Did you know that kale is such a nutritional rockstar that it has its own day? Yep, October 7th is National Kale Day! Ok, it’s a bit crazy but hey, everything else seems to have its own “National Day” so why not kale? Kale is really amazing in the nutrition department boasting so many vitamins and antioxidants for your body that it just boggles the mind. Here’s my top 5 good for you facts about kale….
It is only a mere 33 calories per cup. You can chop it up and add it to your dishes for an almost calorie-free nutritional boost.
It is loaded with antioxidants. It contains a lot of beta carotene (Vitamin C) which is known to reduce oxidative damage in the body. Oxidative damage is believed to lead to aging and many diseases including Cancer.
Kale contains substances that bind bile acids to lower cholesterol levels. Steamed kale is particularly effective for this.
It contains Vitamin K which is crucial for blood clotting. This is good if you’re an accident-prone gal like myself (hello tree-trimming incident this Fall). So, your cuts heal faster without as much blood loss.
Kale is high in lutein and zeaxanthin. People who have diets rich in these two nutrients have a much lower risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, two of the most common eye disorders as we age.
Kale is quite easy to add to your diet. Try chopping it up small and adding it to your salads like the tabouli salad I’m sharing here. It is also great in smoothies, its taste disappears and it adds tons of nutrition.
I’ve more than made peace with kale; I’m actually enjoying it and not just because its a nutritional powerhouse but because it’s delicious. It’s delicious in these recipes anyway! I still live by the belief that people who eat kale are beautiful. The “kale glow” if you will. Click on the photos below for the recipes. I hope you enjoy them and here’s to you developing a new love……for kale.
We went to an annual picnic at our friends’ cottage this past weekend and these crostinis were a major hit. I made 40 pieces and they barely made it out to the appetizer table. Adults and kids just gobbled them up! I was asked many times “what’s the green stuff?” You tell them “kale pesto” and you’ll look like a total rockstar for using such a unique ingredient!
They are simple especially if you make the kale pestoahead of time. You can prebake the baguette rounds and store them in an airtight container until ready to use them.
Pesto can be a whole topic on its own. It is so versatile in the ingredients you can put in it and the dishes you can put it in. My favorite uses for pesto are mixing it into pasta as a sauce, a sandwich spread, stirred into soups for added flavor, served on crostini as an appetizer and as a pizza sauce.
This pesto uses kale and it’s flavor is surprisingly bright and fresh with the lemon juice. It has been very well received by the people I’ve served it to.
I welcome your comments once you’ve tried it. And please feel free to share your uses for pesto, there’s always room for more!
How many nutritious greens can you get into a pasta? I’m not sure but I’ve used two powerhouses here. They are kale and swiss chard to be exact. By now we’ve all heard the health benefits of kale but swiss chard is often overlooked as it’s less known than some of the other greens.
Swiss chard is most common in Mediterranean countries and an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C. It is also full of magnesium, potassium, iron and fiber. It’s stems come in a variety of colors making it beautiful on the plate if you steam or roast it with the stems attached.
Summer produce lends so well to quick pasta dishes. Forget those heavy tomato sauce laden pasta dishes. This light summer pasta is delicious and healthy and a snap to throw together.
This one uses my kale pestoand has a bright flavor with the lemon that is added to the pesto as well as the lemon juice and zest that’s mixed through the dish. If you’d like to add meat, try some Italian chicken sausage as I’ve done below. You could also substitute spinach for the swiss chard.
I think I might be overdoing the summer pasta dishes but they’re just so beautiful with all their colors. And again, they come together so quickly. They’re just perfect for a weeknight meal when you get home from work and don’t really feel like cooking.