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Tasty, Versatile Kale is an Antioxidant Powerhouse

by Nancy Maneely

Kale Antioxidant immune system healthSo you tried kale a long time ago and swore you’d never let it pass your lips again? If so, you probably ate the somewhat bitter, curly-edged type most often found in supermarkets and used for garnish.

It’s time to give kale a second chance. More grocery stores are beginning to stock a different variety known as Tuscan, Italian black or dinosaur kale. Its leaves are smoother than the old supermarket standard. Go ahead and give this tasty veggie a try, it’s got a divine mellow flavor and once you’ve tried it, you may never go back to other leafy greens.

Your body will thank you for adding kale to your diet. It’s a wonderful source of antioxidants including vitamins A, C and K, not to mention calcium and phytonutrients for immune system health. Like other members of the brassica family such as cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts, kale is a rich source of organosulfur compounds that are known to protect against cancer.

If you’re a gardener, you’ll find that dinosaur kale is easy to grow – a frost-tolerant plant that loves plenty of sun. It is very productive, spreading its large leaves in an arch, reaching a height of two or three feet.

There are endless ways to include kale in your diet every day. Here are a few ideas:

  • Prepare the leaves by trimming off the ribs and stems. Toss with lemon juice, olive oil, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
  • Lightly steam as you would spinach. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Sauté the leaves and add to soups and stews.
  • For a hot & sour dish: Sauté leaves in canola oil and add a couple of mashed garlic cloves and a dash of red pepper flakes, mustard powder, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a sprinkle of light brown sugar.
  • Ditch the diet-busting potato chips and try savory kale chips! Wash and dry leaves, then tear into bite-size pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in a 350-degree oven until edges are just brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Sauté chopped leaves in olive oil with sliced red potatoes and onion. Yum!

What are your favorite recipes using kale?

 

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