At first glance, kale’s thick, curly leaves might not whet your appetite. But there’s good reason to add the green to your diet. Kale, a member of the cabbage family, is a whole food, meaning it’s low-calorie, super high in vitamins and minerals and just plain good for you. The green is full of cancer-preventing compounds and chemicals that promote lung, eye and immune system health. If you’re stumped about how to eat it and make it tasty, don’t worry. You can steam, sauté, roast or boil the green and transform it from a leafy stalk to a savory dish.
Things You'll Need
Find kale in your local supermarket in the produce section. Choose kale with blue-green, firm, dry leaves. Skip the stuff that looks soft or wilted or has brown edges or holy leaves. Store it the refrigerator in a plastic bag and use it within a few days. Before use, wash thoroughly under cold, running water. One cup of raw kale is super high in vitamin K, A, C and supplies 10 percent of the daily value for adults of vitamin B6, copper, potassium and calcium as recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Steamed kale is good to eat alone or added to soups and stir-fry. To steam, cut off stems and put kale in a steamer basket over boiling water. Steam kale for 5 minutes or until leaves turn bright green. Leaves should be soft but still a bit firm.
Kale adds a rich texture to stir-fry and soup. Add a steamed bunch after the other vegetables are cooked. Heat for 5 minutes and stir well. Also, it’s best to steam kale slightly before sautéing it. Kale leaves are tougher than most other greens and will take awhile to wilt in a sauté. To sauté, heat a pan with olive oil and crushed garlic over medium high heat. Add in steamed kale and stir. Cook for 7 minutes. Eating kale three or more times a week was shown to cut the risk of prostate cancer by 35, as found in a study of over 1,200 men conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.
Roast a bunch of kale in the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash the kale and remove leaves from stems. Toss leaves in olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Roast kale on each side for 7minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Try roasted kale on top of pasta with a dash of rosemary and a drizzle of olive oil.
To make kale soup, boil kale in vegetable or chicken broth for 30 minutes. This will make kale soft and tender. Add in vegetables or meat of your choice and continue cooking for one hour. A popular kale soup recipe adds potatoes and Portuguese sausage.
To remove stems easily, fold kale lengthwise in half, hold the leaves at the base of the stem with your fingers, and pull stem away. Or, use a knife to cut leaves from stem.