Last night, I found myself face to face with a bunch of kale. I have to admit that on the totem pole of leafy greens where taste is concerned, kale has always fallen at the bottom of the heap. It tends to be the bitterest of the greens. Still, I go back occasionally, hoping to find a way to prepare it that might work. And every time, I’ve ended up frustrated. Until last night.
You may recognize kale, even if you do not eat it. It’s often used as a garnish in restaurants because of its ornate, curly leaves. Kale is usually dark green through, although some types have a pleasing vivid purple hue in the center of the leaves. It’s for this reason that many gardeners also choose to plant ornamental kale – visually, it’s quite dramatic.
So why eat kale if it’s not the tastiest of foods? There’s a number of reasons. Kale is one of the most healthy vegetables there are, falling in the general family of “leafy greens” that naturopathic doctors will often recommend to their patients. (Strictly speaking, kale is in the Brassica family, sharing lineage with cage, broccoli, and mustard greens.) It is chock full of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and carotenoids. And as befits “foliage,” kale is an excellent source of folic acid. Finally, as far as nutrients per calorie go, it’s very difficult to beat kale. One cup of cooked kale provides just 50 calories, yet more than 100% of the RDA of vitamin A, 200 mg of calcium, 30 mg of magnesium, 300 mg of potassium, and 100-150 mg of vitamin C. If you are concerned about adequate calcium intake but are trying to keep weight down, kale is an excellent vegetable to incorporate into your diet on a regular basis.
So, hallelujah! I finally came up with a recipe for kale that takes very little time or effort, and is absolutely delicious! For the first time, I gobbled up every last bit of kale I prepared (relatively speaking … kale does take a bit more effort to chew than, say, spaghetti), and I will be returning to this recipe again in the near future . Give this recipe a try, and enjoy one of the healthiest vegetables out there!
Kale with Marinara Sauce
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 bunch lacinato kale
1 cup marinara sauce
1-2 minced or crushed garlic cloves
Place onion, olive oil, and salt in a small pan and sauté on medium heat until transparent. In the meantime, tear the kale into bite-sized pieces and rinse thoroughly. Discard the stalks. Place kale in a medium-sized saucepan and steam for 10-15 minutes, adding water occasionally, until kale is wilted and tender. Drain excess water. Add comments, marinara sauce, and garlic cloves to kale. Toss to mix, and serve.