Kale Eight Ways

Everyone knows that kale is a superfood, but the question is, are you eating your kale?  I decided to make a recipe round up of my favourite kale recipes, which are easy to make and delicious.  I hope you love them as much as we do!

I absolutely love kale in general.  A nutrient powerhouse, one cup of kale has zero fat and only 36 calories and is high in vitamins and cancer-fighting antioxidants.  Any time you see a dark green such as kale, it is a sign that it is highly concentrated with nutrients.
Here are just some of its wholesome features:

  • Super rich in vitamin K (which translates into a super antioxidant!)
  • High in fiber (assists in gut health)
  • High in iron (per calorie, more iron than beef)
  • High in vitamin A (great skin, yes please)
  • High in vitamin C (great for your immune system)
  • High in calcium (per calorie, more calcium than milk!)

I’d love to know, what is your favourite way of preparing kale?

Kale Eight Ways

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Penne with Kale + Sautéed Vegetables

2. Cheesy Kale Chips 

3. Lemony Lentil + Kale Rice Bowl

4. Scrambled Tofu + Kale Breakfast Burritos 

5. Creamy Kale Salad 

6. Maple Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Rice Bowl

7. Black Bean + Kale Soup 

8. Crispy Kale Rice Bowl with Spicy Peanut Sauce 

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Maple Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Rice Bowl

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Although we are nearing the holidays and I’d normally be dreaming up all kinds of chocolatey desserts, I have decided to take control of my sugar cravings and nip them in the butt before Christmas rolls in and the indulgences would start.  It really is unbelievable how little time it takes to kick the sugar habit, usually within 2-3 days I no longer crave it.  On this day though, I was trying to stick to my goal, but I wanted a little something sweet.  I decided rather than caving, I’d smother some squash in maple syrup and not beat myself up over it!  My husband said it was the best way he’s ever had butternut squash. I’d love to know what you think!

This meal went over well with my preschooler.  I’m always trying to sneak kale into his meals, and if you’re curious, I find the easiest most enjoyable way is to add it into soups.  That’s another blog post, though.  Back to the rice bowl.

The only pain in the butt about preparing this meal is peeling the squash.  I find the quickest way to do it is by cutting off the stem and bottom of squash, slicing the squash in half then placing it so a flat end is on the cutting board.  Then, using a vegetable peeler, peel in a downward motion.  Perhaps a tutorial would be helpful!  The rest of the process is very simple and fairly quick.

I also want to remind you all that there are five days left to enter my holiday giveaway.  Here is the link if you haven’t checked it out yet.  If you want your Vegan Bible, then I encourage you to enter!

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Maple Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Rice Bowl

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/4 cup cashews, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup brown rice (I used a mix of brown/wild rice)

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Directions:

  • Boil rice according to packaging directions.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Place the cubed squash in a large bowl.  Add maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and cayenne.  Using your hands or a silicone spatula, mix all the ingredients making sure the squash is well covered in the maple syrup and seasoning.
  • Spread out the cubes on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until fork tender.  Turn on the broiler and place baking sheet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to really caramelize the squash.  Careful not to burn them!  Lower the heat back to 425°F and toast your cashews for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Steam your kale and top with onion flakes.
  • To assemble, scoop rice into bowl, top with kale, squash and toasted cashews.
  • Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Steaks With Mushroom Gravy

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This is one of the most satisfying vegan meals we make.  It’s a great option for non-veg friends as well.  We are always left very happily full.  I’ve been craving these for days, but at $3.99 per head of cauliflower, it was hard to justify.  Finally, I found some a little cheaper today.  These ‘steaks’ can be served on their own, but they jump very high on the taste scale when you top them with mushroom gravy.  You can find my recipe for the gravy here.

As for the rest of the meal, I steamed kale and topped it with onion flakes and some sriracha sauce.  This has been my go-to way of having a quick kale dish, and it’s all thanks to Lindsay from Happy Herbivore who posted a picture of her bowl of kale on Instagram about a month ago.  It’s to die for, you must try it!

Tonight was the first time I used my new 430EX II Speedlite Flash, which was a necessity for me since the sun has been setting before I even get home from work!  I am really satisfied with its results, and having a lot of fun shooting with it.  I’m sure you all know the result of a photo taken without natural sunlight (see last post 🙂 ), and this flash is a fabulous substitute for natural light.  There’s still so much to learn, but in the meanwhile, I think it’s hard to tell whether my photos were taken in the day or evening.  I highly recommend it if you are in the market for an external flash!

Back to the food…

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Cauliflower Steaks Recipe

Makes 2-3 ‘steaks’

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and leave the core intact.
  • Starting in the center, cut the cauliflower horizontally into 3/4″ thick steaks.  You should be able to get 3 intact steaks.  As for the rest of the cauliflower florets, we’ll roast these as well.
  • Season the cauliflower steaks with salt and pepper.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add the steaks and sear on each side for about 3 minutes.
  • Drizzle remaining oil onto a baking sheet.  Transfer the steaks to the baking sheet and place the florets on the sheet as well.
  • Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, and top the steaks with mushroom gravy.
  • Serve the florets as a side, or save for another day!
  • Enjoy!

Cauliflower Steaks

Black Bean + Kale Soup

It doesn’t get much simpler, or healthier for that matter, than this veggie loaded soup.  It’s one of those soups that I (pretty much) guarantee you have all the ingredients for in your pantry and fridge.  My little guy also loved it, although I did have to pull out the kale from his bowl.  The only way he eats kale (for now) is when I make him chips.  I saw a recent poll on facebook where we were asked if we truly like kale or do we feel it’s just a fad?  I personally love it, it’s so versatile, tasty, and you can’t deny the health benefits.  It is also fantastic in this soup alongside the plump black beans.

Black Bean + Kale Soup Recipe

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans organic black beans
  • 1/2 a bunch kale, washed, stems removed and discarded, and torn into pieces
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium sized onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
  • fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • dash of tabasco sauce (optional)

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Directions:

  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.   Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add onion, carrot, celery, jalapeño, and cook for 10 minutes.  The carrot should be slightly softened now.
  • Add vegetable stock, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium-low, add kale, and let simmer for approx. 20 minutes, or until carrots and celery are tender.
  • Taste; add more salt if necessary.
  • Serve in bowls and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and tabasco (optional).

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Creamy Kale Salad

My thoughts on salad are they can get boring and repetitive.  One of the easiest ways to jazz up even the simplest salad is with a variety in homemade salad dressings.  I think every single person I know has the basic dressing recipe under their sleeve; olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, garlic, lemon, sea salt and pepper (bonus, extra recipe if you don’t know that one!) and I use it so often, so I had to start getting creative so I can still be excited by salad.  This creamy dressing is not made by traditional creamy ingredients, ie mayo, cream, milk, etc.  Rather, the star of the show in this recipe is tahini!  Tahini is a sesame seed paste which is common in Middle Eastern cuisine, but because of its nutrient content (and yumminess) it has become quite popular and available in almost all grocery stores.  My husband said this is his favourite kale salad by far!  This is a big statement, coming from an omnivore!
Here it is…

Creamy Kale Salad

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale (approx. 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup seeds or nuts, I used sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • juice of 1 and 1/2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or other natural sweetener
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • In a small saucepan, add quinoa, garlic powder, a pinch of sea salt, pepper and 1 1/2 cups water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat to low and let simmer for approximately 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Wash and remove stems from kale.  In a food processor, add kale, but do this in sections, about 4 in total so you can pay attention not to completely shred the kale too small.
  • Pulse kale into small sized pieces.

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  • In a small bowl, add tahini, 1/4 cup water, lemon juice, agave nectar, garlic, and a pinch of sea salt.  Mix well using a fork.
  • In a large bowl, add kale, quinoa, raisins, sunflower seeds, and top with the tahini dressing.

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  • Toss to combine.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Creamy Kale Salad

Penne with Kale + Sautéed Vegetables

This recipe was created from a love for kale and the appreciation of simple weeknight meals.  It can be easily vegan-ized, by skipping the fresh parmesan cheese.  I would also recommend opting for kamut or spelt pasta noodles, but in a bind and an effort not to waste, we used what we had which was traditional penne.

Penne with Kale + Sautéed Vegetables Recipe

Penne with Kale and Sauteed Vegetables

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 package penne noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1 bunch kale, coarse stems removed, leaves sliced or simply torn into pieces
  • 1 sweet red pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 cups porcini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Sauteed Red Pepper and Mushrooms

Penne with Kale and Sauteed Vegetables

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, add kale and boil for two minutes.  Remove kale using tongs so you can use reserved water to boil your pasta.  
  • Place kale in a bowl of cold water and let it blanch (retain dark green colour and tenderize the kale) as you prepare the rest of the dish.
  • Cook pasta noodles in the reserved water according to the packaging instructions.  Drain and set aside.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil.
  • Add garlic and sauté until barely starting to turn golden and fragrant.
  • Add mushrooms, red peppers, chili flakes and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Keep sautéing until red pepper has softened and mushrooms are a delicious darker brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Combine the cooked pasta, drained kale, and vegetables in the pot you used to cook the pasta and kale.  Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to combine.
  • Serve and garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional).

Penne with Kale and Sauteed Vegetables

Mighty Green Juice

Happy Easter folks!

In my home, we have been up since the crack of dawn with a very excited preschooler hunting for treasures left by the Easter Bunny.
I know we will all be indulging in some goodies, so what better day than today to start it off with my Mighty Green Juice.

Super easy to do and the health benefits are soaring!  I love to add lemons to my fresh juices, as they are amazing at eliminating the bitter taste of the dark leafy green vegetables that provide most of the benefits of juicing.  One benefit of juicing compared to eating the vegetable or fruit whole is that your body can absorb the nutrients better by letting the juicer do some of the hard digesting work that would be necessary in eating whole food.  Not to mention, the cancer-fighting and antioxidant benefits.

Mighty Green Juice Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 apples, sliced in half (I used Gala, you can use whatever you like, Granny Smith would work perfectly!)

Apple Kale Lemon Juicing

Directions:

  • Wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly, as you will be juicing them skin and all.
  • Place all ingredients one by one into your juicer.  I use a Big Mouth Hamilton Beach Juicer, you might have something better!
  • Let all the goodness pour into your glass, and enjoy!

Apple Kale Lemon Green Juice