The Veggie Table: Kale for St. Paddy’s Day

By: Janel Ovrut Funk

This month has me seeing green and not just because of St. Patrick's Day. I'm thinking dark leafy greens. Leafy greens are like the little black dress of produce -- they go with just about everything. Eat greens raw in a salad, stirred into a soup or sautéed for a side dish.

If you’re used to cooking cabbage for your St. Patrick’s Day meal, why not change up your repertoire by adding some kale in your cuisine? Loaded with powerful antioxidants, kale is actually a form of cabbage, too. It’s hearty enough to stand up in soups and stews, but I like simple presentations such as Kale Chips and Kale with Raisins and Pine Nuts.

Kale Chips

You'll gobble up these ight and crispy veggie chips in no time and not feel guilty.

Servings: 2
4 large curly kale leaves
Olive oil spray
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the kale leaves and cut them into two-inch pieces. Try to make the pieces all the same size or they will not cook at the same rate. Spray a baking sheet with oil and place the pieces of kale on it in a single layer. Spray lightly with oil, if desired, and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 7 minutes. Turn the chips over and bake for 3 to 7 more minutes, until crispy and edges just begin to brown. Cool and eat. For a spicy kick, sprinkle on chili powder and sea salt before baking.

Nutrition Info (per serving):

Calories: 20; Total Fat: 0.5 grams; Saturated Fat: 0 gram; Total Carbohydrate: 3 grams; Protein: 1 gram; Sodium: 135 milligrams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Fiber: 1 gram

Kale with Raisins and Pine Nuts

The plump raisins balance out the bitter bite of kale. The sweet and nutty combo of this side dish is sure to please.

Servings: 3
1/8 cup toasted pine nuts

1 large bunch of kale, about 3/4 pound, center stems removed, washed and cut

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup raisins
Salt and pepper, to taste

Toast pine nuts in a skillet until they brown and become fragrant.

Sautee the garlic in olive oil for a minute, then add kale while it's still slightly wet. Stir for a minute then cover with a tight-fitting lid. If water dries up, add a tablespoon at a time as needed.

Once kale is wilted, add raisins and pine nuts. Serve as a side dish or on top of whole-wheat pasta.

Nutrition Info (per serving):

Calories: 240; Total Fat: 12 grams; Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams; Total Carbohydrate: 34 grams; Protein: 5 grams; Sodium: 210 milligrams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Fiber: 6 grams

For more green recipes, check out my video, which include ideas for collard greens and bok choy.

Janel Ovrut, MS RD LDN, loves experimenting with vegetarian and vegan cooking. Read her food blog, Eat Well with Janel, and follow her on Twitter @DietitianJanel.
Catch up on her previous posts here.

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