Chock-full of essential nutrients, such as calcium, folate, potassium, fiber, iron, and vitamins A (in the form of beta-carotene), C, and K, kale provides more nutritional value from fewer calories than almost any other food. Like all cruciferous vegetables, this curly edged leafy green is also rich in sulforaphane, which keeps blood vessels healthy and has been shown to have anticancer and immunity-boosting properties. Kale also boasts the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, which promote eye health. Studies suggest that there may be a relationship between increased lutein consumption and decreased incidence of atherosclerosis and macular degeneration.
Choose It & Use It
Kale’s mild, earthy taste and crunchy texture add interest to soups and stews. It can be found in markets year-round, though its peak season is mid-winter through early spring. Cooking kale slightly increases its antioxidant score, but don’t overdo it. Too much heat diminishes the benefits. For best results, lightly steam the leaves until soft, but still crisp. Chopping also releases kale’s health-promoting compounds.
get the recipes
Southern New Year’s Day Soup
Across the South, there are three foods that need to be eaten on New Year’s Day for good luck in the coming year: greens, black-eyed peas, and stewed tomatoes. We’ve thrown them all in this savory soup along with some pasta and Parmesan. Any type of dark, leafymore
Crunchy Green Tahini Salad
Surprise! This is a superhealthful green salad your kids will love. Recipe from The Family Dinner.more
Crispy Kale Leaves
Kale is a rich source of manganese, a mineral that aids in the production of sex hormones. Since the body has only trace amounts, a sudden influx of manganese may give your libido a lift. Serve this appetizer immediately—the leaves lose their crunch after a couple of hours.more
Raw Kale Salad with Root Vegetables
Tender, long-leafed Lacinato kale works especially well in this recipe, but any variety will do if it’s cut very thin and given a thorough rubdown with salt, vinegar, and oil. The grated root vegetables and maple-glazed pecans add just the right crunchiness.more
Rice and Chickpea Kale Rolls with Pineapple Salsa
Lacinato kale is the easiest variety to fold for these emerald green rolls.more
Braised and Raw Black Kale Salad
Chef Aaron London “definitely had gluten-free diners in mind” when he came up with this recipe. “I wanted to make sure it had a variety of textures-fluffy, crunchy, and unctuous. Often when food is missing gluten, it lacks different texture profiles,” he explains.more
Braised Cavolo Nero Kale
Cavolo nero, dinosaur, Tuscan, and lacinato are all names given to a long, leafy, crinkly kale variety. Serve this light vegetable stew over grilled bread or tossed with pasta.more
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