Known to be one of the most nutrient-dense foods, kale is rich in minerals such as sodium, iron and potassium. The leafy green is also a good source of calcium and fiber. Overcooking kale or adding excess butter or other fats, however, can reduce its nutritional value. Find healthier ways to prepare this nutritious vegetable.
The thick, tough leaves and stem of kale can be difficult to chew when they are raw. Instead, add chopped raw kale to a smoothie. The finely blended leaves add fiber and nutrients to your green shake. Add two to five raw kale leaves to a fresh fruit or vegetable smoothie. Combine kale with strawberries, bananas or oranges to make a delicious breakfast or snack smoothie. You can also juice fresh kale leaves. although this will remove essential dietary fiber.
Soups and Stews
Finely chop washed kale leaves and toss them into soups and stews. Leave the stems attached, as they will soften once they are cooked. To make a low-fat kale soup, use vegetable broth and thicken with cornstarch or potato puree instead of milk or cream. Leave the kale and other vegetables chunky, or blend the soup in a food processor to make it smooth and creamy, once it cools down. Replace collard greens, broccoli and other vegetables in your stews with chopped kale leaves. Avoid overcooking kale by adding it when you are halfway finished cooking.
Wilted kale makes a nutritious side dish to go with fish, lean meat or chicken. Chef Bobby Flay of the Food Network recommends drizzling olive oil into a large saucepan and browning chopped garlic, before tossing in chopped kale leaves and vegetable and chicken stock. Saute the kale on medium-high heat, just until it's softened all they way through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
If you're hooked on unhealthy potato chips, delicious kale chips might help you kick the habit. Remove the stems and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Toss the kale leaves with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt or seasoning, and spread them onto a baking sheet. Bake until the edges turn brown, then enjoy kale chips warm or cool.
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