How to eat more kale without getting burned out
Here's how to get the most out of this leafy green without getting bored.
Kale. It's the vegetable of the week – maybe even the decade. It's so popular that you're probably getting close to the end of your rope with this leafy green. But you have to admit, kale's got great things going for it: it's one of the healthiest veggies you can eat and also one of the cheapest to buy.
A staple of the Mediterranean diet, kale makes a solid base for a salad, but this is just the beginning of the many delicious ways this hearty vegetable can be enjoyed.
Give it a chance to shine
Kale is one of the most flavorful leafy veggies. Sauteed with garlic and a little olive oil, it's perfection all on its own. Roasted with sea salt and paprika, kale gives the regular potato chip a run for the money.
The basics of kale chips are simple to grasp: chop kale into chip-sized pieces, pat dry and sprinkle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, flip them over or mix them up and stick them back in for another 10 minutes or until they're crispy. Once you get your kale chip recipe down, you can experiment with all manner of flavors, from salt and vinegar to cocoa and cayenne.
Start your day with it
A hearty breakfast of kale, chickpeas and grape tomatoes is a great way to channel the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. (Photo: Amelia Crook/Flickr)
Take those kale chips and add them to a breakfast hash topped with an egg, or sprinkle them in an omelet. If you're living the dairy-free life, definitely consider making kale part of your morning routine – it's a rich source of potassium. And if you're the kind of person who often reaches for a mid-morning snack, kale is the solution to your problem. Packed full of fiber, it will keep you satiated longer than a bowl of cereal.
Toss kale into your breakfast smoothie or send it through the juicer for a concentrated dose of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. To ensure your smoothie is not, er, chewy, be sure to blend it for a few minutes longer than usual. A great go-to kale smoothie recipe is a blend of 1-2 heaping tablespoons of almond butter, a frozen banana, a bunch of kale and unsweetened almond milk. Add kale a little at a time to make sure it's being fully blended.
Toss it in a bowl
Kale goes with almost any rice bowl you can come up with. Here, it takes a side role alongside other veggies while tempura-battered sea bass takes center stage. (Photo: qasic/Flickr)
If you haven't already discovered the wonderful world of veggie bowls, we're about to change your life. White or brown rice (or even quinoa) makes a wonderful base, and you can improvise the toppings depending on what you have on hand – but you can always count on kale to round out the mix in terms of flavors and nutrients. Even better, if you're trying to go low-carb, kale works as a base itself for a veggie bowl. It's a well-rounded lunch that you can easily mix up every day.
Let it inspire your soups and stews
A dollop of saffron yogurt is a creamy, tangy addition to this lentil vegetable soup. (Photo: Dishing Up Delights/Flickr)
Kale adds texture – not to mention a boost of antioxidants – to any soup. Unlike spinach, kale maintains its heartiness and holds up well, even after a few days in the fridge. Add kale to a soup with legumes, and you've got a wholesome vegetarian meal. Dishing Up Delights uses a base of lentils, onion, kale and roasted tomatoes, and topped it all off with saffron yogurt. Yum!
Kale also shines in our sweet potato and kale soup, a sweet and savory meal for any time of year.
Use it to accent your meals
Kale slaw is a healthier – and much more colorful! – version of the classic accoutrement. (Photo: tracy benjamin/Flickr)
Kale slaw will quickly become your go-to picnic side dish. This recipe from Shutterbean incorporates apples, carrots and cabbage, with a healthy vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise. Kale would also fit in nicely as a substitute for bok choy in our similar recipe that sports an almond butter dressing.
Kale also makes a great pesto. This recipe from Epicurious blends kale with basil, olive oil, walnuts, garlic and Parmesan cheese. It's so good, you can toss it with pasta and call it a day!
Something sweet to chew on
If worse comes to worst, add vanilla ice cream. (Photo: stone-soup/Flickr)
Yes, you can add kale to baked goods and the final product won't taste disgusting – trust us.
"I mean, if green smoothies work, why not?" Jules Clancy of Stone Soup reasoned in her kale and chocolate cake recipe, pictured above. She described the cake as having a "subtle vegetable, almost tobacco-ey" flavor.
Kale can find a place in almost anything you create in the kitchen, so next time you have some on hand, get creative. What are some of your favorite ways to cook with and serve kale? Let us know in the comments below!
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Related Topics: Healthy eating