Kale: an amazing vegetable for all seasons

KALE: AN AMAZING VEGETABLE FOR ALL SEASONS!

In the recent past, kale has been hailed as one of the great superfoods of all time. It’s actually one of this naturopath’s favourite vegetables, because inside this leafy beauty are a multitude of nutritional goodies!If you’ve never tried it before, it has a sweet, slightly bitter taste and is considered to have warming properties. You can eat it raw or cooked, plus it’s very easy to grow for most of the year. Even an amateur gardener like me can’t kill it!

SO WHAT NUTRIENTS ARE FOUND IN KALE?

 In every 100g of kale, you will find:

  • 4g of protein. Whilst much of the body contains water, a lot of it is made from protein. Your blood, skin, nails, hair, muscles, hormones, antibodies, enzymes and globulins (which assist your immune system) require protein for regeneration.

 

  • 134mg calcium. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, kale is a great source of calcium. The RDI for calcium in adults is approximately 1000mg, so if you include lots of other leafy greens to your diet, to ensure strong bones, teeth and healthy gums, and also provides structure to our DNA for all cells in our entire body.

 Calcium uptake is inhibited by coffee, soft drinks, alcohol, sugar, as well as excess salt and meat, so if you consume any of these regularly, make sure that you eat your greens every day! 

  • 8900 IU of beta-carotene (Vitamin A precursor), which is twice the daily allowance of Vitamin A. All you need is 50 grams or 1 cup of kale to achieve this. Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant, so protects all cells, especially the mucous membranes including the lungs, eyes, mouth and colon. If your cholesterol is high, Vitamin A assists the removal of plaque build-up in the blood vessels, which keeps your heart healthy and protects against stroke and high blood pressure.

OTHER BENEFITS:

The green colour that you find in kale and other plants is known as chlorophyll. This substance protects the plant from bacteria, fungi and viruses. It actually does the same thing inside our bodies, by assisting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. In addition, green foods such as kale assist fat and protein digestion, directing it to the parts of the body that need it most. Kale also contains the mineral sulphur, which has wonderful detoxification properties. You only need 1-3 cups of kale per serve to achieve all of these benefits. Your liver will love you! 

HERE ARE MY FAVOURITE WAYS TO SERVE KALE:

  • Oven baked: Chop up a large bunch of curly kale (remove the woody stems first). Place in a baking tray and sprinkle either paprika or turmeric powder and heat in a low oven until crisp. A very tasty snack, even kids like this one!

 

  • Stir fry: Heat some oil in a wok, add turmeric, cumin, ginger or any other spice along with chopped kale, carrot, capsicum, onion, garlic, mushrooms, bean shoots, and your choice of tofu/tempeh/meat. So easy and delicious!

 

  • Vegan Sweet potato, kale and chickpea soup:

 (Thanks to Cookie and Kate for this recipe.) https://cookieandkate.com. 

 INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 450g sweet potatoes (2 small to medium or 1 large), peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 cup uncooked farro, rinsed (or 3 cups cooked whole grains, like wheat, spelt or kamut)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • ½ bunch of kale, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in the onion, capsicum, sweet potato and salt. Sauté for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften.
  2. Stir in the curry paste until the vegetables are coated and the curry is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the farro, if that’s your grain of choice. Add the vegetable broth and water, and stir to combine.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
  5. Test the farro for doneness—if it’s tender and cooked through, add the chickpeas and kale. Stir to combine, and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the kale is cooked to your liking. If you chose to use pre-cooked whole grains, add them now. (If the farro is not done cooking yet, continue simmering until it’s tender, then proceed with the kale. This could take another 20 minutes, depending on the farro.)
  6. Taste and season with more salt as needed. I usually add about ½ teaspoon—if the soup tastes flat, add more salt. To kick up the flavour a notch and balance the sweetness of the sweet potatoes, stir in the optional cayenne pepper.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. I like this soup even more the next day. Leftovers keep well, covered and refrigerated, for about 4 days. The soup freezes well, too.