Friday, February 21, 2014

Food Friday: Kale

Food Friday is my weekly homage to my favorite thing on Earth- FOOD!  I haven't always felt this way.  I used to view food as the enemy.  But no longer!  I love food- it helps me meet my performance goals, nourishes my body, and most importantly keeps me healthy so I can make a difference in this crazy world.  So every Friday I will be posting about one of my favorite foods.  It may be a plant or animal, single ingredient or recipe, or whatever I feel like (hey- it's my blog afterall).
If there is a particular food you would like me to talk about, recommend it in the comments! 


Oh Kale, glorious Kale.

First of all, I feel like Kale is VERY polarizing.  I've seen Facebook commentary that it tastes like dirt.  According to Mitchell on Modern Family, "Kale is not ready to Anchor a meal."  And really, WWRST (What Would Ron Swanson Think).

For anyone who knows me, it's probably borderline shocking that my first Food Friday is about a vegetable.  But Kale is probably the one green that I legitimately love.

It's so versatile: you can eat it raw in a salad, cooked in a soup, sauteed in some (sourced) bacon fat with garlic, mixed in a hash, stuffed in some Pumpkins, or baked as a chip.  


And here is what Kale has to offer you:
  • Mega Rich is Vitamins A,D,E,K and C 
  • Chocked full of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory micronutrients  
  • Great source of Calcium (Anyone going dairy free will inevitably hear the phrase "But where will you get your calcium?"  You can tell them "KALE YO!")
  • Contains essential minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus  
  • Great source of Fiber (Again, if you're giving up whole grains see the Calcium comment above.)


Look for firm, deeply colored leaves.  I've only ever seen green Kale in my grocery store, but there are red and purple varieties as well.  And some more good news- Kale is cheap.  You can usually get one bunch of organic Kale for under $2.


Make sure you pull the leaves off the stems.  The stems can be really chewy but they are great for compost!  And as with any other veggie, rinse well before eating!


I think a lot of people in the health an wellness field would recommend eating Kale raw, but I have to disagree with that.  Cooking Kale will cause it to lose some of the nutrients, but if you do not have a full functioning digestive system (most people do not) digesting any raw plant can be difficult.  

I think you get the biggest bang for your buck using Kale in a soup.  Below is my very favorite Kale recipe where the Kale is cooked in the soup.  The soup will retain most of the good stuff lost in the heating process.  


Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup with Kale

This is my FAVORITE recipe with Kale.  If you're a fan of the Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden, this is pretty darn close!

*I saved the following as a picture.  You should be able to right click and "save as" to your personal recipe folder OR print directly from the picture.*

How do you feel about Kale?  Love it or hate it?  If you love it, what is your favorite way to eat it?

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