My hubbie and I walked around Byward Market in Ottawa last week, and the fresh, local produce stands were so inspiring. I spotted some pesticide-free kale that was grown in Quebec, and I knew it was time to give it a try.
I know kale is so last summer in terms of trendy foods, but it’s an ingredient that I haven’t got around to cooking with yet.
The health benefits of kale are off the charts. It’s in the brassica vegetable family along with broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. It’s very high in beta-carotene and vitamin C and contains something called sulphoraphane, a chemical that has serious cancer-fighting properties. The best part: you retain most of this chemical when you steam, microwave or stir-fry it!(Boiling decreases all its health benefits.) It’s also a great source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that boosts DNA repair, and can prevent the growth of cancer cells. Its no wonder Lance Armstrong ate tons of broccoli when he had cancer.
Of course you get all the health benefits when you eat it raw, but that can be challenging for some as it has a bitter flavor and rough texture. Don’t let that stop you though. You can eat it raw in a salad, but just mix it in with a sweeter green like baby spinach or mescaline mix. A good tip for softening up kale is to massage it with a couple teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil before tossing it into your salad. You can also seriously increase the nutrient level of your morning smoothie by combining a handful with banana, ground flaxseed, natural peanut butter, frozen blueberries and unsweetened almond milk.
When roasted in the oven it also makes for a healthy, easy, yummy, low-calorie appetizer. This past weekend I made kale chips, and they were delish – they tasted like popcorn! Bring a big bowl of kale chips as your appetizer this weekend, and watch them disappear!
Crunchy Kale Chips
1 big bunch of pesticide-free or organic kale (about 10 stocks or leaves)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil (has a higher burning temperature than olive oil)
Sea salt to taste*
*You could also add your favorite spice such as: Mrs. Dash, red pepper flakes, cumin or paprika to change up the flavor!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Rip “chip-size” pieces off the kale leaves, and wash using a salad spinner.
Transfer “chips” to a big bowl, toss with oil, and sprinkle with salt.
Spread out evenly onto two cookie sheets and cook in the oven for 8 minutes, or until edges just start to brown.
Scoop into a serving bowl and enjoy!