what’s up with kale

kale - vegetable - nutrition

It’s that dark leafy green that’s taking over produce aisles, giving the potato a run for its money (as far as chips go) and is turning fruit smoothies green with the promise of a disguised dose of nutrients. Fort Worth keyleader, Cami Hamann, tells us what’s up with kale.

reap the benefits of kale

Momma’s right (but isn’t she always?). Vegetables are jam packed with various vitamins and nutrients and kale is no exception. The dark green has an abundance of antioxidants that help fight off cancer-causing free radicals and can also aid in lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation.

nutritional value
One cup (130g) of kale contains:

  • over 1000% of your daily-recommended value of Vitamin K
    (supporting bone growth and regulating blood clotting)
  • over 350% of your daily value of Vitamin A
    (helps vision, growth, bone formation, tissue repair and red blood cell production)
  • 5g of fibre
    (like yoga, fibre helps the digestive system function and detoxify the body)
  • 35 calories 

a kale massage

give it a good rub
Ever wondered why your kale never tastes quite the same as the one from the Whole Foods salad bar? It’s probably because you weren’t making it with love. Kale is a tough green and requires a little extra TLC. Massaging it softens the leaves making them tastier, and easier to eat and digest. To give them a proper rub down:

  • remove the leaves from the thick middle stem
  • wash and dry the leaves
  • tear leaves into bite size pieces
  • toss the leaves in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and salt
  • get your hands in there and go for it. You’ll notice the kale turn from a muted colour to a lively green and that’s your indication that it’s ready (and relaxed). *roughly five minutes

kale recipes

kale - kale chips
source: eat raw vegan

kale chips

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • ¼tsp salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.  Remove kale leaves from the middle stem and tear leaves into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry the leaves.  In a mixing bowl toss the leaves with the olive oil and salt.  Lay the kale out on baking sheets and bake until the chips get crispy, careful not to let them burn (about 10-15 minutes.)

*Ed. Note: I learned the hard way that although kale chips are very delicious (and nutritious), they don’t make for a great road trip snack as they can become quite stinky in confined spaces.

mediterranean kale salad

  • 1 cup dry quinoa (quinoa is the only whole grain that is a complete protein)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1.5 – 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 1.5 – 2 cups chopped cucumber
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives (about 20)
  • fresh mint, parsley and chopped garlic (to taste)
  • lemon juice (to taste)
  • 3tbsp olive oil

Directions: Prepare 1 cup of quinoa as directed and toss with the juice of 1/2 a lemon.  Add chopped mint, parsley and garlic to taste creating a tabouli flavor. Chop and massage the kale and add to your quinoa mixture with additional lemon juice and 3tbsp of olive oil. Toss the salad until the leaves are coated. Add the chopped tomato, cucumber and Kalamata olives. Enjoy! Serves 4.

green kale smoothie

  • 2-3 leaves of kale
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup water or unsweetened almond milk
  • ice (optional)
  • stevia or 1tsp maple syrup (optional)

Directions: Combine ingredients in a blender and blend well.
*Get creative by sneaking kale into your favourite smoothie recipes. Kale has a strong earthy flavor so just be sure to use a banana to disguise its presence.

Kale is a great January green since it reaches its peak in the middle of winter (when quality greens are often lacking). Do you embrace the strong kale flavour or are you hard at work camouflaging it? How do you incorporate this super-food into your diet?

read more related posts:


Yummy! I remember you and Sam cooking dinner for us and the kale was amazing. Dad and I are getting so much better with the veggies in the house (thanks to you!!). Can’t wait to start making kale a staple in our household. Thanks for the reminder to get “kale” in our life!! Great info here, Cam!

Comment by Mom — January 19, 2012 @ 9:29 am

Thanks for posting this ode to one of my favourite things to eat!

I recently made this salad (http://www.eatingbirdfood.com/2011/02/garlicky-kale/) and it’s very similar to the Whole Foods salad bar. Public service announcement: it’s really garlicky so watch out if you’re not into that.

Comment by Alana — January 19, 2012 @ 10:51 am

Another great trick is to massage with avocado and lemon juice. yum.

Comment by Vanessa Pratt — January 19, 2012 @ 11:20 am

I just had kale chips last night prior to going to yoga. I could taste kale on my mouth when doing pranayama breathing.

Comment by worksy — January 19, 2012 @ 11:21 am

I LOVE kale! I recently made this barley stew with leeks, carrots, and kale – it’s really delicious (and healthy!). http://www.bakebreak.com/2012/01/barley-stew-with-leeks-carrots-and-greens/

Comment by Mary @ Bake Break — January 19, 2012 @ 11:22 am

Can’t wait to try out some of those – I love kale! My aunt made the most delicious kale salad this Christmas and it was a hit with my family. Then I made the salad for my friends for a New Year’s party and it was also a hit. Bottom line is that this salad has gone viral and is all superfoods so I thought I’d add it here.

The greens:
-2 bunches Kale, washed and cut into small pieces
-Brussel sprouts (as many as your heart desires), keep them raw and shred them into very small pieces.

The fixins:
-1/2 cup raw almonds, coarsley chopped. Toast them in the oven with a dusting of salt and olive oil then toss them into the salad.

The dressin:
1/2 cup olive oil
1-3 cloves garlic (you’re preference), finely grated or minced
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt/pepper

Toss it up and ENJOY. Kale and brussel sprouts are so hearty that this salad lasts a week in the fridge for repeated lunches :)

Comment by Jen — January 19, 2012 @ 11:49 am

the salad sounds delicious! I add kale to homemade chicken soup made with udon noodles, sesame oil, garlic, little bit of soy sauce, lots of rooster sauce, carrots, celery and whatever veg are in the fridge. you can change it up and throw cilantro in to make it have a vietnamese kick also, yum:)

Comment by amber — January 19, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

Thanks for the reminder on kale. We can’t get enough of it in my house. My 5 and 7 year olds love it. They believe leafy greens help them grow. I make a pasta with kale, tomatoes, red onions, and ground almonds. They devour it. Esalen, in Big Sur, has the best kale salad I’ve ever had. Here’s their recipe:

Comment by Rachel Acheson — January 19, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

Every time I offer someone a kale smoothie, the first thing they do is smell it. Banana is great for that—I’ve noticed that every time I add one, the end result always smells of banana. Not intimidating at all!

Comment by Naadia — January 19, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

Great recipes! I make kale chips a lot & frequently burn them. I’ve seen recipes where people use food dehydrators. Also, definitely don’t store them in a plastic bag. They will get soggy :(

Comment by Grace Cheung — January 19, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

PS Whole Foods has a BABY Kale Mix and it is ridiculously delicious straight out of the container

Comment by Angela — January 19, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

I love all of the recipe ideas everyone has shared! I can’t wait to try them! So great to see all of you kale lovers out there :)

Comment by Cami — January 20, 2012 @ 7:50 am

just planted Kale in my arizona garden and plan on adding the baby leaves to salads…but DEFINITELY giving the kale chips a try soon!!!!! I was wondering the same thing btw. What’s up with Kale? ha, now I know. thx

Comment by Liana Tumino — January 21, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

Kale lovers unite and sign the petition to save “Eat More Kale” (http://eatmorekale.com/), the one-man t-shirt business run out of Vermont by Bo Muller-Moore. He’s being sued by the fast food giant CHICK-FIL-A, who claim that his “Eat More Kale” slogan infringes on their copyrighted slogan “”Eat Mor Chikin,” and confuses their customers, diluting their business. It’s clearly just a case of corporate bullying and Bo needs the help of kale lovers everywhere to sign the petition to save his business.

Sign the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/chick-fil-a-stop-bullying-small-business-owners

Comment by Danne — January 23, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

My family has been eating Kale for years. Our favorite is “Kale Soup” which is delicious way to warm up! Here’s the recipe:

10 cups of no salt added Chicken broth
16oz of crumbled spicy sausage
1 pint of sliced baby portobello mushrooms
16oz Kale
16oz spinach
1 cup diced onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup dried parsely

saute sausage, mushrooms and onions in large kettle until golden brown. Add everything else and allow to simmer for 2 hours. Top with garlic croutons if desired:)

Comment by Deborah — January 24, 2012 @ 3:07 am

Fof variety, I add one or more of the following to my kale chips:
1tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese

This is is addition to the olive oil and sea salt.
I bake them on parchment paper lined cookie sheets for easy cleanup.
I have had no issues storing them in plastic as long as they are completely crisp/dry.

Comment by Joanne — January 24, 2012 @ 4:39 am

LOVE the recipes AND kale of course.. green smoothies are incredible and almond milk is alway my go to for baking, coffee, cereal, smoothies, etc. Thank you lululemon!

Comment by Jessica — January 24, 2012 @ 5:11 am

As a born and raised Dutch gal I have been enjoying the deliciousness of Kale since I was a babe. Boerenkool is the word! Steam your kale, add boiled potatoes, sautéed onions, salt n pepper, mash it with some milk and done! Might not sound as exotic as the recipes here but to me it is THE winter comfort food. (and a reminder of home now that I live in north america) It is usually served with bacon or smoked sausage. Kale chips I’ve discovered recently are also delish!

Comment by Clara — January 24, 2012 @ 5:22 am

I just love kale!! I use it to make my very own vegetable soup (which is more like a thick vegetable smoothie). I cook together kale, spinach, Swiss chard, carrots, and broccoli and I blend the veggies once they are just cooked through (I use the cooking water to ease the blending process and to avoid losing precious vitamins). The carrots sweeten the soup while the kale and Swiss chard give it a nice earthy taste… Yummy!

I cannot wait to try the smoothie recipe, it sounds yummy as well!

Comment by Amelie — January 24, 2012 @ 5:30 am

I juice kale daily! Yesterday I made a juice with:

Giant handful kale
1 green Apple
2 small pears
3 carrots
1 grapefruit
4 stalks celery

I call this a garbage juice bc I threw in whatever I had. It turned out yummy!

Comment by suzie — January 24, 2012 @ 6:26 am

i make the kale chips ALL THE TIME – even my 9-yr old stepson likes them.

i’ve just picked up a couple of tricks over time that make them ALWAYS come out perfectly:
1. don’t salt them before baking them – this brings out moisture in the kale and will keep them from getting REALLY crispy.
2. put the baking sheet on the very bottom rack of the oven, as close to the heating element as possible.

i like to toss mine after cooking with brown rice vinegar and salt. yum!!

Comment by grechen — January 24, 2012 @ 6:36 am

Ive been eating kale since I was a wee child, In Dutch culture we mixed in dried kale with our potatoes (just another easy kale idea!). I would also like to add that kale is a high bio available source of calcium, and we all know what that’s good for :)

Comment by Lawrence A — January 24, 2012 @ 6:36 am

check out any portuguese recipe. Kale is a staple in the portuguese culture. So delicious & something that can be used so many ways. Check it out!!!! Kale soup is to die for & as a side veggie with fish & I can go on & on!!!!!!

Comment by Carolyn Resendes — January 24, 2012 @ 6:42 am

Such perfect timing! I just bought Kale last night and was planning on making chips but didn’t have the recipe. Thanks!

Comment by Nancy — January 24, 2012 @ 7:36 am

I sprinkle it with nutritional yeast and a bit of olive oil and roast it to make my kale chips. I have also done this and put it in my food dryer. I especially like the kale that I call dinosaur kale. You will know what I mean when you see it. It’s sometimes difficult to find. Whole Foods type stores carry it.

Comment by alleneski — January 24, 2012 @ 9:13 am

Raw Parmesan Kale Chips

1 or 2 bunches of Lacinato Kale (a.k.a. Dino Kale) You can also use Curly Kale, etc.
1 Tbsp. cold pressed olive oil
1/2 cup raw Parmesan (recipe below)

1.) De-stem kale, wash and put on paper towel and dry leaves.
2.) Cut each kale piece into 2 strips.
3.) Lay kale directly on dehydrator sheet or you can use parchment paper. Brush olive oil on each piece.
4.) Sprinkle with desired amount of raw Parmesan mixture to each piece.
5.) Dehydrate at 110 degrees. If using parchment paper, remove leaves after 2 hours an place directly on dehydrator tray. Dry an additional 8 hours. I have had them ready in 3 hours when placing them directly on the dehydrator tray. They are very forgiving-I have left them on my tray for 10 hours and they turned out perfect.
Raw Parmesan
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (Kal, nutritional yeast is fortified)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
(grind in small blender until fine)

Comment by alleneski — January 24, 2012 @ 9:17 am

Thanks for posting! Another great tip for Kale chips is to use coconut oil instead of olive oil. It gives it a bit of a sweet/salty flavour when you add the sea salt. Yummy!

Comment by Alisha — January 24, 2012 @ 9:42 am

This is awesome! Another great way to calm down the kale flavour in shakes is to add ginger. I’m allergic to bananas so it’s my go-to!

Comment by Michelle — January 24, 2012 @ 10:19 am

Massaging makes the difference! I love how versatile and hearty kale is – from being part of my morning smoothies to a great sauteed side dish in the evening. I have tons of kale-infused recipes on my site (just search for kale!). Thanks for the great post!

Comment by erin @WELL in L.A. — January 24, 2012 @ 11:18 am

Thanks for all the tips and tricks everyone! Some great recipe suggestions I’ll have to try!

Comment by allessia — January 24, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

Thanks for the recipes all. I have just recently been buying Kale after not eating it all as a child or young adult, and I am SO loving it. My kids are fans as well and what makes it even better is that I can actually find it in our local grocery store (here in North Idaho that is a big deal). So thanks again for the new ways to use it!

Comment by Melissa — January 24, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

Kale is so amazing! I have been eating it marinated overnight with a lemon ginger vinaigrette – it’s so good I can eat the whole batch in one sitting (no kidding!). Love that it is becoming so popular amongst foodies and health nuts alike! thanks for all the recipes: here is mine – http://inpursuitofmore.com/2012/01/22/recipe-marinated-kale/
That’s what’s up! Thanks!

Comment by Shira — January 30, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

I completely agree with you about the amazing nutritional benefits of kale. I’ve actually started putting together a website (www.growingkaleathome.com) that gives people more information about it so that they can see how remarkably healthy it is for you! Thanks for the recipes! I can’t wait to try making kale chips.

Comment by Shaun — May 17, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

The easiest tip I have for making kale chips is to use an organic olive oil spray. Much easier than trying to coat the kale in olive oil.

Comment by Leslie — October 12, 2012 @ 10:05 am

Cami! This is amazing!!!

I’m so proud of you accomplishing BIG things! Love you lady.

Ange (from Galleria)

Comment by Angela — January 17, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

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