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I was browsing through some blogs last night and stumbled upon a post about a really delicious, easy and healthy bean spread. Oh,and the spread is supposed to be placed on a sandwich with some kale on top. I was hooked. First of all, I am all about quick and easy, healthy cooking. Secondly, I could feed this spread to my twin babies, who’d love a little extra protein, so that they can finally grow up and take their toys back from their big brother. Thirdly, I could feed the kale to my oldest, who thinks that eating kale makes you grow big enough to drive a real car ( ok, I taught him that.)

I tripled the bean spread recipe and we had the leftovers for lunch today. The babies had the spread with some celery sticks and avocado chunks and we had  baked potatoes with bean spread, avocado , kale and chives. 

After playing with the  original recipe a bit, here’s the spread and the sandwich:

 

 

Rustic White Bean Spread

  • 1 can of white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 heaping cup of cooked beans)
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbs tahini
  • 1 Tbs water (or more for desired consistency)
  • 2Tbs olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Process everything until smooth.

 Kale

 Heat a bit of olive oil and water in a frying pan. Add a small garlic clove, minced, stirring a minute until fragrant. Add 1-2 tbsp. of Bragg’s amino acid sauce. Toss in a couple handfuls of kale (stems removed, chopped). Sautee until wilted. Add a few drops of tobasco, if desired.

Sandwich

 Place a generous dollop of warmed white bean spread over two pieces of toast. Top with cooked kale. Squeeze a splash of lemon over everything and put a slice of lemon on top (optional). I also put a tomato slice on top.

 

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Sorry, I haven’t been able to post for a few days. We went to Asheville, NC for a few days, and the house we rented had internet  troubles. On the more positive note, Asheville is home to my favorite vegetarian restaurant in the country. I’ve been to  the Millennium in San Francisco, I’ve been to Angelica’s in NYC. I also visited countless veggie spots around the country. Still, the clean,  spacious and delicious Laughing Seed Cafe in Asheville cannot be beat. It gets the highest marks in my book both for its food (they  have daily veggie specials to die for) and its service ( they brought organic veggies, cut into bite-size chunks for my babies when I foolishly left  the baby food bag in the car.) And they actually have healthy food on their kid’s menu!

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When I was in my early twenties, studying at NYU, taking yoga classes at Jivamukti, living alone in NYC , I never cooked anything, because my apartment’s  kitchen was barely large enough to accommodate a teapot, forget about the actual cook (me.) I loved going to Angelica’s Kitchen restaurant and ordering a Dragon Bowl. The simplicity of this perfectly balanced vegetarian dish reminded me of home-cooking. That, and it was superhealthy and inexpensive. The Dragon Bowl was an example of a perfect equilibrium in food: bitter, but also sweet, healthy, but filling. It tasted like home, yet I ate it in a restaurant. “The Bowl” also fit nicely into a “One Bowl,” which was a nutrition book I  followed for a while.

Some years later, in Asheville, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a Harmony Bowl on the Laughing Seed Cafe’s menu. It was very much like my old Dragon Bowl! I was feeling like I was twenty again as I devoured it. The next day, I came back and ordered another one.  And two days later, I made one at home. The simplicity and versatility of this dish are overwhelming: you can use any grain, bean or vegetable you have. Here’s the Bowl, in a nutshell.

Cooked brown rice

Cooked black beans

Steamed Veggies

Sauce

Optional: Tofu

Pick a nice-size bowl, suitable for one person. Put some cooked brown rice (or other grain) on the bottom of it. Put black beans on top of the rice. Put tofu on top, if using it. Put the veggies over everything and pour the sauce over the veggies.

When picking the vegetables, try to cover many flavors: squash or carrots for sweetness, kale for bitterness… Don’t forget green staples, like zucchini or broccoli.

The dish at this point is rather bland. The sauce is what really makes The Bowl sparkle. My two absolutely favorite sauces for the Harmony Bowl are carrot/ginger or tahini.

I didn’t list any proportions or amounts here on purpose: the bowl is an individual dish, so make it your own by playing an experimenting. You can make it pretty, or you can make it simple. Busy parents:  don’t be afraid to use canned beans.

 

photo: Piyachok Thawornmat

My family and I are trying to go gluten-free for a while. Gluten an dairy have been linked to allergies and immune weakness by multiple nutritionists, so our new diet would probably do us a lot of good. The problem is,  gluten hides in many things we like, like our morning oatmeal, for example. So, here’s what I came up with:

 

Quinoa With Raisins

1 cup cooked quinoa

3 tbsp. unrefined extra virgin olive oil

salt to taste

1/4 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, r dried apricots)

optional: 1/4 cup almonds or walnuts or 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes or 1 tsp. of  cinnamon and 1 tsp of agave syrup.

Mix the quinoa with the oil and the salt, put raisins on top.

 

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Buckwheat flour is widely available, but since I always have some cooked grains lying around, I came up with this breakfast recipe. Feel free to add blueberries, if you wish.

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 All rights reserved by Baking and Mistaking

Buckwheat Pancakes

1 cup cooked buckwheat

1 egg

1 grated apple

1 banana

Mix everything together and fry on a lightly oiled skillet.

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 All rights reserved by fakeginger
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Scrambled Eggs With Onions, Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Kale

1/2 onion, chopped

2 leaves of kale, cut into strips. Stalks separated and thrown out

1 tomato, chopped

1/2 cup mushrooms

4 tbsp. olive oil

salt to taste

1/4 cup parsley, diced

Tobasco sauce to taste

4 eggs

Put the kale into a frying pan, add 1/2 cup of water, cover  and let simmer for about 2-3 minutes, until the kale is soft. Open the lid, add the onion and the olive oil and saute for about 2 minutes. add the mushrooms and sautee for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato and possibly, more olive oil. Add the parsley and sautee for about another minute. Add the tobasco. mix well. Add the eggs and cook for another minute or two, making a scramble.

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We also love eggs over buckwheat with onions: hearty and delicious.

 

Do you have any gluten-free breakfast recipes?

I love this green, low-calorie, nutrient-packed soup. If you don’t like tofu, you don’t have to put it in. You can also add potatoes, whole wheat pasta or beans of any kind. You can season the soup with some curry for a more of an exotic twist. Yo u can even add some brown rice or buckwheat!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 9 cups water
  • 7 cubes vegetable bouillon
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 block of tofu, cubed
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, separated into florets
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large  pot. Cook the onion and garlic until soft. Stir in the kale and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in all other ingredients, except for the green onions. Simmer on medium heat for about 2o minutes. Add more water if needed. Add the green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K.  Kale is also a good source of minerals, like copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Kale works very well in a multitude of cooked dishes: from soups to stews. Fresh, however, its nutrients are  preserved a lot better. I like the combination of kale with citrus flavors.

Ingredients:

2 bunches of kale, stems removed

2 oranges, sectioned

1 small red onion, diced

1 small avocado, sliced thin

1 medium cucumber, sliced

1 celery stalk, diced

1/2 cup red cabbage, chopped thinly

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp salt

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Wash kale thoroughly, then add apple cider vinegar, and cover the leaves with water. Soak for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water. Spin the leaves dry.

Return to bowl, drizzle with 1/2 cup olive oil, then sprinkle on the salt. Use your hands to rub the olive oil and salt into all the crevices of the kale leaves. Leave for 10 minutes.   Add all other ingredients to the kale. Chop the orange sections into small cubes and put those on top of the salad.
Toss well and serve.

I hear this question at least once a day: “How do you cook kale?,” or “What do you do with Swiss chard?” Here are some simple, delicious and healthy options for your dinner.


1. Salad

Leafy green vegetables are low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals. Here’s a list of green leafy vegetables to use in your salad:

  • alfalfa
  • asparagus
  • baby spinach
  • basil
  • beetroot leaves
  • carrot tops
  • celery
  • chickweed
  • Chinese cabbage (bok choi)
  • clover
  • collard greens
  • coriander (cilantro)
  • dandelion
  • dill
  • endive – escarole, frisee
  • fennel
  • green lettuce
  • green cabbage
  • kale – curly leaf, plain leaf , and cavolo nero (black)
  • lambsquarters
  • lamb’s lettuce (corn salad)
  • common mallow (malva sylvestris)
  • miner’s lettuce (Montia perfoliata)
  • mint – peppermint and spearmint
  • mustard greens including mizuna
  • nettles
  • parsley – flat and curly leaf
  • plantain
  • purslane
  • radish leaves
  • red lettuce
  • rocket (arugula)
  • romaine lettuce
  • sunflower sprouts
  • swiss chard – red and green varieties
If, however, you’d like to incorporate those greens in more ways than one, you can try doing a few different things with them.
2. Green Smoothie
Pick green leaf of the day. I like kale for its calcium content, coupled with some mint for flavor. Add some lemon juice and a banana and blend with some ice cubes. You just made yourself the healthiest mojito on the planet! To keep things simple, just add some green leaves to any smoothie you make.
3. Soup
Add some green leaves to any soup you are making. add the leaves about 3-5 minutes before the end of your cooking time. I like to add kale ( take the leaves off the sticks,) chard and beetroot leaves to my soups. If you boil a cubed beet with its leaves, add some root vegetables and some cabbage, you’ve just made a vegetarian version of a Russian borscht. I Americanize mine by adding sweet potato to it:  this way it tastes sweet enough for my two year old.
4. Kale chips. See my recipe here.
5. Add green leaves to stir-fries. Even if you ordered Chinese for the night, you can still make it healthier, by stir-frying some greens in extra virgin olive oil and adding those to virtually any Chinese dish.
6. Add greens to grains. If brown rice is for dinner tonight, you can dice some collard greens and add those to the pot where you are making the rice. If you are going this route, don’t overdo on the amount of the greens and put them in 5 minutes before the grain is cooked.
7. Just cook your greens! Separate kale leaves from the stalks (or take Chard and simply chop it, stalks included.) Chop the leaves finely. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of Bragg’s sauce to large, heated skillet. Heat oil; add strips of greens. Cook and stir over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes until wilted and tender (older leaves may take slightly longer). I like to add garlic (the more the merrier) towards the end of the cooking process.
8. Cook your greens in sesame oil. Same as number 7, but use roasted sesame oil. Sprinkle the final dish with roasted sesame seeds and a some orange juice. Sesame seed is exceptionally rich in calcium.
9. Juice your greens. Add an apple to your green juice and it would taste much better.
10. Add the greens to your burger or soy burger patties. Make sure the greens are diced.
11. Add the greens to mashed potatoes. Chop the leaves very finely and follow advice #7, minus Bragg’s. Mix the green mix with the mashed potatoes. I also like to add some wasabi powder to this potato mix, in order to make it throughly green.
12. Simply steam your greens in a  bit of water. In such case,a  few drops of extra virgin olive oil, some lemon juice and a tiny bit of parmesan cheese go a long way, as far as flavor. And so does garlic.
13. Add your greens to sweet dishes. To make a perfectly balanced vegetarian plate, add a bitter green dish to any sweet potato  or squash dish you are making. Somehow, the combination of the sweet flavor with the bitter flavor is very satisfying even to tohse who wouldn’t ordinarily try the green leafy veggies.
Can you think of any other interesting ways of using greens?

This is an awesome breakfast smoothie. It also works well with those that don’t like kale. This smoothie is packed with protein, calcium, iron, and multiple vitamins. What a  great way to start your day!

For two servings:

2 frozen bananas

1 apple

6-7  ice cubes

3 tbsp of raw tahini
4 kale leaves
optional: agave or stevia to taste

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.

 

This post is by my friend and a fellow Anusara-inspired (TM) yoga instructor, Megan Marie. She is also a foodie and mom of Alexander (5) and James (3) I will try her super smoothie recipe tonight and so should you!

Do your wee ones wrinkle their little noses when you place a plate of broccoli, kale or spinach in front of them? Are they the sort that boycott “All Things Green”? Have no fear…the luck of the Irish is with you as you whip up The Shamrock Smoothie just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Ingredients:


3 Kiwis, sliced
1&1/2 cup frozen green grapes
2 frozen bananas
1 green apple, sliced, with skin on
1 & 1/2 cup baby spinach
1 cup chopped kale

1 cup organic apple juice

1/2 cup Organic Nectars ™ Cashewtopia (organic frozen pistacio creme w. raw pistacio pieces, sweetened with agave only).

optional: 2 tbls flat leaved parsley and a squeeze of lemon

Blend/pulse on high until smooth. The color will be vibrant green and your little ones will love eating their greens in the form of the Shamrock Smoothie just in time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

note: This smoothie is also delicious without the pistacio cashew creme, although the latter has no sugar ( just agave) and you can buy it at Whole Foods. It can also be substitued with Fage yogurt + a little honey or agave. The frozen bananas, however, are enough to make it taste like ice cream! My boys love this smoothie and the pistacio creme just made it a little more decadent. I am not sure the nutritional value of this, but it must be extraordinary.

Image by Pixomar

 

 

 

This is a fun and nutritious snack: kale is rich in fiber, calcium, iron and magnesium, as well as in vitamins A, C and K.  Surely beats potato chips!

Ingredients:

Kale, one bunch, leaves only (no branches)

Olive oil 2 tbsp

Braggs Aminos 2 tbsp

optional: paprika

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Tear the kale into bite-size pieces. Arrange the kale on a cookie sheet, covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle with olive oil and Bragg’s. Bake for 15 minutes, or until brownish, but not burnt.

 

My family and I drink this juice every morning. If you want to try it, keep a couple of details in mind.

 

 

a. Try to make sure all of the vegetables are organic

b. Feel free to experiment with the proportions to get the flavor you like

c. Give this juice to kids 12 months and older, but do it very slowly: a sip a day. Then, gradually, increase to half a cup a day.

d. If you juice regularly, like me, prepare to visit the grocery store a lot to restock your supplies

 

Ingredients (for two glasses)

Kale 3-4 leaves

Parsley 1/4 of a bunch

Green Apple 1 large

Celery 2 stalks

Cucumber 2 medium or 1 large

Optional ingredients:

Lemon, Ginger, Cayenne Pepper

Possible substitutions to make things interesting and varied:

Beet greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, arugula -for kale.

Zucchini for cucumber

Red apple , beet or carrot or pear for green apple

 

What are your favorite green juice combos?

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