While we’ve all been told for years now to eat our greens, it is surprising how few greens people really actually eat. Sure, salads are an easy no-brainer, but for whatever reason cooking greens seems to be more intimidating. But nothing could be easier. The thing is, you don’t need to make radical alterations to the way you eat to start adding more greens to your daily diet. Instead, think about what your normally eat, and then ask, “Can I add a green with that?” How about a super simple kale recipe to start with? Kale happens to be a green superfood I eat at least three times a week.
What Makes Kale So Healthy?
Calorie per calorie dark leafy greens deliver the most abundant and broadest spectrum of nutrients of just about any other foods in the world, making them perfect to incorporate in eat clean recipes. Dark leafy greens are packed with a mind-blowing amount of nutrients including minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium, tons of fiber and lots of disease-fighting phytonutrients.
When it comes to ranking foods for antioxidants (which help keep you young while also fighting degenerative disease), did you know kale comes out on top for vegetables? A testing procedure used by the USDA to determine the antioxidant capacity of fruits and vegetables gives the highest ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) rating of vegetables to kale. The ORAC value of kale is 1770 (the next best vegetable is spinach with an ORAC value of 1260.) The more ORAC units per serving, or per calorie, the greater the food is at combating free radicals that can damage cells (leading to cancer), trigger inflammation (leading to a flare-up of symptoms if you have an inflammatory condition such as asthma, fibromyalgia, etc.), and accelerate the aging process both inside your body and outside (including more wrinkles).
How to Cook Kale in a Hurry
Although one of the easiest ways to get a daily serving of kale (or any dark leafy green) is to get in the habit of making a green smoothie every day, it is nice for variety to know how to cook kale too. Luckily, cooking kale is beyond simple. Probably the easiest and least messy way to cook kale is to simply steam it (you can cook collard greens, beet greens and all other greens the same way.) Heat water in a steamer and bring to a boil, then steam kale (leaves only, stems removed) for 4 minutes. You can then drizzle kale with a little extra virgin olive oil, hemp oil or flax oil (or for a special treat try black truffle oil), lemon juice, red pepper flakes and Himalayan unrefined sea salt.
Oh, and if you just want an easy grab-and-go kale snack be sure to check out my all-time favorite raw, vegan kale chips, Rhythm Chips (Bombay Curry Flavor is my favorite). The kale chips are a bit pricey, but worth it.
Easy Kale Recipe:
Sautéed Kale with Shitake Mushrooms & Chopped Dates
If you have a little more time on your hands and want to prepare a special kale dish then try this recipe for sautéed kale with shitake mushrooms and dates. Combining meaty shitake mushrooms with sweet chopped dates might sound a bit strange, but the winning duo delivers a sweet and savory result that is absolutely incredible.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves crushed garlic
- 8 ounces shitake mushrooms, chopped
- unrefined sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 12 ounces kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup vegetable broth or white wine
- ½ cup chopped pitted dates
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 6 minutes. Add the broth (or wine) and chopped dates. Bring to a boil and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Season with addition salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.