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Food of The Month: Kale

Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. A leafy green, kale is available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

What makes kale so exceptional? Here is why it’s a superstar vegetable…

  1. Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium as well as those listed below.
  2. Kale is high in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
  3. Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers.
  4. Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
  5. Kale is great for cardiovascular support. Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.
  6. Kale is a great detox food. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.
  7. Kale is high in iron. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.
  8. Kale is high in Vitamin K. Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and the prevention of blood clotting. Also increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
  9. Kale is high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
  10. Kale is high in Vitamin C. This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration. Vitamin C is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

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  • Make a simple salad with a bunch of thinly sliced kale, red pepper, onion, raisins, and your favorite salad dressing.
  • Braise chopped kale and apples, garnish with chopped walnuts, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  • Toss whole-grain pasta with chopped kale, pine nuts, feta cheese, and a little olive oil.
  • Cover and cook a pound of chopped kale with a few garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes; season with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
  • Toss a handful of finely chopped kale leaves into a smoothie or add kale to your morning omelet.
  • Use in soups, stews or casseroles since kale retains its texture during cooking, it makes a hearty addition to baked or slow-cooked meals.
  • Rinse kale, chop it finely, and add it soups, stews, stir-frys, salads, egg dishes, or casseroles.
  • Top pizzas with kale for added nutritional goodness.

Tips & Tricks

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Best Time To Buy: Though it’s available year-round, kale is best in the winter, when frost makes its flavor sweeter.

Choosing Kale: Leaves should be dark green & frilly. They should have some “spring” to them. Bad signs: wilted, yellow or brown spots, dry leaves.

Storing Kale: Keep unwashed kale refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Reviving Limp Kale: Trim the stems & soak in tepid water for about 5 minutes.

Cutting kale: First, grab the bottom of the stem and pull off the leaves with your hands. Stack leaves on top of each other. Roll into little bundles and cut to your desired size.

Reducing Intense Flavor: Kale that’s been massaged with oil and lemon juice will reduce its intense flavor.

Cooking Tips: Quick cooking preserves kale’s nutrients, texture, color, and flavor. Steam kale for five minutes to make it more tender or eat it raw. You can also substitute it for spinach or collard greens in recipes.

Massaged Kale Salad

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Recipe courtesy Aarti Sequeira, 2010

Serves: 4 servings


  • 1 bunch kale, stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • Small handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons


In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas. Toss and serve.

Kale Chips

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Follow this basic recipe, choosing one of the flavor combos for extra special veggie chips!

Preheat oven to 300° F. Wash 1 cup packed kale leaves and dry with paper towels or in a salad spinner (discard stems). Make sure kale leaves are completely dry before baking since extra moisture prevents the kale from getting crisp. Spread pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with seasonings and massage into leaves. Bake for 20 minutes on the top or middle rack, until crisp, rotating the pan and switching racks halfway through baking time. Makes 1 – 2 servings (recipes can be easily doubled or tripled).

Cheesy Black Pepper

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper


1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest (packed)
Scant 1/8 tsp sea salt


1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
¾ tsp smoked paprika
Scant 1/8 tsp sea salt
Pinch chipotle pepper


1 tsp roasted sesame oil
1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
Scant 1/8 tsp sea salt

Kale Pesto

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Makes 1 270 ml jar

  • 3 tightly packed cups fresh kale rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil
  • 1/2 cup toasted or raw sunflower seeds or mix of sunflower seeds with sesame seeds
  • juice of 1//2 – 3/4 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, and/or 3 cloves braised/marinated garlic
  • 1//4 cup fresh oregano, marjoram or basil, lightly packed
  • Salt to taste


  1. Place kale into the food processor, add lemon juice, herbs, garlic and seeds and mix roughly. Periodically push the mixture down as it is not going to mix well. If it doesn’t mix at all, add a little bit of water.
  2. Keep running processor on the slow speed and slowly add the oil. Blend well, place into the jar with tight lid.

Spread it over your sandwich, add to pasta, wraps or grilled veggies.

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