All hail the almighty kale!
So why the buzz surrounding this particular green?
Because it’s said to be a nutritional powerhouse and is a green that surely packs a punch. Incorporating foods like kale into your diet is so important because you receive an array of beneficial nutrients (like Vitamins A, C, and especially K) that will assist with overall proper functioning in your body. It also is filled with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancerous nutrients like glucosinolates, which are compounds that can be found in cruciferous vegetables (kale, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, mustard greens) and are hailed for assisting with the elimination of carcinogens. You can read more about cruciferous vegetables and glucosinolates on this page from Oregon State University’s website. Kale has tough fibrous leaves and a little bit of a bitter taste, but that doesn’t have to stop you from eating it in its raw form; here are four tasty ways to prepare and consume it.
1. Marinated Kale Salads
Marinading kale is one of my favorite ways to eat raw kale.
Marinading is incredibly easy and simple. My go-to marinade consists of lemon juice, olive oil and minced garlic and is as simple as mixing those ingredients with broken-up kale and letting it sit in the fridge overnight. The next morning you can add any additional ingredients to jazz up your salad. I’ve worked at two fine dining restaurants that have both had a marinated kale salad with that same marinade. One had mixed berries and parmesan with it and the other had dried cherries, pine nuts and parmesan. Another idea is this Marinated Kale Salad or this Cucumber one.
2. Raw Massaged Kale Miso Salads
I made a lil’ video last summer (that time when I lived on a boat in San Diego..) showing how to make this type of salad. You can find that video here. Trust me, I’m well aware of the corny, poor quality nature of this video. But that’s beside the point. The content is what’s most important. I love massaged kale miso salads because miso is a fermented food, and adding fermented foods to your diet is important for the health of your gut flora; they feed the good bacteria in your stomach that aids in digestion. In addition, massaging the kale helps break it down so that it’s not as tough and the miso is pretty salty, which helps with masking the bitterness of some types of kale.
3. Juice and Smoothies
Juicing and smoothies is an awesome way to add not just kale, but any type of greens to your diet. I always add some type of greens to my smoothies and juices, and kale is no exception. I don’t mind my juices tasting pretty ‘earthy’ and ‘green’ (especially when I know they’re really good for me!) so I juice as many vegetables and greens as I can and then add maybe just an apple or orange for a hint of sweetness. I always try to have more greens and vegetables than fruit just to limit my sugar intake. The best way to make juices and smoothies is just to experiment! You can always add more ingredients or another piece of fruit if you really don’t like something. If you need some inspiration, here is a website dedicated entirely to Kale smoothie ideas.
4. Kale Chips
Kale chips are the epitome of healthy, delicious snacking! These vegan ‘cheesy’ kale chips are the best I’ve ever made and tasted, but there are so many other different kale chip recipes out there too. Often times you’ll see that the kale needs to be dehydrated to make the chips, but you can also bake it on your oven’s lowest setting if you do not have a dehydrator. You can find 15 more ideas for kale chips here.