I am not sure how kale got to be Queen of the Greens. Don’t get me wrong– I like kale. (I also understand that to say otherwise would probably get me thrown in food lovers’ dungeon where they serve nothing but McDonalds and reheated coffee. But I am not just saying it to avoid food purgatory.)
I’ve actually never met a green I didn’t like. They are all different– and interchangeable in many recipes. Some, like mustard, turnip, chicory, escarole, dandelion and broccoli rabe are gutsy and ribald, while others, like Queen Kale, collard, swiss chard, beet greens and spinach are milder.
We all know greens are packed with nutrients. I have listed some of the most concentrated ones, and what part of our health, according to generally accepted current research, they support. Here it goes: Vitamin A for eye and bone health, Vitamin K for blood clotting and bone health, Vitamin C for great skin and immunities, manganese for bone health and wound healing, potassium to support healthy blood pressure, and Vitamin E to bolster immune system and slow the effects of aging (and about 90% of us don’t get enough Vitamin E, which research shows may not be effective when taken in supplement form).
That is an exhaustive list of health claims– there aren’t many foods that can live up to it. So, like your mother told you: eat your greens.
And long live Queen Kale.
Kale with Chickpeas and Pine Nuts
I’ll eat this for lunch or as a side dish for dinner. I especially like it leftover–right out of the container– for the next three days.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 16-ounce bag pre-washed kale (10 cups torn)
2 tablespoons balsamic, divided
1 pint grape cherry tomatoes
1 15.5-ounce can low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the kale in batches and 1 tablespoon of the balsamic, tossing frequently, until all the kale is wilted and brightly colored, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of balsamic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook until the tomatoes just begin to split, about another 8-10 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts and remove from heat.
Makes 8 side-dish servings
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 161 calories, 5 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 207 mg sodium