Kale has been upgraded from its days as mere garnish in deli showcases. It might be fair to say that it has even achieved immortality status.
That’s a bold statement to make. There are a number of foods that are in similar categories, but kale is special. It’s the trendsetter.
Kale often evinces a feeling of either love or hate. People who love it do so with a passion. I know because I’m one of them. People who don’t just hate it and they usually do so while harboring some wild opinions about kale lovers. (Crunchy, tree-hugging vegans!)
Fortunately, kale has moved into the spotlight and has gone mainstream. It’s no longer just for foodies or vegans. I suspect that it’s because between the taste and the health benefits, you’re likely to have a taste of immortality, too.
There are several different types of kale, the most common being curly and my usual go-to, lacinato kale. Their flavor is earthy but mildly sweet, especially if picked just after a bit of frost. Sometimes they’ll be bitter, but comparing it to other dark leafy greens, I’m not so sure it is.
Kale is a goddess because she reigns in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids and flavanoids. Like other cruciferous vegetables (collards, arugula, cabbage, etc.) they seem to have a thing against cancer. Kale’s antioxidants coupled with its anti-inflammatory traits seem enough to give various cancers (and a whole gamut of other diseases) a run for their money. But, kale also has glucosinolates, which are particularly helpful in protecting against cancer. Studies have shown that regular consumption of kale decreases the risk for colon, breast, bladder, ovarian and prostate cancers.
Additionally, kale has an abundance of fiber and sulfur compounds that make it an excellent detox food. This is important because our body needs all the protection it can get from exposure to toxins whether from our food or our environment. Kale is full of calcium (more than milk, calorie for calorie) and vitamins A, C, and K. It also has abundant iron which make it a good choice for vegans and vegetarians.
Kale is not going away, thank goodness! So, if you haven’t tried it or are looking for another way to cook and eat it, check out the recipe below. It has converted many kale haters to full on lovers.
Grilled Kale Chips
- 1 bunch of kale (I opted for curly kale here but lacinato should work nicely, too.)
- 2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 good pinch sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Wash and dry kale leaves, do not stem
- Drizzle olive oil over leaves and coat evenly, then sprinkle salt and pepper over leaves
- Place the whole kale leaves on the grill over low heat. Try not to walk away from them because they will cook quickly. Turn leaves over after 2 minutes and let them grill for another 2 minutes. The edges may char a bit, but you’ll know the kale is done when most of the leaves look drier and crunchy. The other parts will be slightly wilted.
- Optional additions: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes while they’re on the grill or some lemon zest and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice.