Why Kale is Such a Super Food

by Jen Wanous

If you’ve been to my house for dinner, chances are that you have had my kale chips. They are like caramelized brussels sprouts–you feel like it’s too good to be good for you. For my final cooking demonstration in school, I deep fried kale in coconut oil. It was a brave move for a natural foods school, but it lent the perfect hight and crunch I was looking for.

With winter quickly ushering in, let’s be thankful for one of the season’s best bounties: kale. Rich in nutrients and available all winter, this is one staple you won’t want to leave behind.

Kale is part of the Brassica oleracea family and shares kinship with cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts and collard greens. (What a healthy family!) Now, we all know that leafy green things are good for you…but here is what makes kale so super fantastic: it’s rich in beta carotene, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium and lutein. Kale also has a super food chemical called sulforaphane that gives it cancer fighting power. As if that weren’t enough, kale also has a chemical called indole-3-carbinol that boosts DNA repair in cells and blocks the growth of cancer cells. Pretty good stuff, I’d say!

When shopping for kale, there are a few different varieties at our local grocery stores. I personally like the lacinato (or Tuscan) and curly leaf kales. Look for the brightest, biggest and perkiest bunch you can find. It will usually keep in the fridge for a week or so. If it goes floppy on you, you can still use it (just don’t use if it turns yellow). When you prepare kale, always remove the stem. The stem has a bitter flavor and tough texture.

Below is a simple recipe for my kale chips. You can also add things like parmesan, smoked paprika, tamari, curry powder, garlic powder–go crazy with your kale! I have used kale in a couple other posts like tuscan kale soup and a bacon sandwich with kale. Enjoy.

Kale Chips


5-8 stems of kale

2-3 teaspoons olive oil

generous sprinkling of salt and pepper

optional: add ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika


1. Pre-heat oven to 350°. Rinse kale and shake off excess water. Tear approximately 2” x 2” pieces of kale away from the stem. Arrange on a large, rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (and smoked paprika, if using). Toss vigorously with your hands, making sure that each leaf has some oil.

2. Bake for 8 minutes then shuffle the leaves around and pop back in for 8-10 more minutes. They should be just slightly browned and perfectly crisp.

Eat alone or as a topping for any main course.

Here is a quote from my Aunt Arlette, who has a great raw kale recipe to share:

Hi Jen,
Read you Kale blurb.  Very informative, I like the info.  Wanted to tell you I’ve been into whole raw foods lately.  Kale makes a wonderful salad with fresh garlic, olive oil, fresh lime squeezed and whatever else I have in the frige to make a nice salad.  I remove all stalks and a friend told me to crunch it up with fingers to soften it, but I find by removing all stems, it is great as is.
Love reading your blogs.  You are a special person.  I love you.
 Auntie Arlette

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