Kale is venerated by celebs by Gwyneth Paltrow as a ‘diet superfood’, but how good for you is it and what do you actually do with it? We take a closer look at the hot new veg on the block.
One of the few veggies that can grow in the UK all year round, and a key ingredient of the traditional Irish dish, colcannon, curly kale has recently surged in popularity. Here, we share some nutritional benefits and facts about this versatile brassica…
- It’s low in calories – one cup (100g) of chopped curly kale contains around 33 calories.
- It contains flavonoids, antioxidants which may have anti-cancer health benefits. It’s also rich in the caroteinoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote eye health.
- Kale is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6 and calcium.
- It’s also a good source of dietary fibre – which is good for the digestive system.
- Kale is also high in vitamin K, which lowers the risk of abnormal blood clotting and helps maintain healthy bones. Just be wary if you’re taking anticoagulants such as warfarin, as too much vitamin K can interfere with these drugs – so if you’re taking them, speak to your doctor before adding kale to your diet.
Three ways to cook with kale
1. Savoury side dish
Kale makes an excellent accompaniment to fish and chicken dishes. Simply steam it over a pan of boiling water for five minutes, until it starts to wilt. Then add lemon juice, garlic and pepper to taste.
2. Kale, tomato and bean soup
Soften an onion, a leek and a bulb of garlic in a pan with 2 tbsp stock made from LighterLife Savoury Broth. Then add a tin of tomatoes, 1 tbsp tomato purée and 1 litre (2 pints) of stock made from LighterLife Savoury Broth. Stir, then simmer for 30 minutes. Then add a generous handful of kale and 1 x 400g (14oz) tin of borlotti beans. Simmer for a further 20 minutes and then serve.
3. Kale frittata
For a healthy lunch or a quick supper for four, preheat your oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. In a large bowl, whisk 6 large eggs, 2 tbsp quark, 1 tbsp chopped oregano and pepper to taste, then set aside. Heat an ovenproof non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add two large handfuls of kale and eight halved cherry tomatoes, and cook for three minutes until hot. Add the egg mixture and swirl to distribute around the pan. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until set. Cut into wedges and serve with salad.
For more low calorie recipe ideas from LighterLife, click here.