Kale is from the Brassica oleracea family, just like cabbage and brussel sprouts. This hearty green vegetable is delicious, versatile, and like all leafy greens, highly nutritious! Kale is very high in vitamins A, C and E, and is also full of sulfer-containg phytonutrients which are thought to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, including breast and ovarian cancers.
Me? I love kale for its flavor and texture. There are several varieties of kale, including curly- and plain-leaved, but my favorite is is cavolo nero, also known as “black cabbage” or “Tuscan kale”. I’ve never seen it in US supermarkets but it’s popular here in London.
Last year, my favorite way to prepare kale was simple: lightly steamed with salt and pepper. When served with a bit of brown rice and lentils, you get a complete meal that is somehow comforting in its simplicity.
At least I think so, anyway.
This year, when I got my hands on the first kale crop, Tim asked me a simple question:
“Can you try to make them yummy this time?”
I guess not everyone shares my enjoyment of pure and simple kale.
Very well. I can appreciate a little flavor boost. So I’ve been experimenting…
- Stir-fried garlic and kale never fails.
- Even better is kale stir-fried with caramelized onion.
- For a spicy kick, top steamed or boiled kale mixed with roasted chili and caramelized onion garnish
- When all else fails, greenophobes can hide their kale in a big pot of soup or chili.
- Kale also makes a great addition to tofu scrambles!
- Kale pairs nicely with carrots. What do I mean? Read on…
One pairing I can definitely recommend is kale and carrots. In both stir-fries and salads (yes, kale can be eaten raw!), the sweetness of the carrot is a nice balance to the earthiness of the kale. Here are a couple recipes that take advantage of this combination.
Curly Kale With Carrots, Raisins, Walnuts and Chili
1 onion, sliced into thin rounds
2 carrots, julienned
5 walnuts, crumbled into pieces
4 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Add the kale, salt and a couple tablespoons of water. Cover pan with a lid.
Check the kale after a couple of minutes. Add more water and cook longer if necessary.