Many of us are busy and barely have time to make nutritious meals. How does making a five-minute superfood dish of kale and using it four additional times sound? Another added benefit is that your kids may actually enjoy it too!
Gaining in popularity, kale is a powerful vegetable recognized for its nutrient richness, health benefits, and delicious flavor.
According to WebMD, 1 cup of chopped kale has 33 calories, 9 percent of the daily recommended value of calcium, 206 percent of vitamin A, 134 percent of vitamin C, and a whopping 684 percent of vitamin K. It is also an exceptional source of minerals, such as copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
A diet rich in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K can reduce the overall risk of developing or dying from cancer, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
For those with spring detox in mind, kale is also filled with fiber and sulfur, both critical for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver functioning well.
Basic Kale Recipe(5-minute prep time)
1 bunch of organic kale
1 organic avocado
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Wash and dry the kale (and your hands) and chop the kale. Now get ready to “massage” the leaves with your hands. Place the chopped kale in a large bowl and scoop as much of the ripe avocado as you want into the bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, and use your hands to massage or mix the ingredients together.
Massaging the kale amplifies the taste compared to just tossing it. An added benefit is getting my 3-year-old daughter involved in the massaging preparation. Yes, she eats it too, with the creamy avocado coating. Having her little hands involved is the secret weapon for getting toddlers to enjoy the dish.
You can add extra lemon and sea salt to suit your palate. The lemon preserves the kale, so it will stay fresh in the fridge for days if kept in an airtight container.
Now it’s ready to eat as is, or you can toss in some pantry staples that you may already have, like cashews, walnuts, or dried cranberries.
To make it a meal, you can add protein such as cooked tofu, chickpeas (or other proteins you fancy), as well as other vegetables, such as sliced carrots, radishes, or red onions.
For an extra nutritional kick, you can incorporate additional superfoods such as goji berries or blueberries. Or go citrus with chopped grapefruit. Adding the spice turmeric can pump-up the anti-inflammatory properties of this dish as well as the flavor.
You can also sprinkle on cayenne pepper for some added zest and weight loss benefits. A study published in the journal of Physiology & Behavior suggests that consuming just a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper along with a meal can help suppress appetite and burn calories.
You can put the basic recipe to use for breakfast, lunch, or dinner by adding the kale mix to stir-fries, soup, quesadillas, or scrambled eggs and the like.
Toss the kale into a stir-fry of other veggies. Sauté veggies in veggie stock, drizzle olive or coconut oil, and salt. Then add kale at the very end for 30 seconds to 1 minute just so the kale gets lightly heated.
Doing this type of “flash” sautéing maintains the integrity of the kale, so it doesn’t wilt or overcook. Serve the stir-fry over quinoa or another whole grain of your choice
If you are making minestrone, vegetable, or miso soup, add in the kale right before serving for the added texture and nutrition. The avocado in the kale kicks up the flavor of many soups.
Put the kale in a quesadilla for a quick meal. The kids love this, and it’s so simple. Add whatever protein and dressing you enjoy, such as hummus or honey mustard, for an added kick. Or throw in some dried cranberries for the sweet and salty edge. My quesadilla wrap of choice is the Ezekiel brand sprouted whole-grain wraps because of the protein-to-low carbohydrate ratio.
Make a kale-and-egg scramble by simply adding the kale mixture to your favorite egg recipe. If you are vegan, try doing a quinoa and kale scramble by sautéing both together.
You can also blend the kale into your favorite green-juice smoothie recipe.
The possibilities with this five-minute kale recipe are endless. Get creative, enjoy, and be well.
Christine Beal Dunst is a marketing and strategy consultant and freelance wellness, nutrition, and lifestyle writer who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She has a Masters in Public Administration in Health Policy and Management, is certified in Pilates Mat, and is enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.