Kale has recently become a hugely popular superfood, and for good reason! This leafy green is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and all sorts of other good stuff that our bodies need. But, as with any new ingredient, it can be tricky to know how to cook kale in a way that makes it tasty and enjoyable. If you’re struggling to incorporate kale into your meals, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with some top tips and tricks for cooking kale to perfection.
What is Kale?
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that belongs to the Brassica family, which includes other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. This leafy green vegetable is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s easy to grow, versatile, and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes.
The Nutritional Value of Kale
Kale is a low-calorie, high-fiber vegetable that is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and various minerals including potassium, iron, and calcium. It also contains antioxidants that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals. One cup of raw kale contains:
- 33 calories
- 6 grams of carbohydrates
- 3 grams of protein
- 2.5 grams of fiber
- 0 grams of fat
- 684% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K
- 206% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A
- 134% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C
Why is Kale Popular?
Kale has become a staple for health-conscious eaters around the world, and not just because it’s trendy. There are numerous reasons why this green leafy vegetable has grown in popularity in recent years. One significant factor is its impressive nutritional profile. With high concentrations of vitamins A, C, and K and essential minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium, kale is a powerhouse when it comes to providing essential nutrients.
The Health Benefits of Kale
Aside from its impressive nutritional profile, kale also boasts several health benefits, making it a popular choice for people looking to improve their overall well-being. Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should consider adding more kale to your diet:
- Kale is very low in calories, making it an excellent choice for weight management.
- Kale may help to boost cardiovascular health by reducing bad cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.
- The antioxidants in kale can help to prevent chronic illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Kale is a good source of fiber, which can promote healthy digestion and help you feel full for longer periods.
- Kale may also help to improve bone health, due to its high calcium content.
How to Select and Store Kale?
Kale is a nutrient-packed superfood that can be used in a variety of dishes, from salads to smoothies. To get the most out of your kale, it is important to select and store it properly. Here are some tips and tricks to help you keep your kale fresh and crisp:
Choose the right kale
When selecting kale, look for leaves that are firm, crisp, and dark green in color. Avoid kale with yellow or brown spots, as this can be a sign that the kale is past its prime. Additionally, choose smaller leaves, as they tend to be more tender and less bitter than larger leaves.
Store your kale properly
Proper storage is key to keeping your kale fresh and flavorful. Start by removing any rubber bands or twist ties that may be wrapped around the bunch. Then, place the kale in an airtight container or plastic bag. You can also wrap the kale in damp paper towels to help keep it moist. Store your kale in the refrigerator, preferably in the crisper drawer, for up to five days.
Prep your kale ahead of time
To make meal prep easier, you can also prep your kale ahead of time. Start by washing and drying the leaves thoroughly. Then, remove the stems by folding the leaves in half and slicing along the stem using a sharp knife. You can then chop, tear, or massage the leaves as desired.
How to Prepare Kale for Cooking?
Kale is a superfood that can be enjoyed in various dishes, from salads to soups. Before cooking kale, you need to prepare it properly. Here’s how:
Step 1: Cleaning and Removing Tough Stems
First, rinse the kale leaves under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris. Then, pat them dry with a paper towel or salad spinner. Next, remove the tough stems by holding the stem with one hand and pulling the leaf off with the other hand. You can also chop the kale leaves into small pieces and discard the stem.
Step 2: Cutting Kale into Bite-Sized Pieces or Leaving Them Whole
Once you have removed the kale stems, you can cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces or leave them whole, depending on your preference and the recipe you are making. If you want to use kale in a salad, chop it into small pieces. For soups or stews, you can leave the kale leaves whole or shred them.
Step 3: Focusing on Different Types of Kale for Different Recipes
There are several types of kale that you can use, such as curly kale, dinosaur kale, and red kale. Each type of kale has its own unique flavor and texture, which makes it perfect for certain recipes. For example, curly kale is great for salads, while dinosaur kale is ideal for soups and stews. Red kale is perfect for adding color to your dishes. Experiment with different types of kale to find the perfect match for your recipes.
TIP: Another way to prepare kale is by massaging it. Massaging kale with olive oil or lemon juice can help tenderize the leaves and make them easier to digest. Plus, it can enhance the flavor of your dish.
What Are Some Delicious Kale Recipes?
Kale is a versatile leafy green that can be used in a variety of dishes. Whether sautÃ©ed, roasted, or eaten raw, this healthy superfood is packed with nutrients and vitamins. Here are some delicious kale recipes to try for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:
Kale chips are a great healthy snack alternative to regular chips. To make kale chips, preheat your oven to 350Â°F. Wash and dry the kale leaves and remove the stems. Cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Toss the kale with olive oil and seasonings of your choice, such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, or nutritional yeast. Spread the kale out on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until crispy.
Kale salads are a refreshing and healthy meal option. Start by massaging the kale leaves with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. This helps to tenderize the kale and remove any bitter taste. Add your favorite toppings, such as cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado, feta cheese, or grilled chicken. For the dressing, try a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and dijon mustard.
Kale smoothies are a great way to get your daily dose of greens. Combine kale leaves, frozen berries, almond milk, and a banana in a blender. Add a scoop of protein powder for an extra boost. Blend until smooth and enjoy!
Kale soups are a comforting and hearty meal. Start by sautÃ©ing onions, garlic, and celery in a bit of olive oil. Add chopped kale, diced potatoes, and vegetable broth. Simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add cooked sausage or diced ham for a meatier option.
Kale stir-fries are a flavorful and nutritious meal. Start by stir-frying your favorite vegetables, such as bell peppers, onions, and broccoli. Add chopped kale and cook until wilted. For the protein, you can add diced chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Serve over rice or quinoa.
How to Incorporate Kale into Your Diet?
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense greens out there. But, like most leafy greens, it isn’t always the most flavorful. Incorporating the veggie into your diet can feel like a chore, but there are many creative and healthy ways to reap the benefits of kale.
Eat Cooked Kale in Soups, Stews, and Casseroles
One of the easiest ways to incorporate kale into your diet is by cooking it. Simply sautÃ©ing kale with garlic and olive oil can give it a delicious taste, but adding it to soups, stews, and casseroles are great ways to benefit from the leafy green’s nutrients. Kale compliments many comfort food dishes, so don’t be afraid to add chunks of it to your next pot of homemade chili or beef stew.
Craft Kale Chips for Healthy Snacking
Kale chips are a delicious and healthy alternative to potato chips. To make, sprinkle salt and olive oil on kale leaves and bake them in the oven until crispy. The result is a satisfying, crispy snack that won’t leave you feeling guilty.
Make Green Smoothies and Juices with Kale
Green smoothies and juices have gained popularity as a way to consume nutritious ingredients on the go. Adding kale to a smoothie or juice can boost your digestion and give you a healthy dose of vitamins. Experiment with different recipes and add ins to make a drink that suits your taste buds. A great starter smoothie is kale, banana, Greek yogurt, and almond milk.
Swap Out Lettuce for Kale in Salads
Kale salads are a great way to add variety to your lunchtime routine. Kale leaves hold up to dressing, so they are a great substitute for lettuce in a salad. Get adventurous with different salad toppings and dressings to make a lunch that is both healthy and flavorful.
Blend Kale into Spaghetti Sauce and Dips
Blending kale into spaghetti sauce and dips like hummus and guacamole can be an easy way to sneak some additional greens into your diet. The leafy green can add a nutritious twist to any sauce or dip and can help to reduce feelings of guilt when indulging in dips and spreads.
Substitute Kale for Other Ingredients in Recipes
There are plenty of ways to substitute or add kale in your favorite recipes. Try chopping kale and adding it to omelets or mixing it with ground turkey for a healthier meatball. The possibilities are endless, and adding it to your everyday recipes can lead to healthier and more flavorful meals.
Happy Cooking and Bon Appetit!
Thank you for taking the time to learn about cooking kale! With these tips and tricks, you’ll be a kale-cooking pro in no time. Remember to experiment with different recipes and methods to find your perfect dish. We hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and please visit us again for more cooking tips and tricks in the future!
Cooking Kale: Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Dishes
- 1 bunch fresh kale
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Wash the kale thoroughly under running water. Remove any tough stems or ribs by cutting them out with a knife. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, toss the kale with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder until coated.
- Place the seasoned kale on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy.
- Remove the kale from the oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.