By Chef Centehua
Kale is a gorgeous dark green or purple leaf form of cabbage. Kale is part of the brassica family, as are brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and collard greens. A protein-rich food, kale is also high in iron, potassium, manganese, calcium, copper and other vitamins such as vitamins K, A, and C. It has remarkable antioxidant properties and is high in fiber, which makes it an excellent cancer fighting food while balancing cholesterol and lowering the risk for heart disease. No wonder it’s referred to as “the new beef.”
Not only is kale delicious but it’s also a hardy crop to grow; it handles the cold winter months beautifully and actually becomes sweeter after a frost. Kale is an easy food to grow as you build greater self reliance, a great sustainable solution for our nutritional needs. It grows quickly, needs little space, can live long term and, with just a regular addition of compost, provides an incredibly high nutritional yield per calorie. Our family has been growing kale for over two years, and our generous crops kept giving us kale all winter, spring and well into the summer!
Of course, when you grow food, you eat it every day and our children would often say “kale again?!” So we have found creative ways to continue feeding kale to our children without getting complaints. Growing your kale is the best way to involve your kids in the process, and you’ll find that they’ll be more inclined to eat what they grow and prepare. If you don’t have room for a vegetable bed, you can grow kale in a big pot. It is a beautiful plant and provides such incredible benefits; however, keep in mind that kale is a heavy feeder, so the soil will need regular additions of an organic compost.
You can marinate kale in olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and salt either to make a delicious salad or to cook in a pan with coconut oil and other vegetables or to use for a soup, juice, etc. My kids love kale in a chocolate smoothie I make and, of course, kale chips.There are countless ways to introduce kale to the whole family. I am so grateful for nutrient rich foods that are easy to introduce into our diets and have such powerful benefits. Gratefully, I also live in California where we have access to locally grown organic fruits and vegetables year round and kale, a staple in my family’s diet, is one of my favorites. Even though my kids have complained a few times, I know they will grow up to feed their kids kale because they know how good it is.
What else can I say about this remarkable food but that it’s gorgeous, hearty, available, easy to cultivate and an essential food for all?!
Kale = health and sustainability
Cacao Kale Smoothie
Blend ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth:
5 kale leaves, stems removed
2 C. raw milk or nut milk
1 1/2 T. raw cacao powder
1 T. coconut oil
1 tsp mesquite
1 tsp lucuma
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 T. raw honey
Rawesome Protein Kale Salad
1 head of broccoli
1 C. cilantro, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin strips
1 golden beet, peeled and shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1/4 C. goji berries
1/3 C. hemp seeds
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/3 extra virgin olive oil
3 T. apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 orange, juiced
1 T. raw honey
1/2 T. Himalayan salt (approximately)
Remove stems from kale and break leaves into small pieces with your hands or roughly chop with a knife. Peel and shred beet, carrots and slice bell pepper. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, lemon, orange juice, salt and garlic. Add kale and remaining ingredients to the bowl, mix well and marinate for one hr. before serving. Adjust salt to your liking.