Kale: July's Food of the Month
Good nutrition is important! Every month we will provide information on one of our favorite foods, and some great ways to incorporate it into your weekly meals.
The featured food for the month of July is kale. Kale is a member of the cabbage family, and an extremely nutrient-dense food. Different types of kale are available, including kale with green or purple leaves, and smooth or curly shapes. Curly kale (pictured) is the most common.
Kale contains large amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C.
This month we decided to try three different recipes:
1. Greek Kale Salad with Lemon Olive Oil Dressing
2. Kale Pineapple Smoothie
3. Baked Kale Chips
(The above links to external websites are to provide recipes only. WFL does not support or endorse any of the above websites, their content, or their creators).
I have added/omitted some ingredients based on personal preference. Please feel free to add/omit ingredients based on your personal preference.
Greek Kale Salad with Lemon Olive Oil Dressing
-One large bunch (about 10 oz or 3-4 cups) kale leaves, stems/ribs removed, finely chopped
-One pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
-One cucumber, seeded and diced
-1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (omitted)
-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (omitted)
-Carrots, thinly sliced (added)
Lemon dressing (omitted- I used a store bought dressing):
-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-Salt & pepper to taste
To make the dressing: In a small to medium mixing bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined.
To make the salad:
1. Massage the kale: Tear the leaves from the ribs of the kale, and place leaves in a bowl. Add olive oil and a pinch of salt, then massage until leaves are soft.
2. Combine all of the chopped ingredients in a large bowl, pour dressing over salad, and mix. Sprinkle with extra feta cheese before serving.
Kale Pineapple Smoothie
-2 cups lightly packed, chopped kale leaves, stems removed
-3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any milk you like)
-1 frozen medium banana, cut into chunks
-1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt (I used the Dannon brand)
-1/4 cup frozen pineapple pieces
-2 tablespoons peanut butter
-1 to 3 teaspoons honey (to taste)
Place all ingredients (kale, almond milk, banana, yogurt, pineapple, peanut butter, and honey) in a blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth. Add more milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Enjoy immediately.
Baked Kale Chips
-1 bunch kale
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non-insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces.
2. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.
All three of these recipes were extremely tasty and honestly exceeded my expectations. The Greek Kale Salad is an easy and quick meal, and a great way to prep lunch for the next day if you're in a rush. Like any salad, the ingredients are flexible for you to adjust to your liking. In the future I may consider adding a protein source, such as shrimp or chicken. *Be sure to massage the kale. This is excluded from this particular recipe on the creator's page, but makes a large difference.
The Kale Smoothie was creamy and very filling. I have to say that I love the taste the peanut butter added! My only complaint was on the fault of my blender, as it struggled to blend the ingredients. I think the mixture would likely come out much more smooth in an advanced blender- my smoothie had a lot of kale fragments.
The Baked Kale Chips were INCREDIBLE! Expectations for this one were low (it seemed too simple to be anything special), but the olive oil and salt added great flavor. I couldn't stop snacking on these as soon as they came out of the oven. However, caution is needed to avoid adding too much olive oil (they'll be soggy) or cooking too long (they burn quickly).
Overall, the recipes were a SUCCESS! I hope you will consider giving one (or all three!) a try, and see for yourself all that kale has to offer.
The above recipes and information are not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. Please consult a registered dietitian or physician to determine the best dietary guidelines for your individual needs.