Full of vitamins, quick to cook and grown in the UK. What more could you ask of a green veg?
KALE IS HIGH IN VITAMIN A and vitamin C, both important for healthy skin, plus folate, which is important for healthy blood and for cognitive function. It’s also a source of calcium, vital for healthy bones and teeth. Try it in these tasty dishes…
1. Pasta pesto plus
Whizz up a pesto with basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice (or use a bought one), then stir through hot pasta with steamed shredded kale. See here for Izy Hossack’s recipe from Top with Cinnamon.
2. Veggie stroganoff
Cook sliced mushrooms and shredded kale with a little olive oil until tender. Add enough reduced-salt vegetable stock to moisten and simmer for 2 min. Stir in some reduced-fat crème fraîche to make a sauce, then add wholegrain mustard and a sprinkle of paprika and heat. Serve with brown rice.
3. Spicy stir-fry
Stir-fry a pack of shredded kale in a little sunflower oil with coarsely grated carrot, garlic, chopped red chilli, ground cumin and ground coriander for 2 min until just tender. Add cooked peeled prawns, chopped fresh coriander and lemon juice and serve with noodles.
4. Curly crisps
These make a delicious side dish for grilled steak, chicken and fish: remove the thick stems from a bunch of kale and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Toss the kale in a little olive oil and a sprinkle of chilli flakes. Spread the kale out on a baking sheet and bake for 10 min at 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4 until crisp.
5. Garlicky mash
Cook peeled potato chunks with an unpeeled garlic clove in boiling water until really tender. Remove the potato and garlic with a slotted spoon, add shredded kale to the water and cook for 5 min. Squeeze the soft garlic out of its skin and mash with the potatoes until smooth. Season with black pepper and add a little skimmed milk to loosen. Drain the cooked kale and stir through the mash.
Steam kale, or boil in as little water as possible and avoid over-cooking, to preserve as much vitamin C as possible
6. Chicken and chestnut risotto
Cook 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped skinless chicken breasts in a little olive oil in an ovenproof pan. Add 300g risotto rice, 100g shredded kale and 75g cooked chopped chestnuts. Stir well, then pour in 700ml hot reduced-salt chicken stock, plus a dash of white wine, if you like. Cover with a lid and bake in the oven at 200°C/fan180°C/
gas 6 for 20 min until the stock is absorbed and the rice is just cooked. Season with black pepper and stir in chopped fresh parsley.
7. Exotic smoothie
Whiz ¼ prepared fresh pineapple, ½ cored and chopped eating apple, 50g kale, 1tsp grated fresh ginger and 200ml probiotic pouring yogurt, then serve in a glass.
8. Winter bean soup
Cook chopped celery, carrot, garlic and onion in a little oil until just softened. Add a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, 500ml reduced-salt vegetable stock and some finely chopped rosemary leaves. Simmer until the veg are tender, then add about 200g shredded kale and a 400g tin of drained and rinsed cannellini beans. Season with black pepper and simmer for 5 min until the kale is tender.
9. Oriental fish
Arrange plaice fillets on top of a bed of shredded kale in a baking dish. Scatter over the zest of ½ orange and a 2cm piece of fresh ginger cut into thin strips. Mix together the juice of 1 orange, 1tbsp sweet chilli sauce, 1tbsp rice wine vinegar and a dash of reduced-salt soy sauce. Pour over the plaice, cover the dish and bake in the oven at 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5 for 20 min until the fish is cooked and the kale is tender. Serve with noodles.
10. Hearty omelette
Make a two-egg omelette. Before you turn it out of the pan, top with a mixture of steamed shredded kale, tinned sweetcorn, a few halved cherry tomatoes and either a little soft goat’s cheese or a sprinkle of grated parmesan. Season with black pepper, fold the omelette over and slide out of the pan.
The benefits of kale
- High in vitamin A and vitamin C, both important for healthy skin.
- High in folate, important for healthy blood and cognitive function.
- Source of calcium, which is vital for healthy bones and teeth.
- An 80g portion (one of your five-a-day) will give you 56% of the RDA for vitamin A, 34% for folate, 71% for vitamin C and 15% for calcium.