I have very particular taste when it comes to vegetables. I love veggies, but I’m set in my routine. The only veggie that I always have on hand is broccoli. It’s my absolute favorite and a definite staple in my diet. It sneaks into all my meals, from tofu scramble to pasta. I’ve even been known to steam broccoli and eat it alone, as a meal in and of itself (though this was more common in my vegetarian days when I’d slather it in cheese).
One cannot subsist on broccoli alone, though. I never tire of it but I’m aware of a deficiency of variety. For this reason, I’ve (begrudgingly) been packing my work lunch with baby carrots. Carrots are not my favorite vegetable, but they’re easy to pack, low in calories, crunchy in a good way, and I can tolerate them raw. The boyfriend and I often disagree about veggies. He’s definitely Team Broccoli, but he’s also more of an asparagus guy, whereas I like to add bell peppers (against his free will) to most of my meals.
While all of the veggies mentioned above are nutrient-rich, there is a vegetable that reigns supreme, especially for us vegans: kale! This is old news, of course, but besides adding kale to my green smoothies, I haven’t spent much intimate time with this cruciferous wonderfood. This handy-dandy chart breaks down the health benefits of kale in a great way, especially for those visual learners out there:
The calcium count doesn’t look huge here, but as someone who has recently realized that they don’t consume near enough calcium, 9.3% per cooked cup is looking pretty darn good. In my MyFitnessPal account, I track my calories, carbs, fat, protein, fiber, and calcium. The only number that I miss by a longshot every single day is calcium. I thought I had it covered in my multivitamin, but my vegan vitamin only offers me 10% of the RDI (and who knows how much of that measly 10% my body is actually absorbing.)
At the store this weekend, I purchased a huge amount of kale. My grocer doesn’t sell it in realistic proportions. I now have a humungous bag of kale in my possession and have taken to creative ways to prepare it so I can waste as little of it as possible. Enter kale chips, something I’ve been weary of but decided to give a try. I had my doubts about this leafy vegetable crisping, yet not burning, in my oven. In fact, it did exactly as it was supposed to. It was magic, and so simple to prepare! I honestly see no reason for potato chips to ever make their way into my kitchen. Kale chips satisfy my hunger for a crispy, salty snack, in just a fraction of the calories–and a huge amount of nutrition to boot!
All you need to do is wash your kale, pat it dry, remove the ribs and chop into approximately 2 inch pieces. For about 2 cups of chopped kale, I used a tablespoon of olive oil, and you really need much less. I tried to pat some of it off because it was over-oiled. Stick your oiled kale on a baking sheet and dust it with sea salt or whatever seasonings strike your fancy (I think garlic powder would be divine). In an oven preheated to 275, bake for 15-20 minutes until kale chips are crispy and are starting to slightly brown on the edges.
That’s it! Crispy, salty, satisfying, and comparatively low in calories when stacked against its over-processed, fattening cousin: the potato chip. Who knew kale could be so tasty?
Gimme some kale love: what’s your favorite way to prepare it? I have a lot to consume by the week’s end!