10+ Kale Recipes You and Your Family Will Love! Plus The Nutritional Benefits Of Kale
Greens — mustard, collard, chard, spinach, kale, bok choy, dandelion, parsley, and turnip and beet leaves — are true superfoods. They deliver a bonanza of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They are loaded with calcium, essential for strong bones and healthy. They provide stress-fighting B vitamins and help our eyes with vitamin A. They even contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats. But when was the last time you had a bunch of kale?
The fact is kale (and other greens) is often neglected when it comes choosing your ingredients. It’s certainly not most people’s first choice when it comes to preparing salads or vegetable side-dishes.
Especially in winter, when there are fewer in-season vegetable choices — kale and other dark, leafy greens that thrive in cooler weather are a great addition to the menu.
When cooked, greens provide more than nine times the recommended amount of vitamin K, which helps our blood clot.
I read once that it was common for our ancient ancestors to eat up to six pounds of leaves per day. You can just picture them wandering from one place to the next, just picking and chewing leaves as all they long they went. That’s a huge amount of greens by anyone’s standards today.
Can you picture yourself devouring a grocery bag full of greens each and every day?
The USDA recommends we eat a minimum of 3 cups of dark leafy greens a week, and very few of us even eat that per week or even month.
How would you feel if you could get those three cups in one large glass?
Health Benefits of Kale
Kale is really the Queen of Greens. Many health experts consider kale as one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.
Kale belongs to the Brassica family (Brassica oleracea). This family also includes broccoli, bok choy, kohlrabi, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage and collard greens. All these greens are well known for their sulfur-containing phytonutrients, which are claimed to help with cancer prevention.
They are also rich sources of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese, and is a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, calcium, vitamin B6, and potassium. The health benefits are so numerous, it will be hard to list them all here!
So why not add it to your family’s diet with these easy recipes!
Kale Smoothie Recipes
I use kale A LOT in green smoothies. My son loves kale smoothies too!
I find it really mild tasting (unlike lettuce, Swiss chard, or dandelion greens, for example), so you usually don’t even know it’s there. The fruits really help to mask the strong flavor of the greens.
For most greens, you don’t need a high-speed blender to make a good green smoothie, though the process will be quicker and the result creamier if you do. Kale, however, can be really tough on your blender, so it’s best to use a Vitamix or Blendtec. If you don’t own a power blender, try removing the rough stems and just blending the leaves with water for a few minutes first, before adding the rest of the ingredients.
A banana, an avocado, or a small handful of nuts is very helpful to good texture, and a few dried dates will bump up the sweetness in a relatively nutritious way. But beyond that, it’s fun to vary the other ingredients. Try mango, banana, lime, and cilantro, for example—or whatever your palate desires.
6 Delicious Kale Juice Recipes
Kale is also great for juicing.
If you have tried to make kale juice before and it tasted horrible, you may have given up. Plus, some juicers are just not made to juice something like kale.
Do not give up! With the right kale juice recipe, you will love drinking this green!
Just remember that dark greens have strong taste that is not palatable on its own. Always mix green juice them with other sweet tasting veggies and fruits.
You’ll need a lot of kale to make juice. A 1.5 pound bunch of kale yields about 1 cup of vivid green juice using a juicer. You will get more from the kale if you roll the leaves into balls and juice them together with the carrots and apples.
More juice recipes:
Minty Kale Juice
Mint adds an interesting touch to this kale juice.
1 1/2 pounds kale
4 peeled parsnips
4 large (or up to 8 small) green apples
1 lime (more or less to taste)
12 ounces mint leaves (about 2 large bunches)
yield: makes about 1 pint of juice, serving two.
Juice and enjoy!
Mixed Greens Juice Recipe
2 limes, zest removed
½ bunch Swiss chard
½ bunch kale
½ bunch dandelion
2 Granny Smith apples
Juice and enjoy!
Here is a good one – a Bloody Mary inspired non-alcoholic kale drink.
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes (they taste better than out-of-season regular tomatoes)
about 1/2 pound kale
4 ribs celery
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Dash hot sauce
Garnish: celery rib
Mix horseradish and soy sauce in a glass. Add tomato juice and stir well until horseradish is well distributed. Add kale juice, celery juice, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Stir well. Serve with celery rib garnish, over ice if desired. Serve immediately. Makes about 1 cup juice (Recipe via Seriouseats).
Enjoy with some crunchy kale chips!
Kale Chips: Low in Calories, Guilt-Free Chips
Here is a recipe for a healthy alternative to potato chips. These crispy little bites of raw kale nutrition are a big hit with young kids (and adults).
For a much more detailed raw kale crisps recipe, visit this website.
How To Choose Kale
The deeper the color of the leaves, the higher the nutrient content will be. Make sure that the kale looks fresh and not wilted. Avoid leaves with a lot of yellow or decay. Smaller, tender leaves are best. Pay attention to the stems as well. Make sure that they have a healthy appearance and trim off any thick stems and small blemishes before juicing or cooking.
You can choose either the dark green curly kale or a purple variety. Alternatively you can opt for ornamental kale, which has a less potent flavor. Dinosaur kale is a slightly sweeter choice.
The bitter taste of kale becomes more pronounced the longer it is stored, so it’s best to use it when still fresh. Kale keeps quite well in the fridge, provided that you store it unwashed. As with most of your leafy greens, it is a good idea to wrap the leaves in a paper towel, before placing it in a plastic bag to keep them fresh.
It’s best to buy organic kale grown to avoid toxic, systemic pesticides that are difficult to wash off. Unfortunately, when grown with petrochemical pest controls, kale is number 12 in the Dirty Dozen, tying with collar greens and slightly less than lettuce. Chemical pesticides are toxins, and eating lots of them can be toxic to the central nervous system –including the brain and spinal column, others may disrupt the endocrine function in the body which secrets hormones directly into the blood stream; they may increase the risk of cancers and other diseases.
Make sure you thoroughly wash your greens. Some of the leaves come from right on top of the ground and are usually covered in grit and sand.
Kale can be used in salads and in place of lettuce on sandwiches. However, for these purposes, use only very young, small, tender leaves. Kale is also delicious when steamed with diced onions, and garlic, a little bit of salt and pepper.
For all my blending recipes I use Vitamix. If you don’t already own a VitaMix, I strongly encourage you to check out what this machine is capable of! For more information about VitaMix you can go directly to the VitaMix website. You may also want to read my post about the Best Blender.
I LOVE my VitaMix and highly recommend investing in one if you are ready to make serious changes to your diet. I have had mine for almost 5 years and use it daily!
If you decide to purchase Vitamix – be sure to use Promotional Code 06-004554 to get free shipping.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
If you have a favorite recipe, why not submit it here in the comment section of this smoothie recipes blog for others to enjoy too!
I also welcome any comments, questions and suggestions. Thanks!