This member of the cabbage family is now in season. Besides being delicious, kale is brimming with health benefits. Studies have found that veggies in the cabbage family like kale can help reduce the risk of cancer. Kale also contains the plant chemical lutein, an antioxidant linked to healthy eyes. So get down to the market and pick up a bunch – here are 10 ways to use it.
- As a Substitute for Spinach
Kale works nicely in recipes that call for spinach, like those for egg dishes, salads or lasagna. Kale is heartier than spinach, so you may need to adjust the cooking time to be a bit longer.
Recipe to try: Kale and Tomato Eggs Benedict
- In a Dip
Cooked kale can be chopped or pureed to make a variety of dips. You can also use frozen and thawed kale; just be sure to squeeze out the extra liquid.
Recipe to try: Kale and Artichoke Dip
- Baked as Chips
Punch up the flavor of your kale chips by sprinkling them with your favorite low-calorie spice combo.
Recipe to try: Chili Kale Chips
- Sauteed with Veggies
Saute this leafy green with most any veggie in your fridge for a quick and easy weekday side. It’s a great way to cut down on food waste.
Recipe to try: Kale and Portobello Mushrooms
- In a Salad
Substitute kale for lettuce in salads for an extra boost of antioxidant vitamins A and C. It also won’t wilt as quickly as lettuce, so you can even dress it ahead of time.
Recipe to try: Kale Caesar Salad
Kale is a healthy, low-calorie addition to green juices. To cut the bitterness, combine it with sweeter produce like carrots and apples.
Recipe to try: Kale Juice
- In a Soup
You can add cooked kale to your favorite soup when it’s done or add raw kale 15 minutes before your soup is finished cooking.
Recipe to try: Pasta, Kale and White Bean Soup
- As Pesto
Pureed kale can be combined with herbs like basil or parsley for a creative spin on pesto.
Recipe to try: Kale and Pistachio Pesto Spaghetti
- In Risotto
Get your fill of greens in this one-pot meal. Complement it with some lean protein like chicken or turkey breast and veggies like carrots, peas and parsnips.
Recipe to try: Risotto with Bacon and Kale
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.