No such thing as kale

by Deb Keller

When I grew up in the Midwest, there was no such thing as kale. Course, there weren’t a lot of other things back then in the Midwest either. Like tacos. Arugula. Organic foods were not invented yet either.  Later, though, when I moved to California, I noticed kale as an ornamental plant at the Stanford Shopping Center, planted around the trees over by Schaub’s meat market.

So I was surprised when I saw people actually buying kale at the Mountain View Farmer’s market. Being semi-adventurous, I thought I’d try it. It was tough and bitter, so I knew it was something that was probably good for me, but I didn’t like it.

Now at Ava’s I see people buying it all the time.  I ask them how they prepare it, and a lot of customers juice it. And all of these customers look very healthy. This prompted me to look into nutritional value of kale, and this was the thing that really motivated me to give kale another chance.

The Meat of Vegetables

First of all, kale is the meat of vegetables. In 4 cups of raw kale, you get an astounding 9 grams of protein. (More later on how you can eat 4 cups at a sitting.) What’s interesting too, is that the protein is mostly complete, getting a 92 out of 100, where 100 is complete protein.

It’s also high in Omega-3s (484 mg) and Omega-6′s (370 mg), and at the right balance. (For omegas, you try to get between a 1:1 and 2.3:1 ratio, so kale comes in well at 1.3:1).

More Good News

Kale has a rating of 257, which makes it strongly anti-inflammatory. Inflammation causes all kinds of problems, and in fact doctors now think that inflammation may be a stronger indicator of heart disease than cholesterol. It’s also loaded with vitamins K, A, and C, calcium and potassium.

So maybe I’ve convinced some doubters to try 4 cups of  kale. But here’s the rub: how do you eat that much?
After experimenting with many recipes I hit on baked kale, and this is the thing that gets me eating literally a bunch, or about 4 cups, of kale.  Organic kale at Ava’s is very price competitive with conventionally grown so buy that.  What you do is wash the kale and then spin it super dry. Strip off the leaf from the main tough stem, and toss it with 1-2 TBS of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt. Place it in a baking pan in a single layer and bake for about 20 minutes at 300 degrees. Keep your eye on it, and midway I usually toss it, because some of the pan will be getting done faster. You can also use parmesan cheese instead of salt, and I also make an Asian one with peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger and garlic.
Too busy to make it? Ava’s also carries prepared kale in the aisle by the crackers: Brad’s Baked Kale.
Source for nutrition (multiplied X 4 for 4 cups of kale).

4 comments on “No Such Thing as Kale

  1. Kristen on said:

    Thanks for the tip! My only comment is, I wish more articles would use weight as a measurement instead of cups. It is more consistent and helpful to me in deciding how much to purchase for meals. You can have a loosely packed cup, or a tightly packed cup and you’ll vastly different weights. I hope this helps! (And I plan to try the recipe this week) : )

  2. Melissa on said:

    My only previous experience with kale was seeing it mentioned in an older book based in New York in maybe the 40s-60s. It was mentioned at least twice in the series. So it must have been common then (at least in the Westchester area of NY) and fallen out of favor at some point.

    ;-) Commend me for not going for the obvious pun there and using “flavor” instead of “favor.”

  3. Marn-Yee Lee on said:

    I love making this one-pot kale and beef dish in the slow cooker for my family. The meat can vary. All I have to do is place organic ground beef and chopped up kale, with some organic beef or chicken stock, plus about 1.5-3″ of water (depending on how soupy you want it), and turn the slow cooker on low for 4-5 hour. I stir it about half way because otherwise the kale dries up. Season to taste with salt. Super easy, yummy, and always filling because kale is so dense in nutrient.

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