Kale Sucks! That is what a very smart and funny guy said to me the other day. Yes, it is true some people just do not feel the love that is going around for this amazing vegetable. There are probably more people on the kale sucks side than those wearing “Eat more kale” t-shirts (eatmorekale.com).
Kale has been the media darling for awhile now and there is even a book dedicated to it (The Book of Kale by Sharon Hanna). This does not mean everyone is consuming kale cesar salads and kale chips let alone cooking it on a weekly basis.<
Let’s face it, kale is deep green and ruffled, spiky or bumpy depending on the type. Not an easy vegetable to warm up to. Butter lettuce and corn are so much softer and friendlier.
So what to do…first, as many already know, kale has many virtues if not eaters. One cups of chopped raw kale has only 33 calories; 7 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein. The best part is that you get 206% of your daily vitamin A; 134% of your vitamin C; 26% of your manganese; 9% of your calcium and potassium; and 6% of your iron and magnesium. Big deal? Yes!
Vitamin A for strong eyes and antioxidant power for immune and heart health
Vitamin C for collagen production, healthy gums, immune function and antioxidant support
Iron for preventing low energy levels and decreased physical performance
Magnesium and Potassium to aid in the prevention of heart disease and high blood pressure
Calcium for building and maintaining bones and teeth and heart beat regulation (Bonus: calcium absorption from kale is far superior to that of milk)
Manganese to aid in blood sugar control and energy metabolism
I am not ignoring the fact that kale also has an abundance of vitamin K which is needed for blooding clotting and healthy bones. It is just that an individual who takes an anticoagulant such as Warfarin should check with their doctor to determine if kale is an appropriate vegetable for their diet.
It is true that kale is crazy healthy but if you are still not convinced there are a number of great recipes out there. Search for simple ones such as the kale cesar mentioned above or another raw kale salad. Be sure to “massage” the dressing into the leaves and let them set for a bit – like coleslaw. A simple steam-sauté of kale with a bit of olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes is a very easy side dish that pairs well with most things. Or simply add chopped kale to a pot of penne, blue cheese and walnuts.
If you feel a bit more ambitious, check out the wonderful and easy recipe for Mujadara from Melissa Clark at NYT.com. It is a one-pot dish of lentils and rice perfumed with spices and topped with steamed kale (http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/1014804/One-Pot-Mujadara-With-Crispy-Leeks-and-Spring-Greens.html).