Kale – The Super Veggie
There’s a reason why kale is the most popular of the greens these days: it’s delicious, versatile, and incredibly nutritious. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, and kale recipes seem to be poping up everywhere.
By itself kale, mustard greens, and collards, can be bitter. However, with the right kale recipe you will love the explosion of flavor in your mouth – and not just because it’s good for you. Certainly kale can be cooked, but there are kale recipes for juicers and for those who like to throw kale into smoothies. Kale recipes are generally easy to follow. But, the trick is trying a few recipes to see which ones you enjoy the most.
Below is a comparison of the most popular leafy vegetables.
|Vegetable||Calories||Fiber||Protein||Vit A||Vit C||Calcium||Iron|
|Mustard Greens||21 cal||3g||3g||177%||59%||10%||5%|
|Collard Greens||49 cal||5g||4g||308%||58%||27%||12%|
|Swiss Chard||35 cal||4g||3g||214%||43%||10%||22%|
|Source: Self Nutrition Data|
Foods that match the above stat’s are hard to find. All four types of greens are rich in many other nutrients, including manganese, folate, copper, choline, magnesium, potassium and vitamins E, K, B2 and B6, and antioxidants. Kale even has more Vitamin C per serving than an orange!
As you can see in the chart above, kale does come out ahead of the other greens in vitamins A and C, but Swiss chard has 16 percent more iron than kale. Collard greens has 18 percent more calcium per serving of kale and double the amount of protein and iron. And mustard greens holds its own by having the least amount of calories and slightly more protein and calcium than kale.
Kale recipes are abundant, fun, and unique, so it’s time to give it a shot. Try kale in salads, soups, omelets, pasta and simple side dishes. Also, if a kale recipe contains bacon or other flavor enhancing food to spruce it up – don’t sweat it! You’re still getting a powerhouse of nutrition.
Below are some of the best kale recipes we’ve found. Kale recipes can generally use other leafy vegitables interchangeably if you prefer.
Kale Soup Recipe: Garlic, Greens and White Bean Soup (Serves 7)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- Juice and zest of 1 small lemon (2 tablespoons juice)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 6 cups chopped dark leafy greens of choice
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 5 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or other white beans, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced or 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
- In a stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Saute until the onion is fully softened, about 8 minutes. Add the greens and garlic, and saute until the greens are wilted. (Note: saute time will vary depending on greens.)
- Add the broth, beans, rosemary, black pepper, hot pepper sauce, and the remaining lemon juice and salt. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Adjust seasoning.
- Ladle into individual bowls, sprinkle with the lemon zest, and serve. Nutrition information per 1-cup serving: 100 calories; 2 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 550 mg sodium; 16 g total carbohydrate; 5 g dietary fiber; 3 g sugars; 4 g protein.
Kale Recipe: Kale and Garbanzo Beans
- 2 center-cut bacon slices $
- 1 cup chopped carrot $
- 1/2 cup chopped onion $
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 (15-ounce) cans organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
- 4 cups chopped fresh kale
- 1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt $
- 4 lemon wedges (optional)
- Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon, and crumble. Add 1 cup carrot and chopped onion to drippings in pan, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin, and red pepper; cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken broth, 1 cup water, and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add 4 cups kale to bean mixture. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until kale is tender, stirring occasionally. Ladle about 1 1/4 cups bean mixture into each of 4 bowls, and top each serving with 2 tablespoons yogurt. Sprinkle with bacon, and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
Kale Pasta Recipe: Pasta with Black Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Parsnips
Black kale—sometimes called cavolo nero—is dark green and becomes very tender when cooked. If black kale is unavailable, use regular kale.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided $
- 3 cups (1/3-inch) diagonally cut parsnip (about 1 pound)
- 2 1/2 cups sliced onion (about 1 large) $
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine $
- 8 cups trimmed chopped black kale (about 3 bunches)
- 1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
- 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add parsnip to pan; cook 12 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring occasionally. Place in a large bowl; keep warm.
- Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-low heat. Add onion to pan; cook 20 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in thyme and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in kale and broth; cook, covered, 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Uncover; cook 4 minutes or until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a sieve over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Add drained pasta to kale mixture. Stir in parsnips, 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cook for 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Add remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid if needed to moisten. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
Kale Salad Recipe: Kale, Quinoa, and Avocado Salad with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette (makes 1 large salad)
Steaming the kale removes some of the bitterness. The salad dressing ties all the flavors together. A quartet of super foods (kale, quinoa, avocado, and olive oil) make this an especially healthy meal.
- 2/3 cup quinoa
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
- 1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese Dressing
- 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Bring the quinoa and 1 1/3 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Place kale in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water in a saucepan. Cover saucepan with a lid and steam kale until hot, about 45 seconds; transfer to a large plate. Top kale with quinoa, avocado, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, and feta cheese.
- Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sea salt, and black pepper together in a bowl until the oil emulsifies into the dressing; pour over the salad.
Kale Juicing Recipe: Super-Eight Stress Reliever
- 1 kale leaf
- 1 collard leaf
- Small handful parsley
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 carrot, greens removed
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1 tomato
- 1 broccoli floweret
- Bunch up leaves and parsley, and push trhough your juice hopper with celery and carrot.
- Follow with red pepper, tonato, and broccoli.
- Garnish with celery stalk, or wedge of lime, if you’d like.
- May also be mixed with protein powder, and a small scoop of low/non-fat yogart if intended as a meal substitute.