First off, I will admit, we are not big fans of kale. The first time we tried it, we bought black kale sealed in plastic packaging from Woolies.
Every time I opened the fridge I was like what went off? I looked and looked, but couldn’t find it.
This is a bit crass I suppose, but seriously, I kid you not. The fridge smelt like a giant stinky fart. Not the smell you want emanating from your refrigerator.
Finally, I decided it’s time to have kale. I took the bag out, opened it and got a giant whiff of that fart smell.
It dawned on me that this is what was causing the smell… through a freaking sealed bag!
The queen of greens, but indeed, she stanks!
I steamed it like we do most of our other veggies when we want to prepare quick meals.
It didn’t taste bad which was a relief. I’m sure you can imagine the trepidation with which I raised the fork to my mouth that first time after the initial smell.
Once cooked, the smell isn’t nearly as bad either. But still, we never purchased kale again… until…
For the last few months we’ve been ordering our veggies through a business called Down To Earth that operates in the Helderberg region.
They source veggies from local farms and they are really fresh. These veggies often last two weeks! A Godsend for plant-based eaters that enjoy lots of veggies.
But one day, we got a box that looked very exciting, except for the curly kale I saw. A whole bunch of it.
I waited for the smell, but luckily it didn’t come. Guess curly kale just smells better than black kale or something.
I told my best friend about the kale and how we steamed it and did not like it. The texture, the flavor. Ugh.
She gave me the tips that I am about to give you.
Even when we received some black kale last week, which yes, once again imparted its noxious fumes in our fridge, I managed to make a somewhat decent meal out of it.
Kale Recipes and Tips
It was after I tried steaming the curly kale like I did that black kale so long ago, that I found, we need to do something if we want to “happily” eat it instead of sadly shoving it down our pie holes.
I was brought up not to waste food and this was definitely nutritious food that I didn’t want to leave to go off or just chuck.
My best friend told me that instead of just steaming it, I should be frying the kale with onions, garlic, mushrooms, and even tomatoes. Whatever veggies we liked frying.
I was low fodmapping at the time so garlic and onions were out. Low fodmapping is cutting out certain foods or limiting some that contain certain sugars that are hard to digest.
I know I’m eating something my tummy doesn’t like, soy milk for sure, but something else too. So I was trying because last time I was strict about it I had an almost flat tummy and no annoying bubbles or TMI, sad bathroom trips.
You only do it for 2-6 weeks, the elimination phase anyway. I failed miserably this time. It’s just not a good time of year. I will try again next year.
So anyway, button or portabellini mushrooms are okay in small amounts.
Luckily, you can have garlic infused oil so I used that, and we had mushrooms too.
This isn’t really a recipe. I suck at recipes in general. But here are the suggestions again in a neat bulleted format:
- Garlic or garlic infused oil
- Any other veggies you like
I was told to wash the leaves and dust some flour on them and then fry them up. I’m assuming you can also mix salt and pepper or whatever spices you like.
No need to deep fry. Just fry them in shallow oil. I suck at cooking. My hubby does most of it. Would that be sautéing?
Kale in Pasta Sauce
This one I did on my own. I fried it up with all the things suggested in the simple frying recipe. I then added some tomato paste and a can of tomato and onions.
I also added in butter beans for protein. But make sure you cook the beans in the sauce for a bit. They absorb some of the flavour and taste much better.
It tasted better than I thought. I served it with spaghetti for lunch.
In the spirit of honesty, I am yet to try this one. But I will give it a go next time we get kale especially since the weather is warming up.
If you’re feeling brave, try this recipe by Loving it Vegan:
- 1 and 1/4 cups (300ml) Soy Milk (or sub almond milk)
- 2 Frozen Bananas (~200g, previously peeled, broken into quarters and frozen for at least 12 hours)
- 1/2 cup (75g) Raw Cashews
- 2 cups (56g) Kale (torn up, packed)
- 4 Medjool Dates (pitted)
- 1 tsp Minced Ginger
- 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp Lime Juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 cup Ice Cubes
- Add the soy milk to your blender jug and then the frozen bananas, cashews, kale, dates, minced ginger, cinnamon and fresh lime juice. Top with ice cubes.
- Blend until very smooth.
- Pour out into glasses and serve.
Kale Health Benefits
Kale Nutrition Facts
Per cup of raw kale:
- Vitamin A: 206% DV
- Vitamin B1: 5% DV
- Vitamin B2: 5% DV
- Vitamin B6: 9% DV
- Folate: 5% DV
- Vitamin C: 134% DV
- Vitamin K: 684% DV
- Calcium: 9% DV
- Copper: 10% DV
- Iron: 6% DV
- Magnesium: 6% DV
- Manganese: 26% DV
- Potassium: 9% DV
- Omega 3 (ALA): 121 mg
By the way, DV stands for daily value if you weren’t sure. That’s the minimum daily requirement based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Antioxidants for Disease Prevention and Graceful Ageing
Kale packs quite the antioxidant punch. As you may know, antioxidants are important for keeping harmful free radicals under control.
Free radicals are created by everyday bodily processes as well as bad habits such as smoking, excess drinking, eating too much junk and things like pollution too.
Not only are free radicals bad news if you want to age gracefully, but they can lead to diseases when left to build up. Antioxidants neutralise them.
This video isn’t related to kale exactly, but this video by Cassandra Bankson is the best explanation of how antioxidants combat free radicals that I have heard to date.
The ORAC scale measures the antioxidant content of foods. Kale has one of the highest ORAC counts among vegetables at 1770 at 100g.
Spinach comes in with a total of 1270 per 100g, broccoli sits at 890 and red bell peppers at 710.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Kale is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin which are two antioxidants that help to preserve good eye health as well as having a protective function against sun damage.
This doesn’t mean you can forego the sunscreen or hat. Stay safe everyone. If you’re going to be in the sun for more than 10-15 minutes, cover up and/or use sunscreen. Remember your sunglasses too.
Quercetin and Kaempferol
Quercetin helps to reduce excess inflammation and may help to reduce the risk of various diseases.
Together these two antioxidants work synergistically or together in a way that makes them more potent against cancer cells than either one alone. Makes you really wanna chow down on that kale huh?
Kale is Filling and Low Calorie
Eating a plant-based diet has many of our friends cooking very generous amounts of food to feed us when we come over for meals.
It’s a misconception that you will feel hungry if you don’t include meat.
Kale is no different. That time I steamed a bunch of the curly kale to get rid of it quicker, we found that it was very filling.
The curly kale is especially fibrous. Neither steaming or frying helped to improve the texture. But maybe it makes great kale chips.
Black kale is also pretty filling while having a nicer texture for eating.
One cup of chopped kale contains only 33.5 calories, gives you 1.3g of fibre and 2.2g of protein.
I find that on a plant-based diet, that as long as I keep the junk food and processed foods to a minimum, it’s pretty easy to control my weight.
When we first became vegan, I was losing weight faster than I wanted to. I wasn’t hungry at all though.
When I logged my calories in My Fitness Pal, I was eating around a 1000 calories give or take per day. Yikes! All that fibre though, damn. Filling. I struggled to eat more.
I had to add more calorie dense foods like beans and rice, pasta and potatoes to up my calorie intake.
Of course, you don’t need to become a vegan to reap these benefits. A good way to keep the calories down but fill your plate with nutrients in a balanced way is to fill half your plate with veggies and split the rest between your starch and meat. Or go flexitarian 🙂
Fill up on kale for an extra nutrient boost without worrying about calories 😀 You just need to find what works for you recipe-wise.
I feel I should warn you though. Do it when you won’t be around other people for a while. You may find you’re just as stinky as raw black kale if you get my meaning. Ah, the sacrifices we make for our health.
Let me know if you’ve found tasty ways to eat kale or whether you avoid it like the plague. No judgement from if kale is your taboo food. Brussel sprouts are mine.