Dinner Diva: Which leafy green has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk?

I’ve been one of kale’s biggest cheerleaders since the ’80s, back before this ultimate leafy green was a nutrition trend.

dinner diva leanne elyI personally believe that kale is the most nutritious food you can eat. Period.

There’s a reason why this queen of greens is being referred to as “the New Beef,” but don’t  think for one second that this is a new vegetable!

I will admit that while I am now a kale aficionado, when I was in my 20s, I thought kale was only good for garnishing a plate. Boy was I wrong!

It wasn’t until I bought a home outside of Charlotte, when my kids were little, that I started to see the benefits of kale. That’s because the garden out behind my new house was chock full of kale! The lady who sold the house to me tried to tell me how delicious kale was. I didn’t believe her, but once I started to actually (gasp) try it, I fell in love.

What does kale have going for it?

  • Kale is a cruciferous veggie. It’s packed with sulfur, which makes it a wonderful detox food. Your liver will love you for eating kale.
  • Calorie per calorie, there’s more calcium in kale than there is in milk.
  • Kale contains flavonoids, carotenoids and other antioxidants.
  • Kale contains more iron than beef, per calorie.
  • The Vitamin C and Vitamin K in kale will aid in bone health and joint flexibility.
  • Kale acts as an anti-inflammatory within the body.
  • Kale is high in fiber and low in calories
  • Kale aids in digestion and keeps you regular

And, if you cook it right, kale can be scrumptious. Operative word being “if”! Because over-cooked kale equals gross.

Personally, I like kale best in my green juices along with apple, carrot, ginger, lemon and spinach. But I know that’s not for everyone!

So, if you’d like to join me on the kale bandwagon, the following tips will help you  devel-op a taste for this magical leafy green:

  • Starting with clean kale, remove the leaves from those stiff inner stalks. Dry the heck out of those kale leaves and give them a spritz of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Roast them in the oven until crispy and golden (about ten minutes). Kale chips are a favorite in my house!
  • Before serving a bowl of soup, add a couple handfuls of kale in the pot.
  • Add kale leaves to your salads and stir fries.
  • Everything is better with bacon. Cook your kale for a couple of minutes in bacon fat! When it’s bright green, it’s ready to eat.
  • Massage your kale leaves with olive oil, lemon juice and coarse salt. This wilts the leaves without having to cook them and leaves you with beautiful tender green kale perfect for a salad.

What’s your favorite way to eat kale?

You can find tons of recipes with kale at www.savingdinner.com

Leanne Ely is a NYT bestselling author and the creator of SavingDinner.com, the original menu planning website, bringing families back to the dinner table for over 15 years.

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