Thursday 2 January 2014

Cooking with Kale

Just before Christmas, we were asked if we'd like to discover why kale has been heralded as the new superfood. The email explained : "Discover Kale ( promotes just what makes kale so super, including its health benefits and versatility, and why it has now become one of the most popular vegetables. Our new recipes for the winter include a Detox Smoothie, Winter Bake and a Lentil soup which highlight not only kale’s versatility but it’s nutritional credentials too. Kale is also great in everything from salads and stir fries to casseroles and pasta. (I see you’ve also tried kale chips.) The best way to appreciate kale though is to try it for yourself."

To help us get to grips with this (for us) new vegetable, they sent through a kit containing four bags of kale but also a wok and an apron. I opened one of the bags and discoved that it looks like spinach and smells like a cross between sprouts and cabbage.

I had heard of sea kale, which is a type of seaweed, but didn't really know much at all about kale so I decided to go for a very simple recipe to begin with, to get an idea of what it tastes like. I simply stir fried an onion, added some kale and after a few minutes, drizzled over some balsamic vinegar. This was served with beefburgers and boiled potatoes. I really liked it and so did Sophie, but Madhouse Daddy and the other two Mini-testers weren't too keen. I'll be trying out other recipes using it though, so watch this space to see if they prefer it as an ingredient rather than by itself. If you like other green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and cabbage, it's a pretty safe bet that you'll like it.

I was very impressed with the nutritional information given on the website - 80g (four heaped tablespoons) of kale contain only 19 calories but provide 2.2g fibre and 120mg of calcium (useful for vegans and people on a dairy-free diet). It is an excellent source of folate with 69µg in every 80g of cooked curly kale (great news for pregnant women). It is also rich in lutein – an anti-oxidant which helps keep the eyes healthy - and a portion (80g) of cooked kale contains 448µg Vitamin A which plays a supporting role in maintaining normal skin and vision, and helps the immune system to function normally. Gram for gram, kale contains 17 times more vitamin C than carrots and raw kale is an excellent source of vitamin K, containing 704.8µg per 100g. (Vitamin K plays a role in normal blood clotting and plays a role in maintaining normal bones.) Kale is also virtually fat free so is ideal if you're trying to eat healthily for the new year.

It sounds like our grannies were quite right when they nagged us to eat our greens when we were kids ! I'm going to be trying a kale soup with bacon and beans tonight so I'll tell you how that works out.

Disclosure : I received a kit in order to try out some kale and share our views.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Happy New Year ! Time for resolutions?

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