Thursday, March 14, 2013

Learn to Love Kale

Kale is a super food that is available in Michigan year round. I have been depending on it all winter to get my green on. When I mention kale or green smoothies to friends, some are wary of giving them a try. But, I became hooked last year. Nearly every morning I start my day with a refreshing green smoothie. Click here for my photo album of smoothie recipes.

The folks at Green Smoothie Girl blend together one part water/ice water, one part greens, and one part fruit. If you are just getting started, use less greens and work your way up to one third of the smoothie. Have fun experimenting with different fruits and greens. I find that spinach has the weakest taste, Swiss chard has the strongest, and kale is the most beneficial. Although, bananas are not grown in Michigan, a piece of banana will cover the taste of greens if you are not yet adjusted to it.

Adding vegan milks and supplemental ingredients (even cocoa powder) is another way to add variety. To make what I call a “beginner” green smoothie. Blend together:

12 ounces of vegan milk
1 frozen banana, sliced
A handful of Michigan strawberries (or a bit of honey or maple syrup to taste)
4 Michigan kale leaves
A heaping spoonful of raw almond butter
½ Tablespoon of maca root powder (optional, and available at SIP Organic Juice Bar)
1 Tablespoon hemp protein (optional)

Kale is easy to add to salad. Just de-stem it and roll the leaves. Then cut across the rolls, and you have ribbons. They are a pretty and nutritional addition to a lettuce salad. Or, for the full kale experience, tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them into a bowl. Drizzle the kale with olive oil (or garlic confit) and massage it for 3 to 4 minutes. (Remember to remove your rings.)  This breaks down the kale making it easier to chew. Add salt and pepper or spices to taste. I like to sprinkle it with a zataar mix.

Of course, you can cook kale like you do other greens. It is awesome in soup, because it does not cook down as much as other greens.

My first kale project was kale chips. They are an easy and healthy snack. Last fall, I was chatting with one of the farmers from Turtle Island, and he briefly described how he makes kale chips. The recipe was quite different from the one that I had been using, so I went home and started to experiment. It is a savory chip recipe and turned out well.

1 bunch of kale (about 8 ounces)
1 roasted garlic clove or ½ teaspoon garlic granules
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon purified water
½ teaspoon salt

  •  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  • Wash and air dry the kale.
  •  Remove the kale ribs and tear the leaves into bite sized pieces; place into a large bowl.
  • Combine the other ingredients (not the kale) in a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Massage the sauce into the kale; place on cookie sheets.
  • Bake until crisp, turning once or twice.
  • Be sure to place the kale on the cookie sheet in a single layer. 
  • Flat kale will take about 10 – 15 minutes to crisp up. Curly kale will take much longer (approximately 30 minutes).
  •  They can also be dried in an electric dehydrator.

Links to more recipes!

Super Green Powder – great to add to soups and salads 

Beginner Green Smoothie

Massaged Kale

Popcorn with Kale Chips

No comments:

Post a Comment