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1 Food 5 Ways: Kale

Winter does a wonderful thing to kale: the frosty temperatures make the curly or crinkly leaves sweeter and more tender than they are in warmer months. Just as other vegetables are starting to look a little worse for wear, bright bunches of kale can add a locally grown, fresh lift to winter meals.

Nutritional Profile
1 cup chopped raw kale contains:

  • 34 calories
  • 80 mg vitamin C
  • 10,302 IU vitamin A
  • 547 mcg vitamin K
  • 19 mcg folate
  • 1 mg iron
  • 299 mg potassium

Pick of the Bunch
Kale choices continue to grow in supermarkets and on farm stands. Most varieties are interchangeable in recipes, though some are more adaptable to certain uses.

VARIETY: Lacinato, Tuscan, black, or dinosaur kale; also called cavolo nero
APPEARANCE: This heirloom variety has long, wrinkled leaves with smooth edges and a blue-green color.
BEST USES: Wraps, casseroles, chunky soups, and stews.

VARIETY: Scotch or curly kale
APPEARANCE: The most common kale variety can be red or green with thick, ruffled-edge leaves.
BEST USES: Dishes with longer cooking times, stir-fries, and recipes requiring a hearty, earthy flavor.

VARIETY: Siberian, Russian, or flat leaf kale
APPEARANCE: The frilly leaves of this cold-hardy variety look a lot like collard greens and are thinner and more tender than other varieties.
BEST USES: Delicious in salads; pair with winter squash and root vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips, and beets.

Comments on this Article

My sister created an awesome kale salad recipe. I posted it on my blog: http://itseasybeingvegan.com/2011/06/29/only-kale-can-save-us-now/

Baked Kale Chips are fantastic too! Thank you for these great recipe suggestions.

I grow black kale and adore it:) I love it in curries, soups and stirfries, and simply steamed. The flower spikes are terrific, too, like purple sprouting broccoli.

Massaged kale salad is utterly addictive: just rip up the leafy part of a bunch of kale so it's about six cups of greens. Squeeze one or two lemons on top and maybe 1/2 teaspoon of oil; take your hands and rub the liquid into the greens for 2 or 3 minutes until the membranes are broken down. Mix in 2 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar and a lot of diced mango. Can add slivered almonds for some crunch. Delicious!!

My boyfriend's sister got married thsi summer and her friend/bridesmaid in charge of decorating combined kale and many other colorful greens (swiss chard, spinach, lettuce,etc.) and edible flowers to create edible bouquets for each table at the ceremony. They were beautiful to look at and at the end of the night people got plastic bags to take them home for lunch the next day.

I love kale baked in a cassarole with acorn squash, its not vegan as it has cheddar cheese and evaportaed milk - but so warming and creamy for the fall and winter season

I've been making a green smoothie this summer with kale, green grapes, a pear, an orange, a bit of water, and a bit of ice. Delicious and refreshing.

I am going to try this again tomorrow after my stop at the market for kale and other goodies.