Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Get Creative with Kale

I’m currently on this health kick over cruciferous vegetables and kale happens to be at the top of the list. It is so beneficial to your health and versatile for cooking. Here are some health benefits: 
1) Lowers cholesterol 
2) Fights against bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate cancer
3) Great detox food
4) Stress reducer 
5) High in nutrient content
I’d like to propose a challenge. “Go Kale Krazy.” Try and have Kale for every meal one day. If you’re feeling up for it, try to have something Kale once a day for a week. We should really be including vegetables from the cruciferous family 4-5 times per week with 2 cups as our serving size. Cruciferous veggies have it all, fiber, vitamins, and disease fighting phytochemicals. They are the super veggie! 
Some people are afraid of Kale so I’ve included a few favorite recipes to get you started on your Kale challenge that will keep you coming back for more or perhaps challenge you to try other cruciferous veggies. 

Kale Breakfast Smoothie: Great way to jumpstart your morning routine! 
  • 2-4 kale leaves
  • 3/4 cup water (this changes depending on how thick you like your smoothies
  • Frozen strawberries
  • Frozen blueberries
  • 1/2-1 scoop organic protein powder (Optional)
  • 1-2 tsp. chia seeds or ground flaxseeds
  • 1 Tbsp. unrefined organic coconut oil
Blend all ingredients. 

Baked Kale Chips: This is an awesome snack option. Especially for the potato chip inclined friends!  
  • Kale 
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt 
Preheat oven to 350. 
Tear kale into bite-sized pieces, avoiding the tough inner stalk. 
Rinse well in water and dry as best you can either in a spinner or on a tea towel.
Pour a few glugs of olive oil on a baking sheet and add the kale. Sprinkle with salt and toss gently to evenly distribute the oil and salt.
 Place in oven and bake about 10-15 minutes, or until the kale is crisp. 

Deconstructed Hummus Salad: Enjoy for lunch or dinner. 
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 2 whole wheat pitas 
For the Dressing: 
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in the blender, puree until smooth and check for seasoning. You may need to adjust the amount of lemon juice or salt to pop the flavors. 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush the pitas with olive oil and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes until they are slightly browned and crispy. When cool, lightly break the pitas into bite sized pieces. 

Remove the inner ribs of the kale, tear into 1-in. pieces and place in a large bowl. Add 1/4 c. of the dressing to the salad then knead the salad with your fingers to really incorporate the dressing into the kale, it helps break down the leaves to make them tender. Add the chickpeas and pitas to the salad and toss to incorporate. 

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