Kale is a vegetable that has been around for centuries. It is a superfood due to its high nutrient values and has become one of the world’s most healthiest greens. One of the misconceptions about kale is that it can only be eaten raw. While it is true that many people eat it raw in salads and smoothies, it is also a great addition to cooked dishes. Kale can be cooked in various ways but some people are still sceptical about whether it tastes good when cooked. In this article, we will be discussing the different ways kale can be cooked and how delicious it can be!
Benefits of Eating Cooked Kale
Before we dive into the different ways kale can be cooked, let’s highlight some of the benefits of eating cooked kale:
- Cooked kale is easier to digest than raw kale
- Cooked kale tastes better than raw kale to some people
- Cooking kale enhances its sweetness and flavour
- Cooked kale retains some of its nutrient values
These benefits are a good enough reason to try different ways to cook kale!
How to Cook Kale?
Steaming is one of the popular ways to cook kale. Steamed kale is tender and packed with flavour. Here’s how you can steam kale:
- Fill a pot with an inch of water and bring it to a boil
- Place the cleaned and chopped kale in a steamer basket and put it into the pot
- Cover with the lid and steam for 5-7 minutes or until the kale is tender and bright green
- Remove from the heat and enjoy on its own or add it to other dishes such as stir-fries, soups or casseroles.
Steamed kale can be seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic or any other seasoning of your choice. The possibilities are endless!
Sautéed kale is another way to add flavour and texture to this versatile green. Here’s how to sauté kale:
- Heat some oil, butter or ghee in a skillet over medium heat
- Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes
- Add the cleaned and chopped kale and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until tender and wilted
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Enjoy as a side dish or add it to eggs, pasta, or pizza.
Sautéed kale is a great way to incorporate greens into your meal plan. You can also add other vegetables like mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes to add flavour and texture.
Baking Kale Chips
Kale chips are a great alternative to regular potato chips. They are healthier and easy to make. Here’s how to bake kale chips:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C)
- Clean and dry kale leaves
- Remove stems and cut the leaves into bite-size pieces
- Place kale pieces in a bowl and toss with oil and seasoning of your choice
- Place the seasoned kale pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy
Kale chips are perfect for snacking on the go or as a side dish. You can experiment with different seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin or chilli flakes.
How to Select and Store Kale?
When buying kale, look for leaves that are firm, crunchy and vibrant in colour. The leaves should be free from blemishes and tears. Organic kale is recommended to reduce pesticide exposure.
Store kale in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container. Avoid washing it before storing as excess moisture can cause it to spoil quickly. Cooked kale can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Is Cooked Kale Nutritious?
Some people believe that cooking kale reduces its nutrient value but this is not entirely true. While it is true that some of the water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, thiamine, and folate are lost during cooking, the nutrient values of kale are still high even when cooked. Cooking kale can also enhance the absorption of other essential nutrients like beta-carotene and lutein.
For example, one cup of raw kale has 33 calories, 6 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of protein. The same amount of cooked kale with olive oil has 95 calories, 10 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of protein. Other nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin A, and calcium remain high in cooked kale.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some frequently asked questions about cooked kale:
- Can you cook kale in the microwave?
- Can you freeze cooked kale?
- Can you eat kale stems?
- How do you know when kale is cooked?
- Can cooked kale be reheated?
Yes, you can cook kale in the microwave. Place the cleaned and chopped kale in a microwave-safe bowl and add a tablespoon of water. Microwave on high for 5-8 minutes or until tender.
Yes, cooked kale can be frozen. Allow it to cool down first and then transfer it to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.
Yes, kale stems are edible but can be tough. You can chop and add them to salads, smoothies or stir-fries. Alternatively, you can remove them if you find them too tough.
Kale turns bright green and tender when it’s cooked. Depending on the cooking method, it can take 5-10 minutes to cook.
Yes, cooked kale can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop. Reheat until warm and serve.
In conclusion, kale can be cooked in various ways and is delicious when cooked properly. Steaming, sautéing and baking kale chips are some of the popular ways of cooking kale. Cooked kale is easier to digest than raw kale and retains some of its nutrient values. When selecting kale, look for leaves that are firm and vibrant in colour. Store kale in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container. And yes, cooked kale is nutritious! So go ahead and try one of the cooking methods discussed in this article and enjoy the deliciousness of cooked kale!