Skip to content
All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove
As with so many of life’s important decisions, the choice of red, curly, or black kale comes down to your taste, your personal preference, and your pocketbook
Curly kale has broad based deep green leaves and a robust, pungent, fully developed favor. It is cultivated all year long and is easy to pick up in most supermarket chains. Some cooks blanch the leaves first, while others add a grated carrot to the pan to soften and sweeten the somewhat bitter taste.
makes about 2 cups (500ml)
cost $6.00 for black kale / $3.00 for curly kale
160 calories per serving
More exotic and expensive are red kale (pictured on the right) and black kale (pictured on the left). A little milder and a little less pungent, these kales can be found in green markets starting in fall through early winter and in specialty supermarkets all year long. My favorite is cavolo nero or black kale. Alternatively called dinosaur or laciniato kale, this blackish-green leafy kale is favored by the Tuscans who have developed a special affection for its distinctive taste and gnarled appearance. Chicken stock enhances flavor and a splash of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice before serving sharpens the flavor. Check to be sure that excess stock or water has been completely evaporated so the final dish does not weep.
An excellent choice of greens to accompany a ham, a rack of pork, or a roast beef, keep kale in mind as you plan for the upcoming holidays. Each pound (½ kilo) kale as purchased yields 2 to 2½ cups cooked.
2 bunches (15 ounces/430g) curly, red, or black kale, washed, stemmed, and chopped into medium sized pieces
2 tablespoons (25g) extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves (10g) fresh garlic, peeled and crushed
1 – 2 cups (250ml – 500ml) low sodium chicken stock
¼ teaspoon (.7g) flake salt
Lemon juice or Balsamic vinegar
Warm oil in sauté pan and soften crushed garlic. Add kale a handful or two at a time using medium heat and stirring as you add each handful. Sauté the kale until the pieces start to wilt and the oil is evenly distributed, usually about 5 minutes. Add the salt and start adding stock or water a half cup (100ml) at a time. Keep adding the stock until the kale is softened. Keep heat high enough to evaporate each addition of stock. If more liquid is required, use water. Braise the kale for another 20 minutes. Reduce the heat when the kale is softened and all liquid is absorbed or evaporated. Adjust seasonings and finish with some lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. At this point, the kale will hold nicely for at least 30 minutes. Check before serving to be sure that excess stock or water has been completely evaporated so the final dish does not weep.
Note: Both piece size and cooking time effect the texture of the final product. The smaller the pieces or the longer the cooking time, the softer and smoother the kale. Start with medium sized pieces and about 20 minutes, then adjust according to taste.
Kale is not cheap, but it is incredible healthy. MyPyramid classifies kale as a dark green vegetable and recommends 2 cups dark greens per week. Whole Foods uses the ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) to numerically rate foods and kale is on top with a score of 1000. For those of you like me who love kale and are willing to pay the price, we get both flavor and nutrition with each bite. The question I wrestle with is how to make this incredibly healthy vegetable appealing and acceptable to those of you who do not share my taste for slightly bitter greens. I can’t guarantee success, but I know where to start. A judicious amount of salt, a generous amount of fat, some acid, some culinary expertise, and a few discretionary dollars to invest in healthy greens.
Encouraging more people to eat and enjoy a healthy vegetable like kale is the best kind of healthy eating. So I choose to focus more on the sourcing and cooking end and less on the limits to sodium and fat end. To my simplistic mind, flexing a little on olive oil and salt makes good nutrition sense as long as more people eat more kale.
Per Serving (130g): Calories 160, Fat 13g, Saturated Fat 2.0g, Sodium 240mg, Carbohydrate 8g, Fiber 2g, Protein 3g.
A 2,000 calorie diet is used as the basis for general nutrition advice; however, individual calorie needs may vary.
Summer is coming to an end. The days are getting shorter. A chill in the evening air means an end to summer salad suppers and the beginning of more robust meals. But while summer is still here, a large salad is satisfying, refreshing, and takes about 30 minutes to put together as long as the greens are washed and ready to go. For protein, I use both legumes and canned salmon. Grilled chicken or canned tuna are good substitutes for the salmon. Vegetable ingredients vary depending on what comes in and out of the market during the growing season, but my base always starts with mesclun. I buy weekly from a vendor who lets me mix my own from the many offerings of multi colored, multi textured, slightly bitter leaves. Proportions are for two people. For robust appetites, serve with crusty bread.
½ cup (125 ml) olive oil and yogurt dressing, as per proportions below
7 tablespoons (100 g) canned chickpeas, rinsed, drained
¾ cup (50 g) red cabbage, washed, coarsely shredded
3 ½ cups (100 g) washed mesclun or assorted greens
1 medium (150 g) tomato, washed, cored, coarsely chopped
½ each (75 g) Haas avocado, peeled, seeded, sliced
1 – 6 ounce can (170 g) wild Alaskan pink salmon, canned, drained
Using a bowl with a 2 quart (2 liter) capacity, make a dressing in the bottom of the bowl with 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine or sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons 0% Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, oregano, basil, pepper, and about 1/4 teaspoon flake salt. Put chickpeas and cabbage in first, then mesclun, then tomato and avocado. Other vegetable options are peppers, fennel, carrots, and cucumbers. Arrange drained salmon on top. Mix salad just before serving.
makes about 6 ½ cups ● cost $12.20 ● 1070 calories
portioning information: 540 calories for 2 people ● 270 calories for 4 people ● 180 calories for 6 people
This salad delivers phytonutrient and fiber rich vegetables, mixed proteins, and oleic acid rich, omega-3 rich, vitamin E rich unsaturated fats. Moreover, I used clean sustainable salmon and a seasonal heirloom tomato. Despite these benefits, the salad cannot be labeled healthy because total fat exceeds acceptable parameters established by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Sodium and saturated fat also exceed acceptable parameters, but are easier to adjust in accordance with current regulations.
Before going back to school, I always made classic vinaigrette – three parts oil to one part vinegar. My studies progressed, I learned about too much fat, and I stopped. Experimenting with other combinations and substitutions became the goal. For example, some variations on classic vinaigrette call for some crème fraîche and yogurt works really well. I even tried fat free salad dressing once … But the classic version kept calling me back because it makes such an elegant delicious product.
Let’s call it the olive oil dilemma. The cook in me says enjoy the salad! Just be careful the cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is what the label says it is. The dietitian in me says maybe it is not quite that simple. The nutrient benefit is significant. The three fat sources in question come from “good” fats and other options are out there. I can run the numbers again adding bread with the meal or fruit and yogurt after the meal. I can manage the impact over the day and plan according. The dietician in me also knows that nutrition research is ongoing so I can continue to scan the literature for new perspectives on total fat in the diet and the value of good fats …
This summer I went classic and kept an eye on my daily calorie count. And with summer coming to an end, I will not have to wrestle with the dilemma again until next year.
Nutrition Facts per ½ cup serving* (g): Calories 160, Fat 12g, Saturated Fat 1.5g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 10mg, Sodium 180mg, Carbohydrate 7g, Fiber 3g, Protein 7g. Vitamin A 30%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 2%, Iron 6%. Excellent Source vitamin A, vitamin B12. Good Source vitamin C, protein, fiber, niacin, folate. Natural Source omega-3 fatty acids.
*Serving sizes are reference amounts defined and regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). A 2,000 calorie diet is used as the basis for general nutrition advice; however, individual calorie needs may vary.