Kale

Kale - Col

A member of the brassica family of veggies which includes cabbage and broccoli, kale has enjoyed its fair share of fame in the anticancer spotlight. Like all members of the cruciferous brassica family of veggies, kale is rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, notably, isothiocyanates, which include sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol.

Dark green and leafy, boasting a unique combination of nutritive qualities, much of kale’s anti-inflammatory power comes from its high concentration of vitamin K. Combine this with kale’s high levels of antioxidants — a broad range of carotenoids and flavonoids — and you have an effective one-two punch for the cells: enhanced oxygen delivery to the bloodstream, and protection of healthy cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.

Chef Tips

There are three types of kale: curly, the most common, purple-tinged Russian kale, and the dark green slender leaved Tuscan Lacinato kale. Look for strong stems and dark-colored tops when shopping for kale. Check the leaves for wilting or discoloration. Do not wash the leaves until you are ready to cook them. Store in a plastic bag in one of the crisper drawers of your fridge and it should keep for about five days.

When cooking your kale, there is no need to massage it first. Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan, sauté some sliced garlic, add the kale and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, adding a spritz of lemon at the end to enhance the flavor and the absorption of vitamin C from the kale.

Try using kale in our Sauteed Kale with Sweet Potatoes

To enjoy your kale uncooked, in a salad or slaw, one of the best preparation steps you can do is to massage it. This will help breakdown the toughness of the leaves and remove any bitterness you might encounter.

Rinse the leaves well in cold water. Cut or strip the leaves away from the hard stems. Discard the stems. To massage your kale, place it in a large bowl and pour over a few glugs of olive oil plus a pinch or two of salt, and gently rub it into the leaves so that it is all thoroughly coated. Let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. It is now ready for the next steps in your recipe.

We suggest giving our Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpea Croutons a go — it’s delicious!

Registered Dietitian Approved

Our recipes, articles, videos, and more content are reviewed by our Registered Dietitian Kate Ueland, MS, RD, CSO, a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition, to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and follows the guidelines set by the Oncology Nutrition for Clinical Practice, 2nd Ed., published by the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, a professional interest group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society.

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