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Adlen Robinson: So you think you hate kale? Let's change that
Adlen
Adlen Robinson

Kale is one of those ingredients people say they either love it or hate it. If you are in the “love” camp, you will love the recipes that follow. If you are in the “hate” camp, this column is for you—please keep reading. 

First, let’s talk about the health benefits, then we will address how to get you into the “love kale” camp. Did you know kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods that exists? A member of the cabbage family, some kale are curly, and some have smooth leaves. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, kale is low in calories and fills you up completely. Kale is also loaded with antioxidants, including beta-carotene, Vitamin C, flavonoids, and polyphenols. Kale is also one of the best sources of Vitamin K which is critical for healthy blood clotting. Kale even contains Lutein, which is fantastic for eye health. 

So, now you know how good for you Kale is—how can we help you incorporate more kale into your diet? One tip is to make sure you remove the tough stems/veins from the kale leaves. Kale can be on the bland side, so you definitely want to ramp up your seasonings. Another way to get kale into your diet, is to put some leaves in your smoothies—I promise your smoothie won’t taste like a salad! The fruit will completely take over and you won’t taste the kale at all. Let me know if these recipes help convert you to being a kale lover! 

 

Rainbow Bowl with Almond Ginger Dressing 

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, grated or cut into ribbons
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 cups kale, stems removed, chopped
  • 2 cups purple cabbage, shredded
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ½ cup edamame
  • 8 ounces cooked noodles of your choice (I like to use soba noodles)

Dressing

  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tamari (more to taste)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • Sriracha to taste

Combine dressing ingredients, shaking to combine. Toss all of the salad ingredients together and add dressing. Toss to combine completely. 

 

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup parsley, minced
  • ½ cup Parmesan, grated

Cook spaghetti in salted boiling water until cooked al dente. Drain and reserve ½ cup pasta water. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic slices and crushed red pepper flakes for 30 seconds. Add kale, salt and pepper and cook for a minute. Add cooked and drained spaghetti and toss to combine. Add ½ cup pasta water, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Top with parsley and parmesan before serving.  

I absolutely love soup all year long. This hearty Tuscan vegetable soup freezes beautifully and is delicious with a green salad or a sandwich. 

 

Tuscan White Bean Soup 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes, with juices
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups kale, stemmed and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 thick slices of French bread, cubed (day old is best)
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 

In a soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and cook until vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes. Add rosemary leaves and garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes, and white wine. Bring to a boil. Add cannellini beans and vegetable broth and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to a simmer and add kale, salt, pepper, and French bread cubes. Partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. To serve, ladle into bowls, drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. 


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