I don’t know quite how bananas got the reputation as being Nature’s Perfect Food. In my mind, that title should go to kale. Raw, massaged, steamed, stir-fried, chopped into soups, stews, quiches… kale is infinitely adaptable, crazy healthy, and surprisingly inexpensive. And you can find it at your local farmers’ market or grocery store RIGHT NOW. Here are a few ideas on how to prepare kale, in case you need a little help getting started….
#1: Massaged Kale Salad
I adore this recipe. Not only do I make it for lunch with relative frequency, it has become something of a go-to recipe for potlucks and picnic meetings. (Yes, I am a food educator, so some of my meetings involve picnic lunches.) The salad is so good, in fact, that a total stranger blogged about it after a recent cooking demo I did at the 14th & U Street market.
#2: Kale Carbonara
This is a more recent experiment, and quite hearty and delicious for cool weather dinners. It does involve bacon, but if you can get over the weirdness of tofu bacon (which I cannot) you might try a vegetarian version.
#3: Supergreen Smoothie
When pregnant with her first child, my best friend Meghan introduced me to green smoothies. While most ingredients in this aside from the greens are not local, neither am I a purist. I’ll toss one of these vitamin-rich shakes together from time to time. Actually, I make enough for 2-3 shakes at a time. To make your own, simply combine in a blender:
-1 to 1 1/2 cups greens (such as… kale)
-2 cups orange juice
-1/2 apple (peeled if you want a smooth consistency… unless you have a vitamix)
Try chopping some kale into a lentil soup. Or sauteing it with garlic, onion, and a pinch of nutmeg for a quiche filling. Toss whole, washed leaves into a stirfry during the last couple of minutes of cooking. Should you want to include a kale dish as your contribution to the potluck following the upcoming talk by cookbook author Nani Powers (mark your calendar for Sunday, Nov 13 and RSVP here), you might try Aloo Kale, Indian Spiced Kale with Chickpeas, Saag (using tender kale in place of the traditional spinach)….