Killer Kale Recipes

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Every now and then I have to take a break from promotion Veg Table to actually eat... I'm trying to eat healthier and lose a bit of weight because summer, bathing suits, weddings, blah blah blah. I don't really need an excuse to add healthier meals to my diet. So because I'm trying to eat lighter, smaller portions, I'm trying to work in foods that are dense in nutrients. Like kale! It's a superfood!

I know that eating raw kale makes me sound like one of those vegans who wastes away, subsiding on nothing but berries and twigs. Don't worry, I've consumed enough fried pickles and beer over the last year to more than warrant a bit of a cleanse. And while kale can be great sauteed in garlic and olive oil, you're just losing nutrients and adding fat. So here are a few ways I sneak it into my dishes.

Kale and Soba Noodle Salad

I eat a lot of edamame because it's high in protein and yummy. I buy it frozen and shelled so you can't beat that convenience. I throw about a cup of it in a bowl (don't bother to thaw it) with maybe three large leaves of kale, stalk removed and chopped up. After the soba noodles have cooked, drain and toss them right in. (The frozen edamame will cool down the noodles and vice versa.) Then I toss with a combo of rice vinegar, ginger, black pepper, soy sauce and garlic salt. If you're not too concerned about the calories you can add sesame or chili oil. You can also throw in some pine nuts or almonds. Doesn't get much easier than that. 

Here's another variation...

Kale Sushi Rolls

Take one cup uncooked sushi rice and cook as directed. I used this Jade Pearl Rice which is infused with bamboo for a little extra iron and a nutty flavor, which took about 20 minutes. Move it to a bowl, add a healthy amount of rice vinegar, fluff it up, and refrigerate. While it cools chop up three large kale leaves. (You want to chop it pretty finely.) I added edamame because I almost always have it on hand, but I bet this would work really well using chopped up avocado instead. If you want to avoid the fat, try diced cucumber or daikon. 

Mix into the rice some similar flavors as used for the kale salad. You can't go wrong with soy, ginger, garlic salt, and black pepper. I added a touch of hoisin too for added sweetness. Toss some sesame seeds in there too and then add the kale and whatever other veggies you've decided on and mix well. It helps if you have bamboo sushi rolling mat, but you can make do without. Lay a sheet of nori out and place a few spoonfuls of your rice mixture onto one half. Spread it out so it covers a little over 1/2 of the nori like so and then roll it up into a nice tight roll. This makes about 6-8 rolls. Cut them in half and then serve with your choice of dipping sauce.

Do you have a favorite recipe using kale? Let me know!