Let’s talk about kale for a minute. It’s so in right now. Kale chips, kale salad, kale juice, pan-fried kale with garlic and butter… it is sometimes referred to as the beef of a plant-based diet, because per-calorie it contains more iron than beef.
If you’ve never seen or eaten kale before, it is a dark green leafy vegetable from the same family as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. There are lots of varieties and Informed Papa has been experimenting growing a range. We are so lucky – kale has thrived in our garden for the past eighteen months or so.
– Contains ridiculous amounts of calcium. In fact, it contains more calcium per calorie than milk, and is easier for your body to absorb than milk.
– Contains massive doses of Vitamin K, promoting strong and healthy bones and essential for our nervous system. Kale has about twice the Vitamin K of other cruciferous vegetables.
– Is cholesterol-lowering, especially when cooked.
– Has antioxidant properties. Kale lowers cancer risk in at least five types of cancer (bladder, breast, ovary, colon, prostrate). Kale contains chemicals which block the growth of certain types of cancer cells, boost DNA repair and help cells to detox.
– Is an excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Vitamin A is good for your skin and your vision. Vitamin C helps your immune system, metabolism and the growth and repair of tissues.
– Has anti-inflammatory properties, so is great for arthritis, autoimmune disease, and heart disease.
– Yadda, yadda, yadda. Seriously, I could go on. This vegetable is a nutritional powerhouse.
Here is one recipe that I love so much I could eat it every day. I cooked it twice this week already.
Chunky Bean and Kale Soup
From Patrick Holford’s The Optimum Nutrition Cookbook
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks celery, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
500mL well-flavoured vegetable stock
150g cooked or canned red kidney beans
150g kale, shredded
1 tbs tomato puree
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan and add all the fresh vegetables except kale. Stir over low heat for 2-3 mins.
2. Add stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes.
3. Mash half the kidney beans and add to the soup with the whole beans, shredded kale, tomato puree and herbs and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
When I make this, I strip the kale leaves off the stalk. I don’t include the stalk in the meal because I think it would be kinda tough. This soup can be served over day-old sourdough, or over toasted polenta squares.