Has the Kale Craze Passed?

an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities; a craze.
(source: google.com)

Over the last few years, the world of nutrition has seen a number of foodie fads, from quinoa to chia to kale.  While I am not always someone who runs to jump on the bandwagon for many of these trends, I thought after successfully conquering (and enjoying) quinoa and chia seeds, it seemed it was about time to explore kale.  It has been marketed as a versatile miracle veggie, claiming to pack a punch of antioxidants and iron, and something I have frequently received in my weekly CSA (and subsequently bartered away for other organic items like bok choy or dandelion greens)–I thought it was about time I got with the program and dabbled with the green miracle.

To dispel the notion that this vegetable may fall victim to the fad designation and for the skeptics out there…here are a few reasons to believe in this veggie:

1. Packed with powerful antioxidants – a few notable antioxidants to mention are carotenoids and flavonoids which many studies have shown protect against a variety of cancers;

2. Anti-inflammatory properties – if you’re not a big fan of fish, 1 cup of kale contains 10% of your daily omega-3 fatty acid requirements and many studies have found these fatty acids tackle conditions like arthritis and asthma;

3. High in Iron– I can now see why this green veggie is loved by those who aren’t too keen on beef – on a per calorie basis, kale contains more iron than beef.  This can be a great trade off for the moo-factor if you are prone to high cholesterol or at risk for type 2 diabetes;

4. Great Source of Vitamin C – as many are all too familiar during cold and flu season, vitamin C is beneficial to protecting your immune system, but can also benefit your metabolism and keep you hydrated;

5. Step aside Milk– kale is also a great source of calcium which benefits your bones and prevents osteoporosis.

The list of health benefits does in fact go on, but being human, these promises of improved and balanced health does not always motivate you to take the leap, so I set out to investigate several recipes, knowing that I may be more inclined to give it a try if it was mixed with other foods.

What I found over the last few days, is kale can be quite tasty in everything from soups to fritattas and even mac’n’cheese and after trying a few different applications, I wanted to share the findings, as kale was my feature produce to try in February–bringing it back to my New Years mission to put myself out there with produce I am not accustomed to using.

1. Adult Mac’n’Cheese Bites (as adapted from Eats Well with Others)–these were great bite-sized lunch treats after shoveling the first 6 inches of snow from this morning’s storm.  I added ground mustard and chili powder that i traditionally used in other baked macaroni and cheese dishes- it adds a little tang and depth of flavor.  There is something a little bit more grown up about this version of Mac’n’Cheese.



2. A Twist on Chicken Soup (adapted from Once a Month Mom) — this was a popular recipe in our house last week, while we were battling the flu and something we stocked up on in the freezer, since the groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter last week. The basic chicken soup layered with the fresh herbs is not only soothing but very aromatic–even if you do not have the flu.



3. Vitamin packed brunch or dinner – Vegetable Frittata (as adapted from Clean Eats) – I am constantly battling the clock each morning (as an early-riser workaholic) and am always on the look out for make-ahead breakfast items.  This frittata was a great item to make at the beginning of the week and portion out in tupperware to eat alongside my tea at my desk before the day’s chaos commenced. 

Bon appetite and stay warm with some of these kale-inspired recipes as yet another snow storm descends upon the Northeast! 


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