Hail to Kale!

Curly Kale
I had never had kale until earlier this year when I had roasted it with some mushrooms. I have to say I really love kale. With all the attention that kale has been getting for its health benefits and discovering that most of my friends have been enjoying the green leafy super food, I've had my radar on kale. Kale has many significant health benefits such as, it can lower cholesterol, it is an antioxidant and it supports eye health  and it is super high in vitamin K, which can reduce the risk of cancer.

If you have never tried kale before it tastes like a cross between cabbage and spinach, in my opinion, but it has also been described as a cross between asparagus and brussel sprouts. Kale is a tough fibrous green, so it is best to eat it either sauteed or roasted, but if you want to use it in a salad you want to break it down so it is not so tough.  You do this by using lemon juice in the dressing and let it marinate to break down the stiffness.  You can also soften the leaves by messaging salt and lemon juice in to the leaves for a minute or two and let it sit for a few minutes. Also, when using kale you want to remove the thick stem that runs through the leaf.  

There are many different types of kale.  The variety that is most commonly found in the grocery store is curly kale,  which works well when sauteing or roasting. Other types of kale include Lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale), and Tuscan kale (aka black kale). These types are good in salads.  So, since I've been looking out for kale recipes, here are a few salad recipes that are delicious to try. What is so great about kale salads are that they are easy to make and they can sit in your refrigerator with the dressing on, unlike a lettuce salad which will get soggy.

Kale Salad

Marinated Kale Salad with Gouda and Apples (From Southern Living, September 2012)

1 Granny Smith Apple
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bunch Lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped
1/4 cup shaved aged Gouda cheese

Cut apples in to small chunks. Whisk together lemon juice olive oil, honey, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add kale and apples and toss to coat.  Cover and chill for a least 2 hours or over night.  Toss Gouda cheese before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

Marinated Kale and Green Bean Salad
(Bon Appetite, July 2012)

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bunch Tuscan kale, center ribs remove, leaves cut in to strips
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound green beans, trimmed
14 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Combine oil, lemon juice, honey and red pepper in a large bowl.  Add kale.  Toss to coat. Season to your taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate kale for 2 hours or overnight.

Cook beans in a large pot of salted boiling water for about 4 minutes.  Drain, and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.  Drain and dry beans.  Add to kale, top with grated cheese. Serves 6 to 8. 


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