Sunday, October 3, 2010

All Hail Kale! Vegan and Gluten-free.

I didn't really grow up enjoying kale. In fact, the only exposure I ever had to it was on my plate at restaurants like Denny's, where it was almost always placed as an afterthought to the rest of my meal. I would usually take a small bite of the bitter leaf on a dare or just out of complete apathy, not really paying mind to what it tasted like. Recently, however, I've begun to change my mind about a lot of foods, with kale being one of them. In fact, cooked kale is really great, and I'm glad I've started adding it to my meals.

Kale is related to cabbage, and is in fact, much closer to a wild cabbage than is the domestic leaves that we deem cabbage today. Kale is considered high in antioxidants and a load of other nutrients, including beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium. Boiling reduces some of its nutrients, although stir-frying, steaming, and microwaving does not.

Thankfully, I just so happen to have a great connection, so I am fortunate enough to have an almost-unlimited (and free!) supply of kale as long as it is in season (which can be all winter, if it's a type called "Hungry Gap"!). Because of the large supply, I've been trying it all sorts of ways, including the recipe below. Enjoy!

Crispy Kale and Fruit Salad
Serves 1
3 large leafs of kale
1 t. vegetable oil
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 heirloom apple, diced
2 small plums (or 1 regular-sized plum), diced
1 fig, cut into quarters
1 T. dressing (optional)

  1. Rip up kale leaves onto an oven-safe pan. Cover with oil and salt. Broil on the top shelf in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until it is the texture and "done-ness" that you want.
  2. While it is cooking, cut up your fruit.
  3. After the kale is cooked, put it into a bowl. Place cut-up fruit on top of it. If desired, pour just a little dressing (I used Annie's Naturals Organic Pomegranate Vinaigrette) on top for a little extra flavor.

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