Kale is definitely on my superfood list. There are a lot of acclaimed “superfoods” nowadays; many of them are highly expensive foods in powder form that you probably have never heard of. They may well be really nutritious, but I think people are put off by the price and the fact that it is totally unfamiliar. But your local market/supermarket is full of easily accessible, affordable, Truly Super Foods. So here is one of my favourites- Kale, from the Brassica family.
It contains plenty of carotenoids, sulphoraphane (a potent anti-cancer chemical), vitamin C, Vitamin A in form of beta-carotene, (100 grams of kale leaves=over 500% your RDA of beta carotene) and very high in bio-available calcium. Then, if you chop, macerate, squish, squash or pulverize it, you activate the enzyme myrosinase. (I mentioned this in my broccoli salad recipe– it is in all cruciferous veg) The enzyme makes another cancer-fighting phytochemical (plant chemical) called Indole-3-carbinol. Kale also happens to be very rich in B vitamins, and minerals essential for bone health, and very high in fibre.
I generally use curly kale because it’s all they sell where I usually shop. It’s kind of a tough leaf compared to, say, baby spinach or lettuce. You can steam it lightly; while some of it’s benefits are destroyed, you will still be able to enjoy others. But why not eat enjoy it raw, and bag all of the goodness including it’s live enzymes?
The best trick I ever learnt with kale is this: When you massage into the kale leaves, a bit of salt, and some acid (eg apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice), the salt and acid actually start to break down the cell walls and it starts to wilt down. Within a minute it takes on a beautiful bright green, as if it has been steamed.If you leave the leaves in the marinade for a few hours in the fridge, they soften further still. You will not believe you are munching on a big bowl of raw cabbage! It is so delicious! I have lots of versions of this salad; here is one.
Wilted kale and Apple salad (makes enough for 1; adapt as needed)
- 3-4 handfuls of kale (per person)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sea salt
Remove the tough stalks from the kale is desired (recommended, personally) Pour marinade ingredients over the leaves. With your hands, massage them into the kale. Really squeeze and squish those leaves and work in the salt.
- 2 sundried tomatoes, snipped into small pieces
- A small chunk of red onion, diced
- 1 dessert apple
Leave to sit in the fridge for a few hours, ideally. Just before you eat it, thoroughly mash a small avocado, cubed, and use a fork to incorporate it into the salad. Taste test, and tweak your seasoning as you wish. Enjoy!