Kale Three Ways

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Kale, collards, and Swiss chard used to intimidate me. I had no idea how to cook these giant green leaves and I was skeptical if I would even like them. However, once I learned about how incredibly healthy these plant foods are, I began experimenting with recipes and learning how to clean, prep, and cook these green beasts. I discovered that they are not only easy to prepare, but delicious to boot.

Kale is widely recognized as a rich source of cancer-fighting antioxidants and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Antioxidants protect us from oxidative stress and free radicals, thereby reducing inflammation (which many consider to be one of the root causes of age-related degenerative disease) and our risk for cancer. The flavanoids found in kale have been specifically linked to the prevention of cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. The high fiber content in kale supports digestive health, elimination, detoxification, and a feeling of fullness. Kale is notably high in vitamins A, K, and C, which support healthy function of the eyes, blood clotting, and immune system.

Licensed acupuncturist Abby Rappoport says, “Kale is so high in minerals that it is really a super-food. I am a strong believer that if you eat enough fresh fruits and veggies, you don’t need additional supplements, because you will get all the nutrients you need from your food.”

Look for organic kale with leaves that are deep green in color and springy. Each of the following recipes can be made with any variety of kale, including red or green curly kale, dino-kale (also known as Tuscan kale), and red winter kale. 

Raw Kale Salad

Ingredients
1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 lime
Sea salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
2 small oranges

Directions
Wash, remove ribs, and dry kale. Chop leaves into small pieces. Place kale in large bowl and add olive oil, toasted sesame oil, juice from lime, salt and pepper. Massage kale until it begins to wilt and reduces in size by about a quarter. Peal oranges, quarter, and cut into ¼ inch flat triangles. Gently toss in oranges and sunflower seeds. 

Kale Chips

Ingredients
1 bunch kale
1 ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Wash, remove ribs, and thoroughly dry kale. Tear leaves into large pieces, brush both sides with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Place leaves on baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 8-10 minutes (check every 30 seconds after 8 min). “Kale chips should be crispy, but not brown,” says personal chef Brian Keane, of Santa Cruz. Enjoy kale chips as snack to satisfy your cravings for crunchy & salty.

Sauteed Kale

Ingredients
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch kale
¼ cup broth
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Wash kale and remove ribs. Stack leaves, roll up, and chop into strips. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large sauté pan. Add garlic, stirring constantly for one minute. Toss kale into pan, turning and evenly coating leaves. Add broth, cover, and reduce heat, allowing leaves to steam for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.