If you’re anything like me it took you awhile to jump aboard the kale train. Normally I’m a sucker for anything green, and vegetables are no exception, but kale and I did not have a good start. The first time I ate kale was in a raw salad and it was so bitter that I had to discreetly hide a mouthful in my napkin under the table (don’t laugh- you’ve all been there). After that I was afraid to try it again and for years either substituted other veggies like spinach and broccoli for kale or avoided dishes that called for it all together. After that first experience I was determined kale would not pass though my lips again. Here’s the thing about kale though… it’s really good for you. I mean really good for you. It’s full of antioxidants, vitamins like A and C, has incredible anti-inflammatory properties, is known for lowering cholesterol, fighting cancer and one measly serving contains over 20% of your daily fiber needs. Wow! And all I have to do to reap those nutritional benefits is to choke down some of that tough bitter leafy green stuff. But wait…stop those negative thoughts. I am proud to say that this winter I put my fears aside and bravely tried kale again. Guess what? It was really good. In fact it was more than good, it was clean my plate and go for seconds good.
Turns out that cooked kale is not bitter or tough at all, just the opposite. So what happened, how did I go from kale hater to kale lover in just one dish? Let me set the scene for you. Let’s call it… The Great Kale Revival. About a month ago I ventured out to the grocery store list in hand. On that list were ingredients to make Linguine with Swiss Chard and Sausage. Much to my dismay the Swiss Chard at the store was a bit tired looking- actually really tired looking, so limp that when I picked it up the leaves drooped over like a cooked noodle- yuck. I hemmed and hawed for a bit considering what I could use for a substitution. Just then a bunch of vibrant green leaves with curly edges caught my eye. I’m talking, of course, about kale. Could I do it? Would I do it? Before I could talk myself out if it the kale was in my cart, in my grocery bag, and in my fridge. That night I made the dish using kale instead of Swiss Chard. It was delicious. After only a few minutes of cooking the kale had yielded its bitterness and turned into a slightly sweet, slightly crunchy, absolutely wonderful green vegetable.
Since then I’ve become borderline obsessed with kale. Just this week alone we’ve eaten it in scrambled eggs, pasta sauce and meatloaf. Yesterday afternoon my husband was unpacking the groceries that I brought home and said, “oh look, more kale” as he pulled out a new bunch and added it to the other two already in the fridge. We now have one entire drawer that is filled with nothing else but kale. What can I say- I’ve been converted, this is good stuff. I want to share my new found love of kale with you. Even those of you who, like I once did, think you don’t like kale. I am here tell you tell you, to implore you, to give it one more shot. And what better way to enjoy kale than with one of my favorite flavor combinations ever- ginger, garlic and lime.
I’m convinced that you could add these three things to an old shoe and it would taste good. Seriously. There is something about this combo that I’m totally in love with. And since I’m also in love with kale right now…why not combine them? The idea for this recipe came from a wonderful magazine and website called Clean Eating. They follow a pretty simple philosophy over at Clean Eating: consume whole foods and prepare them close to their natural state. Sounds easy right? The dish that I created didn’t end up resembling the original inspiration dish very much (you can find it here if you’re interested) but I used the flavor combo as a jumping off point, and I definitely stayed true to the clean eating philosophy. So whether you’re on the fence about kale, a self-proclaimed kale lover,or like I used to be and convinced that kale is a no good,dirty rotten scoundrel – this dish is for you.
Ginger-Lime Kale over Quinoa
inspired by Clean Eating Magazine
1 cup uncooked quinoa
8 cups kale, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped small
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 oranges, peeled and pith removed, cut into small pieces
1. In a medium pot bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water to boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the quinoa has turned translucent .
2. In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the kale and toss with the garlic and ginger. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes until the kale has turned bright green and begun to wilt.
3. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lime juice, salt and orange pieces. Toss to combine. Serve over the quinoa.