Food With Kale these are the practical strategies, strategies you can use today to start experiencing BIG results with Kale. Kale, or leaf cabbage, belongs to a group of cabbage cultivars grown for their edible leaves, although some are used as ornamentals. Kale plants have green or purple leaves, and the central leaves do not form a head
Food With Kale
On the internet, kale recipes were all the rage a few years ago. But in my kitchen, they’re just as cool as ever. What can I say? Kale is versatile, it’s delicious, and it just so happens to be one of the healthiest veggies out there. You betcha I’m blending it into smoothies, tossing it into pastas, and simmering it in soups whenever I have the chance!
At this time of year, many people start to think about adding more veggies to their diets. If that includes you, I encourage you to try kale! To get you started, I’m sharing 33 of my best kale recipes below. They include bountiful salads, comforting soups, yummy pastas, and so much more. Whether you’re a longtime kale enthusiast or you’re experimenting with it for the first time, you’re sure to find something you love.
Basic Kale Recipes
When I cook kale, I often use one of these basic kale recipes as a starting point. Think of them as building blocks – they can become fantastic pastas, bowls, and more!
On its own, this lemony sautéed kale is a nourishing side dish, but it’s also a great addition to larger recipes. Toss it with pasta, add it to a frittata, or pile it onto pizza. The options are endless!
This vibrant pesto is my cold weather alternative to classic basil pesto. Toss it with pasta, scoop it onto soups, slather it on a sandwich, dot it onto pizza…you really can’t go wrong.
Kale Salad Recipes
We’ve all eaten kale salads that are tough and dry, but don’t worry – you won’t find any like that here. Instead, these bountiful salads are bursting with exciting flavors and textures. Tip: they all hold up well if you make them ahead of time (you can even add the dressing!), so they’re great recipes to pack for lunch.
Kale Salad with Carrot-Ginger Dressing
If you make just one recipe off of this list, this kale salad should be it. It’s so energizing, refreshing, and satisfying that it’ll win over even the biggest kale skeptics. Roasted chickpeas and toasted seeds add crunch, a rainbow of root veggies makes it vibrant and colorful, and an electric carrot-ginger dressing ties it all together.
Wheat Berry Salad
Roasted shallots, sage, and thyme bring complexity and depth to this salad. It’s a stunning dinner side dish, but thanks to the wheat berries and roasted squash, it’s also hearty enough to eat for lunch.
Kale Recipes to Add to Your Rotation
Kale Quinoa Salad
This mean green salad is a kale explosion! The hearty greens make up the base, while a creamy kale pepita pesto acts as the dressing. I round it out with cooked quinoa, crispy chickpeas, roasted veggies, and scoops of sauerkraut for pop.
Roasted Delicata Squash Kale Salad
The ultimate fall lunch! I love how the sweet, creamy delicata squash plays off the nutty farro and Tuscan kale in this recipe.
Steamed, blanched, sautéed, and massaged kale are all fantastic additions to grain bowls. They add a boatload of nutrients and a gorgeous shock of green.
Best Buddha Bowl
Make this Buddha bowl recipe as-written, or use it as a template to invent your own bowl! Swap cooked lentils for the chickpeas, or substitute butternut squash for the sweet potatoes. Try using quinoa instead of brown rice, or drizzle on a different sauce. Cilantro lime dressing, green goddess dressing, or any of my tahini sauce variations would be great.
Rainbow Bowls with Almond-Ginger Dressing
Tender baby kale adds extra green power to this veggie-packed noodle bowl.
Cauliflower Rice Kimchi Bowls
This grain-free grain bowl is one of my favorite recipes to make when I’m in need of a healthy reset. With a base of cauliflower rice, it’s super light and nourishing. Still, sriracha baked tofu, kimchi, and a creamy coconut sauce pack it with bold flavor.
Peanut Noodle Kale Bowls, page 147 of The Love & Lemons Cookbook
This recipe = peanut sauce + noodles + a whole bunch of greens. What’s not to love?!
Macro Veggie Bowl
Double the sauce when you make this recipe. It’s a bright, brilliant turmeric tahini sauce, and it’s so flavorful that you’re going to want to drizzle it over everything!
Kale Pesto Mushroom Pistachio Bowls
Here’s another recipe where I use kale two ways. I add massaged kale to the base of the bowls and dollop a creamy kale pesto on top. See how green the pesto is? I make it with pistachios instead of pine nuts for extra-vivid color!
Pasta Kale Recipes
I love using leafy greens in all sorts of pasta dishes, and kale is no exception. It adds lovely color and texture to the recipes below
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
I can never resist adding green veggies to a classic pasta dish! Sautéed kale brightens this lemony take on spaghetti aglio e olio.
Kale & Sweet Potato Lasagna Roll-Ups, page 197 of Love & Lemons Every Day
Seriously, WHAT could be more fun than these cozy lasagna roll-ups?! Made with a creamy tofu and cashew ricotta, they’re completely vegan and dairy-free.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Kale
This elegant winter pasta is a breeze to make. Sauté the veggies, boil the pasta, and toss it all together with grated pecorino cheese on top.
Best Vegetarian Lasagna
My favorite healthy comfort food! Packed with roasted veggies and fresh kale, this lasagna is my ideal dinner on a cold winter night.
Sweet Potato Noodles with Garlic and Kale
Is it pasta? Not really. Is it delicious? Yes! This recipe would work equally well with spiralized butternut squash instead of sweet potato.
Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas and Kale
I shared this spaghetti squash “pasta” over 6 year ago now, and to this day, it’s one of the most popular recipes on Love & Lemons. Savory sun-dried tomatoes, chickpeas, and kale transform the roasted squash into a flavorful main dish.
10 Health Benefits of Kale
Of all the super healthy greens, kale is king.
It is definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods in existence.
Kale is loaded with all sorts of beneficial compounds, some of which have powerful medicinal properties.
Here are 10 health benefits of kale that are supported by science.
Kale is a popular vegetable and a member of the cabbage family.
It is a cruciferous vegetable like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprouts.
There are many different types of kale. The leaves can be green or purple, and have either a smooth or curly shape.
The most common type of kale is called curly kale or Scots kale, which has green and curly leaves and a hard, fibrous stem.
A single cup of raw kale (about 67 grams or 2.4 ounces) contains :
- Vitamin A: 206% of the DV (from beta-carotene)
- Vitamin K: 684% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
- Manganese: 26% of the DV
- Calcium: 9% of the DV
- Copper: 10% of the DV
- Potassium: 9% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
- It also contains 3% or more of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron and phosphorus
This is coming with a total of 33 calories, 6 grams of carbs (2 of which are fiber) and 3 grams of protein.
Kale contains very little fat, but a large portion of the fat in it is an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic-acid.
Given its incredibly low calorie content, kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet.
Kale is very high in nutrients and very low in calories, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.
Kale, like other leafy greens, is very high in antioxidants.
These include beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as various flavonoids and polyphenols .
Antioxidants are substances that help counteract oxidative damage by free radicals in the body.
Oxidative damage is believed to be among the leading drivers of aging and many diseases, including cancer.
But many substances that happen to be antioxidants also have other important functions.
This includes the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which are found in relatively large amounts in kale .
These substances have been studied thoroughly in test tubes and animals.
They have powerful heart-protective, blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-depressant and anti-cancer effects, to name a few .
Many powerful antioxidants are found in kale, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have numerous beneficial effects on health.
Vitamin C is an important water-soluble antioxidant that serves many vital functions in the body’s cells.
For example, it is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, the most abundant structural protein in the body.
Kale is much higher in vitamin C than most other vegetables, containing about 4.5 times much as spinach .
The truth is, kale is actually one of the world’s best sources of vitamin C. A cup of raw kale contains even more vitamin C than a whole orange .
Kale is extremely high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that has many important roles in the body. A single cup of raw kale actually contains more vitamin C than an orange.
Cholesterol has many important functions in the body.
For instance, it is used to make bile acids, which is are substances that help the body digest fats.
The liver turns cholesterol into bile acids, which are then released into the digestive system whenever you eat a fatty meal.
When all the fat has been absorbed and the bile acids have served their purpose, they are reabsorbed into the bloodstream and used again.
Substances called bile acid sequestrants can bind bile acids in the digestive system and prevent them from being reabsorbed. This reduces the total amount of cholesterol in the body.
Kale actually contains bile acid sequestrants, which can lower cholesterol levels. This might lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over time .
One study found that drinking kale juice every day for 12 weeks increased HDL (the “good”) cholesterol by 27% and lowered LDL levels by 10%, while also improving antioxidant status.
According to one study, steaming kale dramatically increases the bile acid binding effect. Steamed kale is actually 43% as potent as cholestyramine, a cholesterol-lowering drug that functions in a similar way .
Kale contains substances that bind bile acids and lower cholesterol levels in the body. Steamed kale is particularly effective.
Vitamin K is an important nutrient.
It is absolutely critical for blood clotting, and does this by “activating” certain proteins and giving them the ability to bind calcium.
The well-known anticoagulant drug Warfarin actually works by blocking the function of this vitamin.
Kale is one of the world’s best sources of vitamin K, with a single raw cup containing almost 7 times the recommended daily amount.
The form of vitamin K in kale is K1, which is different than vitamin K2. K2 is found in fermented soy foods and certain animal products. It helps prevent heart disease and osteoporosis .
Vitamin K is an important nutrient that is involved in blood clotting. A single cup of kale contains 7 times the RDA for vitamin K.
Cancer is a terrible disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells.
Kale is actually loaded with compounds that are believed to have protective effects against cancer.
One of these is sulforaphane, a substance that has been shown to help fight the formation of cancer at the molecular level .
It also contains a indole-3-carbinol, another substance that is believed to help prevent cancer.
Studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables (including kale) may significantly lower the risk of several cancers, although the evidence in humans is mixed .
Kale contains substances that have been shown to help fight cancer in test-tube and animal studies, but the human evidence is mixed.
Kale is often claimed to be high in vitamin A, but this is not entirely accurate.
It is actually high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body can turn into vitamin A
For this reason, kale can be an effective way to increase your body’s levels of this very important vitamin .
Kale is very high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body can turn into vitamin A.
Kale is high in minerals, some of which many people are deficient in.
It is a good plant-based source of calcium, a nutrient that is very important for bone health and plays a role in all sorts of cellular functions.
It is also a decent source of magnesium, an incredibly important mineral that most people don’t get enough of. Eating plenty of magnesium may be protective against type 2 diabetes and heart disease .
Kale also contains quite a bit of potassium, a mineral that helps maintain electrical gradients in the body’s cells. Adequate potassium intake has been linked to reduced blood pressure and a lower risk of heart disease .
One advantage that kale has over leafy greens like spinach is that it is low in oxalate, a substance found in some plants that can prevent minerals from being absorbed.
Many important minerals are found in kale, some of which are generally lacking in the modern diet. These include calcium, potassium and magnesium.
One of the most common consequences of aging is that eyesight gets worse.
Fortunately, there are several nutrients in the diet that can help prevent this from happening.
Two of the main ones are lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid antioxidants that are found in large amounts in kale and some other foods.
Kale is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that have been linked to a drastically reduced risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Kale has several properties that make it a weight loss friendly food.
It is very low in calories but still provides significant bulk that should help you feel full.
Kale also contains small amounts of protein and fiber. These are two of the most important nutrients when it comes to losing weight.
Although there is no study directly testing the effects of kale on weight loss, it makes sense that it could be a useful addition to a weight loss diet.
As a nutrient-dense, low-calorie food, kale makes an excellent addition to a weight loss diet.
Fortunately, adding kale to your diet is relatively simple. You can simply add it to your salads or use it in recipes.
A popular snack is kale chips, where you drizzle some extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil on your kale, add some salt and then bake in it an oven until dry.
It tastes absolutely delicious and makes a great crunchy, super healthy snack.
A lot of people also add kale to their smoothies in order to boost the nutritional value.
At the end of the day, kale is definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet.
If you want to dramatically boost the amount of nutrients you take in, consider loading up on kale.