Feel the kale love

Do you struggle to love this healthy green leafy veggie? I used to disparage kale until I discovered a helpful tips and tricks. That’s when the kale romance began.

Why should I care?

Kale is one of the healthiest foods around. According to Food Facts, one cup of kale can trump a whole week’s worth of other foods: 684% of the daily value of vitamin K, 206% of the suggested daily amount of vitamin A, and 134% of vitamin C (and even more vitamin C in the Scottish curly-leaf variety). It contains lots of iron, protein and calcium and can lower your cholesterol, help prevent cancer and detoxify your system.

What more could you want from a green, leafy friend?

Increasing popularity

If kale were in high school, she’d no doubt be homecoming queen. Below captures her quick rise to fame.

– In 2008, 539 babies were named Kale.

– Gwenyth Paltrow made kale chips on Ellen 2011, launching the vegetable’s stardom.

– In July of 2013, Iserloh and Drew published a book entitled 50 Shades of Kale.

– And by 2013, the vegetable had earned its own National Kale Day (on October 2).

A few tips to make it tasty

Fresh and local: One day I tried a kale salad on a business trip to Lewiston, Idaho at the Blue Lantern Coffee House. The salad was amazing, and when I asked the waitress why it tasted so good, she assured me the kale was “fresh and local.”

Stemless: Another tip my friend Amy shared was to remove the stem — as this is the part of kale that adds that ickily bitter (that’s a new word I just made up). Just tear off the leaves before preparing salads or grilling it.

A few tasty preparations

My favorite way to prepare kale it to grill it. I use a grill tray, sprinkle a little salt and pour a few drops of olive oil. You need to mix it frequently as it cooks quickly (you can improvise on a stove top but it takes a bit longer to cook).

I also made this Orechiette and Kale with Breadcrumbs dish from Bon Appetit quite some time ago, and I think it turned out pretty well.

Kale chips aren’t too bad, either (Food Network kale chips recipe can be found, but there’s little variation in how to prepare). Warning: If you don’t eat them as soon as they come out of the oven, be prepared to ditch them. Leftovers are not so tasty.

If you’re a fan of hiding vegetables in hopes of getting your kids to eat them, a fruit smoothie with kale may be a great solution. Sure – it’ll be green. But it’ll still be tasty. Here are a few kale smoothies ideas to get you started.

Melinda Hinson