KALE! I’m sure most everyone out there has heard of this super food. There are die hard nutrition fiends that can’t get enough of the stuff and then there are those that are scared of this “weird-looking lettuce”. I consider myself happily in the middle. I love the health benefits, but I’m not a fan of eating it plain all by itself. Sometimes eating healthy involves some creativity.
There is a reason why kale has gotten so much attention lately and even labeled a “Super Food”. It is one of the most nutrient-packed foods out there. There are SO many nutritionally beneficial traits to kale. From vitamin K to protein and fiber! (Check out the full nutrition facts about kale HERE.)
Also, it’s very easy to grow yourself! It’s a cooler temp vegetable, so for us here in beautiful Minnesota, we are planting in early spring and then again in the fall. It’s also container garden friendly, so anyone can grow it. The picture below is from my Dad’s garden. He was so excited to bring us some of his bountiful kale for my husband to add to his juicing. Which just happens to be first on the list.
- Juicing – My favorite juice recipe is from the documentary “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead” which is available on Netflix and I highly recommend it. It’s called Mean Green Juice and the link for the recipe is HERE. It’s delicious and my absolute favorite. I post pictures of my juice on my Instagram all the time because it’s so pretty and bright green. If you’re thinking about giving juice a try, I HIGHLY urge you to invest in a quality juicer. It’s worth every penny. (I put a link for the exact juicer we have and LOVE at the end of the post.)
- Kale chips – Wash and dry kale, (stems removed) and massage in extra virgin olive oil. Spread kale out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake in the oven at 300° for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan once. Makes a yummy snack or appetizer.
So, we all know it can be tough to get kiddos to eat veggies, especially kale. There are TONS of ways to hide it in everyday recipes. Most of the items on this list fall into this category, but before we go there, I have a quick tip. If you have an overabundance of kale:
Wash it up good and dry it in your salad spinner.
Then chop it up in your food processor.
Then pop it in your freezer. Then it’s there and ready to be added to almost any recipe. I would only use frozen kale in recipes that are cooked. Stick with the fresh stuff for salads etc. (Links for my exact food processor and salad spinner below.)
On with the list!! For most of these ideas, just how much chopped kale you add will depend on the recipe you use. Start with a few tablespoons and work your way up.
- Spaghetti Sauce – If you use fresh herbs in your sauce, the kale will blend right in. I usually add meat to my sauce, so I sauté the Kale for a few minutes with the meat before hand.
- Lasagna – Either layer it in your lasagna or add it to whatever sauce you are using.
- Meatloaf – Add it right into your meat mixture. (I throw shredded zucchini in mine too!)
- Meatballs – Same as meatloaf, add it right into your mixture.
- Pizza – Spread it either under the cheese above the sauce, or mix it right in with your sauce.
- Stuffed Chicken Breast – I’m working on a post for my stuffed chicken breast recipe soon. I will make sure to add a link when it’s ready. If you have one you like, just add kale to the mixture.
- Grilled Cheese – Super kid friendly! Make sure you have two layers of cheese and hide a thin layer of chopped kale in between. Make sure it’s good and melted. (Aren’t we sneaky)
- Omelet – Sauté with any other veggies you’re adding to your omelet. Works great in egg bakes, too.
- Zucchini Bread – Replace 1/4 of the zucchini from your recipe with chopped kale.
- Potato Soup – Sauté and add to any recipe.
So, this next batch of ideas would only be if you have fresh chopped kale on hand.
- Smoothies – Add it fresh to any smoothie. We do a lot of banana and mixed berry smoothies, which are nice and sweet. A small amount of kale blends right in.
- Potato Salad – mix it right into your favorite recipe.
- Tuna/Chicken – add it right in and mix well.
- Nachos – On a baking sheet, spread your tortilla chips. Top with fresh chopped kale, onions, black olives, tomatoes and cover with shredded cheese. Broil until cheese is melted. Top with salsa and sour cream.
- Tacos – Mix chopped kale in with your shredded lettuce.
I saved the best for last. Probably the sneakiest one of all…
- Home-made (non-toxic) food coloring – If you have a juicer, you can make straight kale juice. Add it to homemade buttercream frosting for a light green color. Perfect for a springtime event or a baby shower. I recently did this for my son’s birthday cupcakes. I juiced the kale ahead of time and froze it in an ice-cube tray. The night before I was planning to frost the cupcakes, I moved the frozen cubes to the refrigerator so it would be thawed and ready for me.
So, there it is! 18 ways to add some major nutrition to your family’s diet. A tablespoon here and there might not seem like much, but over time it all adds up! Experiment with your recipes to see what amounts work best and please, share with me your favorite ways to eat kale. If you’ve never tried it, but think now’s the time, let me know how it goes!
Posted on my favorite blog hops!