chop it and mix into bean salads or other types of side dishes including chicken or potato salads.
- Creamed: Creamed spinach may be the real, authentic deal, but who says you can’t use kale instead? The holidays are coming up soon enough which makes it a perfect time to experiment with this new method.
- Sautéed: This has to be my all-time favorite way to prepare kale because it’s easy and delicious. It’s also easier to digest for a lot of people than when it’s raw. In a small pan, pour a dollop of coconut oil and when you see it’s warming up, put a couple of handfuls of kale in the pan. Sautée the green lightly with a dash of salt and pepper. Top with your protein of choice. I love this in the mornings with a runny egg over the top and paired with a half avocado
- Pasta: Pasta isn’t all gluttony. A whole wheat or quinoa pasta paired with kale, mushroom and a dash of parmesan will satisfy every craving.
- Savory Bakes: Whether it’s a casserole, meatloaf, frittata or omelet, anything you can put kale into and then pop into an oven is fair game.
- Salad Dressings & Sauces: Just like you can mix kale into smoothies and juices, you can totally blend it up for salad dressings and sauces. A great salad dressing to try would be lemon juice, avocado, kale and hemp seed oil. Make sure to blend it up well – your best bet being using a Vitamix.
- Chips: For those horrible midnight snack attacks, kale chips have been many people’s saving grace. Two ways to make them would be either purchasing a dehydrator and making them crispy in that way or drizzling them in olive oil and baking them in an oven. Easy, simple and delicious.
For more on Eating Well, check out our articles here.