Everything You Need to Know About Kale

Kale: the trendiest green to hit store shelves since colored denim. If you haven’t worked kale into your diet already, chances are your mom has, your friend has, or even your next-door neighbor. So what exactly is kale? Consider this your ultimate guide to getting trim and fit with kale, while keeping your wallet nice and fat.

Kale is a leafy green vegetable known for its exceptionally rich nutrients, significant health benefits, and tasty, fresh flavor. High in calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, eating kale on a regular basis can benefit your health in so many different ways. Kale can lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of getting heart disease and cancer—and even help prevent you from getting chronic diseases, like osteoporosis, in old age.

Kale may belong to the same family as cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, but you’re not about to push this  vegetable to the side of your dinner plate anytime soon. According to WebMD, one cup of kale only has 36 calories, but it contains up to 5 grams of fiber, 15% of your daily calcium needs, over one hundred percent of your vitamin A and C, and enough vitamin K to last you the week! Together, these combined nutrients help your body run smoothly and stay in tip top shape.

The nutritional value of kale, like any other green vegetable, depends on how it’s prepared. But, don’t worry, you don’t have to be a cooking guru to transform kale into a healthy, delicious and affordable meal. Just visit your local farmer’s market, and follow these few tips to get started!

1. Know the three different types of kale:  curly, ornamental, and dinosaur. Each one varies in texture, color, and flavor. Curly kale is the most bitter, ornamental has a mellower taste, and dinosaur kale has the sweetest flavor.

2. Look for kale that’s fresh, colorful, and bruise-free. Buy your kale just like you buy your lettuce, and rinse the leaves with water when you get home.

3. Shop for kale in season to find the cheapest prices. In the fall and winter, fresh Kale costs as little as 75 cents a bunch, or find it at your local Walmart for less than a dollar.

There are a ton of healthy ways to cook with kale! You can boil it in a saucepan, sauté it in a skillet, simmer it in a pot, or even bake it for a crunchy snack. Sound appetizing? Try this easy, fun recipe from RealSimple.com today!

Whole-Grain Spaghetti with Garlicky Kale and Tomatoes 

Ingredients

6 ounces whole-grain spaghetti

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

kosher salt and black pepper

1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)

2 pints grape tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup chopped roasted almonds

1/4 cup grated pecorino (1 ounce), plus more for serving

Directions

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the kale and cook, tossing frequently, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, tossing frequently, until the tomatoes begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes more.

3. Add the kale mixture, almonds, pecorino, and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve with additional pecorino.

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