Crazy for Kale

1 Jul

I have become a huge fan of kale. Previously thought of as a nice winter border plant, it has now become my new favorite food.  So I planted two varieties of kale in my community garden plot. Just this weekend, I harvested some of it and made kale chips, kale smoothies and kale salad.  The recipes for the kale chips and the kale smoothie are set forth below. When making a kale salad, simply substitute kale for lettuce.  I find cutting it into thin strips works best.

According to webmd.com, kale is “one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.”  Here is a link that describes in detail all the amazing health benefits you get from munching on kale:  http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-kalehttp://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-kale

So, grab some kale and bake it, drink it and munch it!

Kale Chips

The inspiration to make my own kale chips came from a shopping trip to Whole Foods Market where I saw kale chips ranging from $7.00 – $15.00 a container!  Insanity, I thought. So I decided to make my own.  It is very easy and only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. You can get very creative in the process.  In addition to olive oil and sea salt, I have used individually or at times together the following toppings:

–parmesan cheese

–red chili powder

–red pepper flakes

–oregano

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Wash and dry the kale (I put the leaves in a kitchen towel and whip it around on the porch as I have no salad spinner)
  • With a knife or kitchen shears, remove the leaves from the stems and tear into chunk-size pieces. (They will shrink as they bake so don’t make them too small).
  • Spray a cookie sheet lightly with olive oil. (I use a can of olive oil as it makes the job easy and quick.)
  • Spread the leaves evenly on the cookie sheet. Don’t worry if they overlap some as they will shrink.
  • Spray the leaves lightly with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle seat salt lightly on the leaves.
  • Sprinkle other seasoning on the leaves as you wish. (See above for ideas.)
  • Bake until the leaves are dry and crunchy but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.  Check on them about half way through and shake the pan a bit and gently move the leaves around so they bake evenly.

Kale Smoothie

I love the Odwalla Green Superfood smoothie and decided I could make my own version at home using items from my community garden plot and home garden.

The recipe below uses just kale but you can also throw in parsley, spinach or other greens.  Yogurt is also a great addition. The key is to use apple juice as it adds just the right amount of sweetness and, together with the banana, nicely balances out the flavor of the greens.

My eight year old son Calvin loved his smoothie this morning and had three glasses.  So it is kid approved too!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of kale leaves
  • 1 banana
  • 6 strawberries
  • 2 cups of apple juice
  • handful of ice

Directions

  • Wash and dry the kale (I put the leaves in a kitchen towel and whip it around on the porch as I have no salad spinner)
  • With a knife or kitchen shears, remove the leaves from the stems and tear into chunk-size pieces that fill 2 cups
  • In a blender, put the 2 cups of kale leaves, one banana, 6 strawberries, two cups of apple juice and handful of ice
  • Turn blender on high until all ingredients are liquified.

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