The term “super food” has always made me feel… itchy. While it does encourage people to hop on the healthy bandwagon and eat their dark leafy greens, it also seems to make a lot of promises it can’t keep. Claims that kale (or anything) can keep certain diseases at bay, or cure them altogether, can lead to people having too much of it. And we already learned that too much of a good thing is still too much.
As long as you’re not expecting it to make you a genetic Superman, and as long as you’re not shot-gunning kale juice with kale salad chasers, you can definitely reap the benefits kale actually offers.
It’s a good source of fiber, which will make you feel fuller for longer. It’s actually got some protein in it, too. A cup of raw kale has 3 grams of protein. Good news for vegetarians and vegans who are constantly asked, “But where do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat?!?” More good news for vegetarians and vegans: it’s got alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. No, not as much as fish, but still a good start. And it’s rich in vitamins A, C and K.
Final verdict? It’s not a magic pill, but it is good for you. Make it part of your diet, but exercise some common sense and don’t go overboard. And if you think you can’t get past its slight bitterness, then try it in the following 10 recipes, which will let you reap it nutritional treasure-trove without sacrificing any flavor.
Who doesn’t love eggs for dinner? Blue Apron serves up a plate of mouthwatering awesome. This is the dish to make for someone who says they don’t like greens and need to eat them.
Deb Perelman, the food blogger behind Smitten Kitchen, explains that she was one of the “stop acting like kale tastes good” brigade. Until she had a kale salad at a restaurant that was so good, she ran home to recreate it. It turns out she likes her kale raw, finely slivered, not overwhelmed by dressing. She rounded it out with golden raisins gently plumped with wine vinegar, deeply toasted walnuts, crunchy breadcrumbs toasted in olive oil and an uncompromising volume of salty aged Pecorino Romano. We’re sold.
Blue Apron strikes gold again with these fantastic quesadillas. You’ll be so distracted by the cheesy goodness and the fried eggs you won’t even notice the finely chopped kale.
We love us some Simply Recipes. Why? Recipes like this ragout of sorts, which combines kale with roasted root vegetables in a chunky tomato sauce. It’s like beef stew for vegans and vegetarians, or a healthy side for omnivores.
Kale for breakfast? Yes indeed. Check out this recipe for kale frittata from My Kitchen in the Rockies. Go on. Tuck in while enjoying the Sunday paper.
Pinch of Yum uses leftover wild rice for this sautéed butternut squash and chopped kale that looks like autumn on your plate and tastes a dream. The slight sweetness of the squash balances out perfectly the slight bitterness of the kale. See why you shouldn't let that leftover rice go to waste?
Eat Live Run hits a homerun with this recipe that combines sweet and spicy with slight bitterness for a perfect storm of flavor that will leave you wanting seconds and thirds.
Is there anything garlic can’t do? Because in this dish from The Roasted Root, it will make even the fussiest eater lick the plate clean, kale included.
If you are fortunate enough to not be allergic to nuts, then get thee to the market and stock up on pistachios right now. This recipe for raw pistachio and kale pesto from Cooking Stoned is going to knock your socks off.
Last but certainly not least is this recipe from Maebells for kale and red pepper fried rice, which is ready in 20 minutes. We also love that the blog is chockfull of recipes for lighter, healthier and gluten-free versions of classic Southern comfort food. We’ll be watching Maebells, and a few others, in 2015 to see what else they have in store for us.