I love kale. Kale is trendy right now, so I dislike admitting that I am one of many obsessed with this vegetable. But hey, a trend never kaled anyone, and besides, this food-craze is entirely justified. Kale is versatile, delicious (I mean it!) and very nutritious. Let’s take a look at what kale has to offer.
- lowers cholesterol (particularly if steamed)
- lowers risk of bladder, colon, breast, ovary and prostate cancer
- provides comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system
- contains at least 45 different flavenoids (what the heck’s a flavenoid?! I didn’t know either! It seems that flavenoids have anti-oxident and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.)
- it contains loads of vitamin A, K, C and manganese (manganese — another mystery element I knew nothing about. It seems we need small amounts of it in our diet each day. It contributes to healthy skin and bones, and helps regulate blood sugar, among other things.)
There’s probably more, but that’s a good starting point. You can read more here. I recognize that this blog post is edging into dangerously boring territory, but bear with me; I am just getting to the good part: the recipe!
Kale recipes abound! Sometimes the sheer multitude of them makes me fear I’ll kale over with indecision; which one to make?! Well, here I have for you the one you need to make. It is, in fact, the only one I ever make, these days, although now that I know that steamed kale has special health benefits, I might start steaming it every now and then.
This recipe calls for one bunch of kale. I always buy organic kale (apples are another produce item I always buy organic), as it is relatively high (high = higher levels of pesticides) on the list of contaminated fruits and veggies. If you’d like to learn more about this, check out the Environmental Working Group. They test for pesticide residue on crops and then rate each crop on a continuum of contamination — check out the list here.).
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese (the kind in a can)
one hard-boiled egg
Grab one bunch of kale and remove the leaves from the stems. Shred the leaves (or chop them, if that’s your thing; I prefer to rip with my hands) until they are about one inch squared (bite-size).
Douse the kale liberally in olive oil. I use a lot; probably four tbs, or even five. The kale should be pretty drenched.
Next, begin to massage the kale. Yes, this sounds ridiculous, and you might feel ridiculous. The point is to sort of soften the kale by massaging the oil into it. Massage until you are sure you feel completely ridiculous. Just kidding. Massage until the kale starts to get a bit wilted; one minute should do it.
Next, douse the kale in lemon juice. Juice from one lemon should suffice.
Grab some salt, and sprinkle the kale with just a pinch.
Garlic is next. Now, we all have a different threshold of tolerance for garlic. Mine is high, although I have (a few times) made this recipe and overdone the garlic to such an extent that I a) was the only one who would eat the kale salad b) regretted eating the kale salad because all I could taste was garlic for 24 hours and my tummy just. didn’t. feel. right. It did knock my head cold out of the park, though (raw garlic is good for that).
For the modest garlic consumer, I would suggest two cloves for this recipe. If you’d like it to have a bite, a kick, and the ability to repel vampires, up the ante a bit. Do what you feel.
Crush the garlic, add to the kale.
Sprinkle the kale with about a quarter cup Parmesan.
Next, take one hard-boiled egg, chop it up, add to kale. I never do this step, but this is the way the recipe was introduced to me. I like it just as much without the egg, so I usually omit.
Mix all the ingredients together until they are well-incorporated. Serve and enjoy!
Theo, 19.5 months old, loves this salad. He gobbles it down and asks for “mo, meas!” (I’m teaching him manners. Meas=please but no one else knows that unless I tell them. Some day his please will be intelligible to the world at large and that will be a good day. For now, I relish his desire to append a bellowed “MO!!!” to “MO!!! … MEAS!!!”. One must start somewhere.
Kale salad chronicles:
Tonight while Theo was happily munching the little kale fragments we sprinkled on his high chair tray, he suddenly winced and said “hot!” (accompanied by vigorous waving of hand near mouth and much dramatic flair). “Hot” is actually one of his favorite words of the moment (along with “messsss!’, said with much gusto while making messes and observing them); he likes to pretend everything is hot, even if it is, like, a chunk of pineapple or a bite of ice cream (two real life examples). So sometimes hot doesn’t really mean hot, in Theo-talk. In this case, I think he’d stumbled upon an unincorporated piece of garlic in the salad. It actually was hot, as in, spicy. If the prospect of this frightens you, make sure you do lots of stirring of the salad before serving.
I would like to note, however, that the garlic did not stop my son from finishing all the salad on his tray. He didn’t even throw any on the floor! Victory.