If ever there was a vegetable that ‘jumped the shark,’ kale is it. Once reserved for salads served to only the healthiest health nuts, the dark leafy green is now ubiquitous in everything from Starbucks smoothies to McDonald’s wraps. So overexposed is the once-humble kale that it’s now included in the ‘basic’ girl’s arsenal, right alongside Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Chardonnay. Poor kale ‘ your decent from virtuous superfood to silly ‘Hey Girl’ meme was swift.
But here’s the thing: I still love kale. Call me basic; call me passé ‘ whatever, you just shush. I’m not giving up on my kale salads, smoothies and stir-fries. Here’s why:
Kale is super nutritious
We can’t ignore the fact that this hearty green is a nutritional powerhouse. A cup of raw, chopped kale gives you more than 130 percent of your daily vitamin C needs and 200 percent of your vitamin A. It’s considered a good source of fibre, protein and iron, and a very good source of potassium and calcium and folate, a B vitamin that helps produce red blood cells. And attention fellow four-eyes: lutein and zeaxanthin, the nutrients that give kale its dark green colour, help maintain eye health.
Kale is an easy way to eat more greens
I’m pretty busy these days, what with the chatty one-year-old toddling around my house. I confess that I don’t have a lot of time (or inclination) to plan elaborate, balanced meals. But toss some kale into a bowl with chicken, peppers, goat cheese and roasted sweet potatoes, and you’ve got yourself a satisfying and healthful dinner. Not to mention that eating kale feels virtuous. I like that feeling. I like it a lot.
Kale is cheap
A bunch of kale goes for about $3 at my local grocery store. That’s about the same as a head of romaine lettuce, but I get more nutritional bang for my buck. Plus, kale stores well ‘ an unwashed bunch sealed in plastic bag will stay fresh for about five days in the fridge. Score one for the lazy grocery shopper!
Kale is versatile
Salads, smoothies, stir-fries, soups ‘ the possibilities for kale eating are seemingly endless. The robust leaves hold up to steaming, sautéing and stewing, but they’re equally delicious served raw and massaged with salad dressing or olive oil. Bake it into crispy chips, blend it into pesto or serve it shredded on top of Raman noodles to bump up the veggie content. Or try some of these nutritious ways to fall in love with kale.
Kale is delicious
My husband may refer to my dark green salads as ‘dirt from the forest floor,’ but I find kale quite tasty. I like its pleasing extra-crunchy texture and its slightly peppery flavour compliments sweeter veggies like peppers, tomatoes, carrots and even fruit.
So back off my kale already, would ya? Go pick on cauliflower for a while. I think it could stand to be taken down a peg or two.