Food School: a 31 Day Course (day 21 Cooking with Kale)

Cooking with Kale

On Day 20 of Food School–I wrote about how to clean kale and prep it for meals.

What is kale? and what are the benefits of eating it?

  • Kale is a leafy green vegetable related to broccoli and cabbage.
  • One cup of chopped kale has just 33 calories.
  • One cup has 9% of the RDA of calcium (this helps answer the questions about my kids getting enough calcium.)
  • Loaded with tons of vitamins:  206% of vitamin A, 134 % of vitamin C, and 684% of vitamin K, these antioxidants are what gives kale the bragging rights of being a cancer fighting food.  
  • A good source of the minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
  •  Kale is also great for eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.  (I think my eyes might be too far gone for kale to help–but it can’t hurt.)

How to incorporate kale into your diet.

Personally I do not sit and eat a plate of kale.  I love the taste and texture but haven’t yet been able to eat a full kale salad or smoothie.  But I don’t need to–an neither do you!  To get the benefits of kale and to begin using it in my cooking–I thought of using kale like onions!  I wouldn’t eat a plate of onions–but I do love caramelized onions as a garnish? condiment? I’m not sure the best way to describe it but –I use kale the same way.

How I eat kale.

  • first I clean a bunch of kale ahead of time so that I can easily add it to my foods.
  • I steam kale with onions and red peppers–I enjoy this just by itself–but have added a little balsamic vinegar and feta cheese to make a more substantial side dish.  (I don’t eat cheese but my family does–preparing food with cheese sprinkled on top–is a way to make everyone happy and respectful of our different food choices.)
  • Sautéed kale with apples, walnuts and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Note:  when you cook balsamic vinegar that taste changes to a earthy, full bodied . . . almost sauce (but not quite).  I have a recipe here for brown butter sauce.  Note:  this is a more complex recipe than I would normally make–it was for a contest . . . which I did win!
  • I add minced kale to my spaghetti sauce.
  • I make kale chips.  Simple toss them in a little bit of olive oil, add some really good salt, lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake @ 275 F for 20 minutes, flip them 1/2 way through cooking.  The kids love these as a snack.  I often use kale chips to garnish a meal–makes it look fancy and the kids love that!
  • I buy baby kale from the store and add it to my salads.
  • I cook polenta and layer the kale, pepper, onion mix.  This is a great make ahead meal.  
  • I add it randomly to my soups.
  • I add it to quiche.  You can find my quiche recipe here and another one here.

Ok, so have I convinced you how easy it is to eat kale?  to just try it maybe?  If you have any questions at all about my recipes, how to make polenta, or where to get more info about kale–leave a message in the comments.

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cookbook coming soon

Books I suggest: The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat,

Young Readers Edition The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet

Some of my friends have also joined the 31 day challenge:  

Anastacia Maness

Racquel Narciso…/

Pamela Hodges

I’m linking up to these blogs



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