Saturday, March 6, 2010

Why the Kale Not?

When Chef Brett called me the other week about how she tried kale and learned that she loves it, I started telling her about my favorite ways to prepare kale. This is a really common event for us and a big part of why we decided to start this blog—we wanted to share our conversations with other people who are into food and hopefully get some more people involved in the sharing! I can't really remember when I learned that I love kale—I think it happened about 6 years ago. I prefer it steamed, but do love to add it to soups and sauté it as well. I'm going to post my favorite recipe involving kale in a minute but first I'm going to put my doctor hat on and tell you why kale is so good for you.

Kale is in the brassica family, like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, and so it contains sulfur compounds. These sulfur compounds fight cancer, aid the liver in detoxification, boost immune function, and fight free radicals. In fact, spinach and kale are the two veggies with the highest ORAC value, a measure of antioxidant strength. Kale is also really high in Vitamin C , beta carotene, calcium, Vitamin K, and fiber. Kale has seven times the beta carotene and ten times the lutein (a carotenoid that protects the eyes) found in broccoli. Leafy greens don't have as much calcium as dairy foods, but they can help you get enough—a half cup of kale has 47 mg of calcium. Vitamin K plays important roles in blood clotting, blood vessel health, and bone strength. One cup of kale provides over 10% of your daily intake of fiber (about 2 grams). So, kale is really quite the superfood!

May favorite way to eat kale lately is steamed and then drizzled with balsamic butter sauce (recipe adapted from Bon Appétit). Rinse your kale really well (it often has quite a bit of grit trapped in those curly leaves) and then remove the tough stems and coarsely chop. Steam for about 5 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Serve with balsamic butter sauce.

Balsamic butter sauce

½ c. good quality balsamic vinegar
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ stick butter, room temperature, cut into ½ inch cubes

Combine vinegar and garlic in a small heavy sauce pan over medium high heat. Boil until reduced by half. Whisk in butter, one small cube at a time until evenly incorporated.

The complete meal I usually make is pan seared mahi mahi, garlic mashed potatoes, and steamed kale. I put the sauce on everything and it is really amazing! I hope you enjoy it!


  1. My favorite kale preparation is kale baked in the broiler until it's crispy but not quite burned. Throw a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper over it and you have kale chips! The easiest way to scarf down a shocking amount of kale...

  2. That sounds great! Thanks for the suggestion.