CARTHAGE, Mo. —
There are babies in my garden -- sweet, green, leafy babies. By this time of year, I’m pretty spent with working in the yard. But just a few weeks of looking at the barren dirt inspired me to plant a small fall garden. The highlight this year is kale. It’s easy to grow, it loves cool weather, and it is super good for you.
As far as nutrients per calorie go, you can’t get much better than kale. It’s a cousin of broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprout, and a descendant of wild cabbage, which is clearly where it gets its good looks. Kale is packed with calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and K as well as beta carotene and fiber. You know you love fiber. I could go on and on. The kicker is that it tastes good, too.
Kale likes cool weather so much that a little frost makes it taste even sweeter. I love seeing some green in the garden that is still edible after a frost. Pluck the tender, sweet baby leaves for salads and sandwiches. Use them in place of or in addition to lettuce and spinach. Save the bigger leaves for roasting, sautŽing or dehydrating. Roasted kale is a surprisingly suitable substitute for salty snacks. After drizzling with olive oil, sprinkling with salt and roast, it becomes very light and crispy. Otherwise, treat kale as you would other greens when cooking for a super-food punch. Chop it and toss it in soup or stir-fry, or saute it with bacon and enjoy it as a side dish.
Kale can be found at any farmers market or grocery store. Its shades include green, white and purple, and it can be flat or curly. Any of them will work for your kale needs. If you decide to grow your own kale, keep in mind that it reseeds itself and keeps coming back year after year if you let it. Mine popped up in an undesirable location in my garden. I hate that. Digging it up wasn’t too painful for my soul, because I knew I could throw some more seeds down in the fall.
Kale is a win-win vegetable -- simple to grow, good for you and very tasty.
Garbanzo beans and greens
2 center-cut bacon slices
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 1/2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 (15-ounce) cans organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained
4 cups chopped fresh kale
1/2 cup plain 2-percent Greek yogurt (reduced-fat)
4 lemon wedges (optional)
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon and crumble. Add carrot and chopped onion to drippings in pan, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add paprika, salt, cumin and red pepper; cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken broth, water and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add kale to bean mixture. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until kale is tender, stirring occasionally. Ladle about 1 to 11/4 cups bean mixture into each of 4 bowls and top each serving with 2 tablespoons yogurt. Sprinkle with bacon and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
Source: Cooking Light
One-pot sesame kale and noodles
I adapted this recipe from Vegetarian Times. I love a main dish that can be made all in one pot.
1 large bunch of kale, rinsed well and thinly sliced
12-ounce box of whole-grain pasta
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I like to use a mixture of black and white for fun)
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook for 5 minutes less than package indicates. Add kale and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes. The kale will float to the top during cooking, so push it into the water a few times with a large spoon. Drain and place pasta and kale back in the pot. Add sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Toss and serve warm.
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