Kale: A Leafy Green Vegetable’s Long March from Rabbit Food to Superfood!

Yes, of course, the title is a little much, but we’re on the eve of the Academy Awards so everything has to be at least a little dramatic. But, in all seriousness, I remember talking about kale at dinner with my wife’s (that is, Chef Denise’s) food-obsessed family more than a decade ago, and one of Denise’s cousins saying the only thing she’d ever used kale for was to feed her rabbits. Other people at the table came to kale’s defense, of course, and it seems like only 10 years later the rest of America—or at least California—got in step as well.

I think kale has gone mainstream for two major reasons: It is a superfood, and it is far tastier than most people who haven’t tried it assume. On the superfood front, kale is one of the rare foods that score a perfect 1,000 on the ANDI scale (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index). The leafy green is chock-a-block full of Vitamins A and C, a good source of Vitamins B and K, and also offers lots of important minerals.

On the taste front, people who try kale that is prepared properly quickly dismiss prior concerns about how bitter the taste or tough the texture might be. The key to enjoying kale raw is to first cut it into small pieces and then marinate it for a short time in a dressing. Cooking kale softens its texture and opens up a world of possible flavor combinations that can span the taste spectrum. Great tasting and great for you—now that’s a combination everyone can enjoy!

 

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