A recent trip to our local farmer’s market prompted me to create a bright, summery, sweet and tart kale salad. There’s something about big bunches of fresh greens at a market that spurs me to buy not one or two, but usually three different varieties. I try to use kale and other greens in a variety of ways: smoothies, juices, stir-fries, pastas, and of course, big beautiful salads. At the same time I was pondering what to do about a fridge that was literally spilling out leafy greens, I was also brainstorming ways to use a fruit that is relatively new to me: currants. These bright and sour juicy little orbs seemed like the perfect compliment to sweet mango chunks and avocado-massaged kale.
You gotta hand it to kale, it has far surpassed its fifteen minutes of fame. All hail kale… This nutrient-rich, power-house green isn’t going anywhere soon. Under any other circumstances, I would be annoyed by all the fuss and hype surrounding one particular food, but honestly, all the kale love is ok with me. As I mentioned above, I put kale in, and on, just about everything you can think of. Not to sound like all the other kale pushers out there, but… if you want to be healthy, wealthy, and beautiful inside and out, then definitely eat more kale (alright, so I sort of just threw in the “wealthy” part… however, if you’re in good health, and feeling and looking good, then that’s wealthy in my book!).
So why is kale so gawl darn great, anyway? For starters, it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods you can find. Let’s look at the A, B, C’s of what one 36 calorie cup of kale has to offer:
- 1180% DV vitamin K
- 98% DV vitamin A
- 71% DV vitamin C
- 27% DV manganese
- 22% DV copper
- Plus it’s a good source of calcium, fiber, iron, and vitamin E.
Including more leafy greens, and especially kale, in your diet has been shown to:
- reduce inflammation due to it’s high vitamin K and omega-3’s
- help lower cholesterol and support cardiovascular health
- can help our bodies deal with everyday toxins, and boost our cells’ ability to detoxify
- prevent a variety of cancers (including those of the breast, colon, prostate, bladder, and ovaries) thanks to it’s impressive concentration of antioxidants
Need more reasons to eat this earthy green? All those antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatory compounds, and detoxifying properties make kale a stand-out beauty food. The nutrients in kale fight those nasty aging free radicals, improve circulation, boost collagen production, and flush toxins… which can help set the scene for clear, smooth, glowing skin and stronger, healthier hair.
It’s a good idea to eat both raw and lightly steamed kale. Some nutrients are better accessed by our bodies after steaming, while others are fully intact only when eaten raw. My Warm Smokey-Maple Kale Salad with Sweet Potato and Apples is great option if you want to try a barely-steamed kale salad (it’s awesome for early fall!). I also like to chop up kale and add to pizza, soups, or pastas; I just wait to add it until about 5 minutes before the dish is done, so the kale doesn’t get over-cooked.
Summer is still here for a bit longer, so I’m taking advantage of all the fresh fruits and veggies my market has to offer and mixing them up in this colorful, nutrient-packed dish. Give your health and beauty a boost with this vibrant kale salad!
Summer Kale Salad with Avocado, Mango, and Currants (Oil-free)
- About 1 bunch of curly kale (or other variety), or 6 packed cups
- 1/2 large avocado mashed well
- 1/2 large avocado, cubed or sliced
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 mango, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh red currants or raspberries would be delicious too!
- few pinches of salt
- toasted pepitos /pumpkin seeds and pecans (optional)
- splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar
1. Wash the kale and tear the leaves from the stems. For easier chewing, I sometimes then use a sharp knife and chop the kale into small pieces, or you can tear the leaves into small pieces by hand. Place chopped kale in a large bowl.
2. Mix the mashed avocado half with the fresh lemon juice and a pinch or two of salt or to taste. Then pour the mixture over the chopped kale and massage it into the leaves for about 5 minutes. Add more lemon juice or salt if desired.
3. Toss the remaining ingredients into the salad and add a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar and top with nuts/seeds if desired. Serve immediately.
Tell me, do you love kale? Or are you over it??
Edit 8/5/15 The Kale Thallium Scare…
So I realized shortly after publishing this post that I did not address any of the recent articles circulating around kale. I thought maybe I would weigh in on the issue, briefly, and share a few articles to let you decide. My feelings regarding kale, and it’s tendency to uptake thallium, a toxic heavy metal, from the soil and thus make you sick, are mixed. On the one hand, I think it’s a good idea to review the claims and take them seriously. On the other hand, you have to approach everything with a healthy dose of skepticism. Most things in life are not so cut and dry. Do I think kale is horrible and it’s making everyone sick? Probably not (obviously I just posted a kale salad!), but I would warn against eating too much of anything, including kale. I always make sure to rotate my greens weekly, first of all it keeps things interesting, and second it ensures you’re getting a mixture of nutrients, and decreasing any risk of consuming too many oxalates, which is whole other unrelated issue, and honestly not one I worry too much about. Although I have a health related degree under my belt, I am not a doctor or scientist, and I encourage all of you to take my word with as much of a grain of salt as any other person’s word on the internet.
If you’re interested in doing some reading, I’ve included links to the original article that caused the recent stir, as well as a couple of articles opposing it. Hopefully this helps you come to your own conclusion. There are many, many more on the internet, a quick google search will have you completely confused in no time.
The article that started it all: http://craftsmanship.net/the-vegetable-detective/
And a couple of articles dissecting the first one:
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