Charge Up for Good Health

Everyday Superfoods: 4 Succulent Kale Recipes You Need to Try

It''s true: Kale can taste delicious and it''s good for you. Just take a peek at these succulent pho...

The “Everyday Superfoods” series shows you how to use healthy, easy-to-find ingredients to make simple dishes full of nutrients and flavor. Check out the last article in the series about beans.

Kale can taste delicious -- yes, it’s true! To prove it, I’ve created some simple recipes that come together in minutes. Why should you try it? You’ve probably heard that kale is incredibly good for you: Not only is it full of calcium (essential for strong bones and teeth), but the calcium in kale is actually easier for your body to absorb than the calcium in dairy products.

Kale also contains beta carotene and other nutrients that help prevent UV rays from damaging your eyes and causing cataracts. It has many other benefits as well. And it tastes so good that your family won’t even know that it’s good for them. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and try this month’s everyday superfood, kale.

Kale Tortellini Pesto
This is an innovative version of pesto that will soon become a favorite. With more vitamins, calcium and antioxidants than its original basil-only counterpart, this sauce adds a big dose of healthy nutrients to dishes. You can also use it on pasta, vegetables, pizzas or any recipe that calls for regular pesto. Store any unused pesto in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for one month.

Makes 1 ½ cups

8 ounces chopped fresh kale leaves, stems removed
2 cups fresh basil leaves
¼ cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup grated Asiago cheese
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 teaspoons agave syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound fresh cheese tortellini or your favorite pasta


1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the kale, basil and garlic. Process on high until finely chopped, about a minute. Slowly, in a thin stream, add the olive oil. When well blended, add the cheeses and agave. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain in a colander and toss with ½ cup pesto or according to taste.

Kale Slaw
Sometimes raw kale can be slightly tough in texture. But salting it and then squeezing out the moisture actually helps tenderize it. Want to make the dish even easier to prepare? Substitute pre-packaged broccoli slaw you can find in your supermarket’s produce aisle for the carrot and zucchini to create a vitamin-packed alternative.


Serves 4-6

3 cups shredded fresh kale leaves (see video for how to prepare)
Kosher salt
1 large carrot, julienned
1 small zucchini, julienned
½ small Granny Smith apple, cored and julienned (tossed in the juice of ½ lemon to keep apple from discoloring)
¼ cup light mayonnaise
¼ cup Greek-style yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon agave syrup (optional)
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Place kale in a colander and rinse under cold water. Squeeze out excess water with your hands. Season generously with kosher salt and allow kale to sit in the colander for 20 minutes. Rinse kale again thoroughly under cold water and drain. Squeeze out excess water using your hands or a salad spinner.

2. In a large bowl, add the carrot, zucchini and apple. When kale is ready, add it too and toss.

3. In a separate small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, garlic, agave syrup and lemon juice. Blend well and add to kale. Toss well to coat and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Kale, Portobello and Potato Saute
Served alone or as a hearty side dish, this wonderful saute packs in tons of flavor. Try using the prepackaged kale you can now find easily in your grocer’s produce section for ease of preparation.


Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ pound Portobello mushrooms, cut in ¼-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
10 ounces chopped fresh kale leaves
½ cup vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. In a large saute pan, add 2 tablespoons each vegetable oil and olive oil over high heat. When hot, add potatoes, tossing to coat with oil. Cook five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender. Remove from heat and transfer cooked potatoes to a bowl. Reserve.

2. Return the saute pan to high heat. Add remaining tablespoons vegetable oil and olive oil. When hot, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring three to five minutes, or until onion is soft and golden brown.

3. Add mushrooms and cook one to two minutes. Then add capers, hot pepper flakes, kale and vegetable broth. Cook, tossing frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes until kale is softened and tender. Return cooked potatoes to the pan and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Turkey, Kale and Vegetable Meatloaf
This twist on meatloaf is brimming with fiber, calcium and antioxidants. It’s also one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day and is very easy to reheat in the microwave.


Serves 4-6

1 pound ground turkey
2 cups chopped kale
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
½ large onion, finely minced
2 large carrots, diced, cooked till tender and drained well
½ cup seasoned dry Italian breadcrumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons organic ketchup
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1½ cups prepared tomato sauce, optional


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 10-inch loaf pan by spraying bottom and sides with vegetable cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add chopped kale and cook one to two minutes, or until tender. Drain kale in colander and immediately rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain again. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible using your hands. Reserve.

3. In a large bowl, combine the chopped blanched kale, turkey, garlic, onion, carrots, breadcrumbs, eggs, thyme and ¼ cup ketchup, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands until very well combined.

4. Pack mixture into loaf pan and spread remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup over surface. Bake one hour, or until an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 180 F.

5. Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before unmolding. Turn out onto cutting board and cut into thick slices. Serve over heated tomato sauce, if desired.

Need some help getting started? Here, step-by-step directions for how to prepare kale:



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