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Best Way to Eat Kale for Nutrients [Kale Recipes]

Best Way to Eat Kale for Nutrients

Kale is the new black… right?

I coach my clients to crowd out other foods with green foods. Actually, that’s the very first thing that we discuss! Clients that aren’t familiar with leafy green vegetables and other glorious green foods should explore the produce section in their grocery.

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Lately I’ve seen so many varieties of Kale at regular grocery stores: curly, ornamental, and dinosaur. It’s so fun to touch these different varieties and feel the difference between the textures.

So what’s the big deal about Kale?

On one hand, Kale has a bitter taste and is a bit thick. On the other, one cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus (Whew!).

The next questions is: How do you use it?

I’m going to focus on soups in this post because it’s cold outside and soups are easy in the winter – especially if you have a crock pot. Below are some recipes I found on FoodGawker.com that are simple and good. There are a healthy mix of Vegan, Vegetarian and Meat-Lovers soups. Take a look, try them out and comment below to give me feedback! Bon appetite!!

Best Way to Eat Kale for Nutrients

Slow Cooker Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Shaved Parmesan (from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

Makes 6-8 servings

Can be made Vegetarian/Vegan

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped small
  • 2 T minced garlic (or less if you’re not a garlic fan)
  • 2 tsp dried Italian Seasoning (contains oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and rosemary)
  • 2 cans (15 oz. can) Cannellini beans and juice (or use 4 cups cooked cannellini beans and a little water)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • 8 oz. finely chopped kale, washed if needed (about 8 cups finely chopped kale)
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, or 1/2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
  • 1-2 pieces of Parmesan rind to add flavor (optional)
  • freshly shaved Parmesan, to garnish (optional)

Instructions: 

Heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan; add the onions and cook 4-5 minutes or until they are just starting to brown.  Add the garlic and Italian Seasoning and saute 1-2 minutes more, being careful not to let the garlic brown.  Spray the slow cooker with non-stick spray; then put onions and garlic into the slow cooker.

While the onions are cooking use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the cannellini beans and juice, keeping them a little chunky if you prefer.  (If you’re using freshly-cooked beans I would add about 1/4 cup water.)  Finely chop the kale (cutting away thick center ribs if you have them) and wash kale in the salad spinner if you’re using garden kale.

Put the pureed beans, chopped kale, chicken/vegetable stock, canned tomatoes and juice, and sage leaves (or dried sage) into the slow cooker with the onion mixture.  (Add one or two pieces of Parmesan rind if desired for extra flavor.)  Cook 4 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.  Serve the soup hot, with strips of Parmesan shaved over if desired.

This soup will keep for at least a week in the fridge, and it freezes well.

Cannellini Bean, Kale, and Sausage Stew (from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

Serves 6-8

Meat-Lovers Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tsps olive oil
  • 1 lb bulk spicy Italian sausage (or any sausage, but I like spicy!)
  • 32 oz (2 cans) cannellini beans (or pressure cook 1 cup dried cannellini beans)
  • 2 lbs tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsps garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock

Instructions

4 cups fresh kale in a frying pan, heat the oil and add the sausage. Fry the sausage, breaking up large chunks, until browned.

Drain the beans. Place the cooked sausage, beans, tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, fennel, and chicken stock in a slow cooker. Cook for 2 1/2 hours on high. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can bring everything to a boil in a stock pot and then reduce to a simmer for about an hour.

Remove the kale leaves from their fibrous ribs. Chop the leaves (discard or compost the ribs) and add them to the stew. Let the slow cooker continue on high for 45 more minutes. If cooking on the stove, simmer the stew for another 15 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Tuscan Kale, Keilbasa & White Bean Soup (from Iowa Girl Eats)

Serves 4

Meat-Lovers Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or microplaned
  • 1/2 lb kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2×2″ Parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chopped kale (remove leaves from stems/center vein before chopping)
  • 2 T grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Instructions:

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots and onions then season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds then add kielbasa and cook for 3 more minutes.

Add chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen brown bits, then add beans, Parmesan cheese rind, and bay leaf. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in kale then place a lid on the pot, turn heat down to medium-low, and simmer until kale is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese then taste and adjustment seasonings if necessary.

Remove bay leaf (Parmesan cheese rind can stay in – it will continue to flavor leftovers) then serve with additional Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, if desired.

White Bean, Kale, and Pesto Soup (from Katie at the Kitchen Door)

Serves 4

Vegan/Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/4 in. thick
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 4 cup chicken or vegetable broth (use vegetable broth to make the recipe vegetarian)
  • 1/2 large head fresh kale, roughly torn into bite-sized pieces (or 1 1/2 c. frozen chopped kale)
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed (can also use cooked – add 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto (homemade is best, but store-bought is fine too)
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese (optional for the Vegan recipe)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional, but the pecorino blends well with the nutmeg)

Instructions

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add onion and carrot, and saute, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes, or until vegetables have begun to soften.  Add garlic, oregano, and parsley, and cook 2 minutes more, stirring.

Add chicken broth, kale, and beans, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until kale and carrots are tender.  Remove from heat and stir in pesto, cheese, and nutmeg.  Serve hot with additional grated cheese and crusty bread.

Potato Tomato Leek Soup (from Edible Perspective)

Serves 4-6

Vegan/Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 4c vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2c leeks, chopped
  • 28oz can, whole peeled tomatoes, chopped (reserve the juice for the broth – can use canned plum tomatoes)
  • 2.5c red potatoes, 1/2” cubes
  • 4c kale, finely chopped
  • 1c chickpeas
  • 1T garlic, minced
  • 2.5t fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1T fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2T safflower oil
  • 0-1t salt*
  • black pepper

Instructions

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium.

Add the chopped leeks and sauté for 4-7min, stirring frequently, until light golden brown.

Add in the garlic, salt, thyme, and black pepper, stirring for 1 minute. *No-sodium vegetable bullion cubes were used to make the broth, so this recipe calls for an added 1t salt total to the soup.  If your broth has low sodium or the full amount of sodium, taste + add salt towards the end of cooking if needed.

  1. Add in the basil, chopped tomatoes, tomato juice, and broth.  Stir and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to simmer for 20min, uncovered.
  3. Stir in the potato, kale, and garbanzo beans.
  4. Cover + simmer for about 15min until the potatoes are tender.
  5. Taste and add more salt/pepper if desired.

This is just a taste of the recipes that are out there using Kale – check some out for yourself at FoodGawker.com! Let me know your feedback or if you found or have a great recipe to share!

Peace and Love!!

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