Kale has been cultivated since the time of Ancient Rome, encouraged in Victory Gardens during WWII and has recently seen an explosive promotion for healthy eating but many of us are still unsure of how to enjoy this nutritious vegetable.
Packed with health benefits, kale provides massive amounts of antioxidants which fight cellular breakdown and keep your skin looking great. Kale also provides a ton of goodies called glucosinolates which have been shown to help prevent or even fight cancers that may be emerging in the body. Aside from the magical goodies, it’s also crammed full of vitamins C, K, A and E along with lots of minerals such as calcium and manganese. Only Allah (SWT) can shove so much goodness into a simple leaf!
It is surprisingly easy to slip bits of kale into everyday food by mincing the leaves finely and tossing it into rice, stirring chunks of it into soups and even chopping it up for pizza! Anywhere that you can use spinach or cabbage, you can use kale. Leafy parts can be used like spinach while stems and center veins can be pureed or minced to be included in soups and sauces. Try making pesto with kale instead of spinach. For breakfast, stir chopped kale into scrambled eggs with a bit of mozzerela or feta cheese for a supercharged morning meal!
When shopping for kale, make sure to choose leaves that are firm and are rich in color, smaller leaves are more tender while larger leaves will be firm. Prime time for buying kale is anytime from September to February as it is a late Fall to winter crop. When buying, remember that the volume will greatly decrease during cooking so buy about twice as much as you think you need.
Keep it tight and keep it dirty! Kale will become bitter the longer it is stored, so make sure it is in an airtight container and do not wash it until you are ready to cook (washing the leaves starts the spoiling process). When preparing kale, break the leaves off the center stalk and wash both sides of the leaves well.
Enjoy these two easy ways to prepare and enjoy kale’s rich flavor.
Kale Chips – Slice the center vein out of the leaves and then cut into large pieces, drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of finely ground sea salt. Spread onto a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven at 375 for 5 minutes, then carefully flip and allow to cook for another 10 minutes. The tips of the leaves should be brown but not burnt. For a spicy variation, try sprinkling a bit of chili powder before baking.
Asian Style Greens – Slice out the stems and then chop about three large bunches of kale into 1-inch squares. Heat up a large pan (preferably a wok) over med-high heat with just enough olive oil to coat the pan and add a cup of diced onions and 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, then cook until the onions are transparent and stir in the kale, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger and add 2 cups of vegetable stock. Once the kale is wilted, stir in a tablespoon full of soy sauce and add pepper to taste, remove from heat and serve. This dish is also good with about a cup full of sliced halal sausage, ground meat or vegetarian crumbles.