Kale is exploding – from posh restaurants to BBQ to farmers markets. And no wonder, its THE super green. According to WebMD, Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet and has anti-cancer health benefits:
- One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
- Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
- Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
- Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.
- Eating a diet rich in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin K is abundant in kale. (NOTE: But too much vitamin K can pose problems for some people. Anyone taking anticoagulants such as warfarin should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K may interfere with the drugs. Consult your doctor before adding kale to your diet.)
- Kale might be a powerhouse of nutrients but is also contains oxalates, naturally occurring substances that can interfere with the absorption of calcium. Avoid eating calcium-rich foods like dairy at the same time as kale to prevent any problems.
So here is our favorite new recipe. Quick, delicious and uber healthy… thanks to Lunchboxbunch.com:
5-Step Kale Salad
Step 1. Wash your fresh kale greens. Run each thick leaf under warm to hot water and massage any grit away. Then refresh the leaves by running them all under ice cold water. (The hot and coldest settings on your tap will work.)
Step 2. Prep your ingredients. Remove the thick vein from your kale leaves and discard. (You could keep this on, but it is quite chewy.) Also prep your other veggies however you’d like. Chop, dice, cube, shred… Add the chopped kale and veggies to a large mixing bowl.
Step 3. Make your dressing. In a small bowl, whisk your dressing together.
Step 4. Toss! Add the dressing to your bowl of veggies and kale and start tossing! Massage the kale either at this step or earlier to make the leaves softer and absorb the dressing… get your hands messy like a kid and enjoy!
Step 5. Chill it or serve it!
- Chill it! Allow at least an hour for the dressing to really sink into the ingredients. Plus chilling everything makes it refreshing and tasty as a cold salad side. You can even make this salad the night before you serve it. Overnight chilling works! The greens should be eaten within 48 hours though.
- Or serve right away. If you have massaged thoroughly, you can serve right away!
Now for the recipe…
5-Step Kale Salad vegan, makes 6 cups
- 4 cups chopped raw kale (about 1/2 small bunch)
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 1 small avocado, diced
- 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
- 2-3 Tbsp seeds or nuts (I added some mineral-rich pepitas)
- Add chunks / diced watermelon for an added touch of summer!
*you can easily change up the veggie and other add-ins as desired.
Simple Sweet Tahini Dressing
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice + pinch of zest
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- 2-3 pinches cayenne
- pinch of salt + a few pinches of black pepper
(Make a double batch of dressing if you like your greens more heavily dressed)
* If you want to lighten up the dressing, substitute fresh orange juice for the EVOO.
* You can use raw agave syrup or brown rice syrup in place of maple if desired.
* Add a splash of tamari in place of the salt if you have it on hand!
* Be sure to stir stir stir first if your tahini settled with oil on top!
* Add a splash of apple cider vinegar if you’d like a perkier, more acidic dressing.
* I like to use pink Himalayan salt.
* Freshly finely chopped parsley is a very nice touch for this dressing.