My love affair with kale

Growing up with a culinary genius equates to growing up as a guinea pig. My mum has an extensive kitchen library featuring titles from Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, Cook’s Illustrated, and Rachel Ray, but the recipes that appear time and time again are her own creations. Her little brood of hungry mouths has since learned to appreciate the mum signatures – plates full of colour and garnish and flavour – but there was a time when I seriously questioned anything fancier than chicken tenders and fries.

Spinach in particular was my nemesis. I refused to eat it cooked and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I could sub it in for iceberg lettuce in my salads. Lately, though, I’ve been on a clean-eating kick, asking my mum for advice on nutrient packed meals (read: college does crazy scary things to your body). While I’m still pretty spinach-shy, I’ve discovered an iron supplement that I can eat all day long.

The experts say one cup of kale has roughly 36 calories and 0 grams of fat. It’s high in iron as well as vitamins A and C – that’s a powerful veggie I can get behind. Fantastic for liver health and containing omega-3 fatty acids that guard against inflammatory conditions, kale adds texture and a feel good crunch to any dish*.

I’m no Martha Stewart, but I do have a small collection of kale recipes that are helping me on my healthful living quest.

Kale Chips

Everyone has their own variation on these, mostly because they’re a lean, effortless snack.

Ingredients:

1 head kale (make sure you wash/dry it beforehand)

2 tbsp. olive oil

Sea salt (used for sprinkling)

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2. I usually just snap the ends off of our kale but if you want to be a little less primal you can chop them off with a knife or kitchen shears. I typically break the head into little bite sized pieces.

3. Throw your kale onto a baking tray or cookie sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Drizzling the oil on first and then sprinkling with salt works best.

4. Put the kale in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. If you want really crispy chips you can leave them in for 20, but ideally you want the edges brown, not burnt.

 

Kale & Pearl Barley Sunshine Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup pearl barley

2 ¼ cups water

1 cup chopped tomatoes

¼ cup chopped onion

1 orange chopped

1 cup chopped kale (uncooked)

2 tbsp. lemon juice

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped herbs (choose your favourites)

Directions:

1. Bring your water to boil then add the barley and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes. I never add salt when I’m cooking pasta or grains but if that’s your thing, go ahead and add a pinch to the water. After 30 minutes, or when all the water is absorbed, pour the barley into a mixing bowl and let it cool.

2. I chop the orange and tomatoes up while the barley cools. I drain them in a colander for a bit, just to avoid an extra juicy salad. Chop the onion and kale as well.

3. Once the barley cools, add the tomatoes, orange, onion, kale, and herbs. Mix in the lemon juice and olive oil and you’re good to go. Feel free to experiment with herbs – sometimes one can overpower the others.

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I went a little overboard with my pearl barley today and added chopped apple, almonds, peppers, and raisins.

The Kale Waldorf Salad

Ingredients:

½ cup walnuts

½ cup red grapes

Mixed greens

1 cup kale

Feta cheese

½ cup strawberries

Balsamic vinaigrette

Directions:

1. This salad is really easy and I’m constantly changing it. Just chop your veggies/fruits and combine everything together in a salad bowl. I sub goat’s cheese for feta or blueberries for grapes. Sometimes I caramelize the walnuts first – depends on how sophisticated I’m feeling.

Are you a kale fan? What are your most trustee kale recipes? Comment below!

*Note: nutritional info came from Mind Body Green: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html

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2 thoughts on “My love affair with kale

  1. Yes! I am so in love with kale too. So much so I feel like it must be unhealthy somehow. My addiction to kale surpasses even Cheetos. And the best part about it is, my kids love it too. It’s the crunch. I’m going to save these recipes. Well done!

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