I have been a lover of kale for years, thanks to a good friend, who used to swear by kale juice and also loved it enough to serve it at every dinner party. It’s sort of a richer, sturdier and tastier version of spinach that holds up better in heartier dishes. However, kale isn’t actually a green at all. It belongs to the Brassica family along with some of my other veggie favorites like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens and broccoli.
If you have never had kale, it’s definitely worth a try because its health benefits are over the top. One cup of kale contains 200% of your daily vitamin C, 180% of your vitamin A, and a whopping 1020% (yes, you read that right) of vitamin K. It’s also just about as close as you can get to a calorie free food. If that’s not enough, it has also been linked to lower cholesterol levels and heart disease prevention due to its high fiber content. It’s no wonder it shined as last year’s ultimate super food of the moment.
Winter is the perfect time to substitute kale for your veggie needs since it thrives in cool climates when greens are harder to find. If you are lucky you might even find a purple or red variety of kale. Pick the right bunch by feeling for a firm plant when shopping. You can add kale to almost any stew, soup, salad, casserole or even a stir fry as its nutty mild flavor complements rather than takes over any dish. You can even top your pizza with it or make kale chips or (my first recommendation) try this amazing soup made in the Aroma Rice Cooker for another delicious meal in under 30 minutes.
KALE AND GARBANZO BEAN SOUP
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into slices
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup fresh green beans, halved
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 cup fresh kale, chopped and stems removed
2 tbls olive oil
Salt and pepper
Parmesan and croutons, optional
Add the vegetable broth and tomato sauce and bring to a simmer with the lid open.
Add green beans, kale and garbanzo beans and more salt and pepper if needed. Cook for 5 minutes and serve.
Shave fresh Parmesan on top and add a few croutons for garnish if desired. Enjoy!