Kale may well be the single healthiest food you could ever eat, and it’s an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. It’s great in salads, stir fries, smoothies, and juices.
As a close relative of broccoli, the nutritional profiles of these two foods are remarkably similar. Kale comes in three varieties:
- Curly. The most common variety, available in either green or purple. The thick and fibrous stems of curly kale require more cooking time than do the leaves, so you may wish to tear the stems from the leaves’ centers, chop them up, and give them some extra cooking.
- Russian. This variety has flat leaves and a much less fibrous stem. You can find it in green or reddish varieties. Russian kale demands less cooking prep than does curly kale since there’s no need to strip out the stem.
- Dinosaur. This stuff lives up to its name and looks positively prehistoric. It’s the most imposing variety of the bunch and has super thick, waxy, forbiddingly dark green leaves.
The thick coarse texture of kale, coupled with its bright green color, may make it seem more like goat food than people food, but you’ll be amazed by the numerous delicious ways that kale can be prepared. Steaming or stir-frying will soften the leaves to a delicate texture. Kale can also be baked or dehydrated—with lemon juice, spices, tamari, and nutritional yeast—to make some of the most delicious chips you’ve ever eaten.
If you’ve never tried a massaged kale salad, you’re in for a treat! Chop your kale coarsely—stems and all—and put it in a large mixing bowl. Add the dressing of your choice and then get in there and grab and squeeze entire handfuls of kale. This will rapidly break down the fiber, shrinking its volume by half while infusing the kale with the rich flavors of your dressing. Suddenly you’ve got kale in its rawest form, yet super digestible and with its intimidating texture nowhere to be found.