This week, I welcome Dianne Mower, author of The Healthy Eating Organisation blog. Dianne’s passion is simple, she wants to deliver sensible, realistic information on how to improve the health benefits of every meal for her readers. Her recipes are easy to follow and she shows how to use food to maximize the nutritional benefits, while still enjoying great taste. Her website offers interviews, food information, recipes and reviews. Dianne highlights one of our favorite veggies this week–kale!
Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ryan Seacrest, Woody Harrelson all rave about this vegetable. Kale plays a star part in their diet. Most celebs are busy people who need to look good all the time. It is therefore important that the nutritional quality of their diet delivers everything they need to function optimally. As people in the public eye, they need to look good and feel good.
So why is kale so popular? Isn’t it ‘just’ a green vegetable? Why are they so enthusiastic about it? And how could it taste interesting enough to eat regularly?
Kale is indeed a green leafy vegetable. It is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables which also includes: broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage greens. It’s funny looking stuff and comes in lots of leaf varieties–curly, plan, Cavolo nero and some others which are less well known.
It packs a powerful punch when it comes to nutrients. It is high in vitamins A, C, B, K, beta-carotene and fiber. It is a great source of the minerals calicium, magnesium copper, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. Kale is also high in plant (phyto) nutrients.
This is a high nutrition food. You don’t have to eat much to get a good hit of vital nutrients, plus it’s low in calories and fat. It’s easy to see why celebrities would choose it when they want to glow with good health, keep in shape and and their weight down. However, that’s all very interesting, but how do you eat it?
Firstly, always buy and use fresh kale. If it looks limp or smells ‘old,’ then stick it in the compost. It will be past its best and frankly not worth eating as any nutritional value other than the fiber will have deteriorated.
Wash the kale well and do not take the stem out. For those new to kale, I suggest you shred it finely, add to boiling water for 2-3 minutes, drain and try the following ideas:
- Add into any pasta dishes
- Stir well into mashed potato, with a glug of olive oil, crushed garlic and a sprinkle of fresh herbs
- Drizzle with a little olive oil and a shake of black pepper to accompany any dish
- Stir through a risotto just before serving
After washing well, drain, spin dry and shred finely then try:
- Adding the shredded kale to soups and casseroles just before serving
- Use as part of a green salad with other leaves
- Tear the whole washed leaves and rub with a peeled avocado, leave for 30 minutes and then add other chopped salad ingredients; spring onions, cucumber, peppers plus some crushed garlic and a little fruit vinegar
- Stir into pasta or rice salads
Kale is very versatile, deeply nutritious and so adaptable. The biggest challenge is letting go of the idea that as a green leafy vegetable it is boring and maybe bland. It is neither; it is a nutritional and flavor powerhouse.
In fact you might say; it’s an Oscar winner.