In Perfect Bar Unwrapped, we’re sharing exactly what goes into our bars that makes ‘em so darn good for you. That’s why each month we’ll be highlighting one of the 20 powerful superfoods included in the Keith family’s age-old recipe, complete with all of its uses, benefits, and a recipe of your own to try. Because, when we find something amazing, we’re all about sharing the wealth with the people we love.
Meet This Month’s Superfood
Unless you’ve been living in a barren desert without WiFi for the last five years, you’re probably familiar with Kale and its status as the ‘Queen of Greens’. At this point, it seems like Kale is on every lunch menu, clean eats blog, and juice bar in town, so we don’t blame ya if you’re over the hype, but keep in mind that it didn’t get to be the most talked about leaf for nothing. And it certainly didn’t make it into our bars just because it was ‘trendy.’ When it comes to superfoods, Kale is the real deal.
What It Is
Sure, it may seem like Kale only just recently appeared on the map as a health food trend, but the superfood has actually been around for years, and dates back to use by the original trendsetters: the ancient Greeks and Romans. Those guys were centuries ahead of the game, as it didn’t catch on in the States until the 1980s. (Fun fact: it was originally used as a cure for drunkenness). Now, the leafy vegetable—which is a member of the same family as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and collard greens—is everywhere. So much so that there’s even a National Kale Day. We’ll cheers a pressed green juice to that!
Another interesting fact about Kale: it doesn’t just come as a long-stalked green leaf. It can actually be found in a ton of different colors, shapes, and tastes, based on the particular variety. Popular ones include: Curly Green, Ornamental, Redbor, Premier, Siberian, Red Russian, Kamom, and Lacinato. Between these different varieties, you can get blue-green kale, yellow-green kale, and even red kale; you’ll also see it tall and short, curly or plain leaved, and vertical and horizontal growing. Mind blown, right?
You can only earn the nickname ‘Queen of Greens’ if you pack a serious punch, and Kale does that and then some. Recognized as one of the most nutrient dense superfoods in the world, there isn’t a lot that you can’t get from our leafy friend.
Each time you slurp down a Kale smoothie, you’re filling your body with tons of green goodness, including: vitamin A (206% RDA), vitamin B6 (9% RDA), vitamin K (684% RDA), manganese (26% RDA), calcium (9% RDA), copper (10% RDA), potassium (9% RDA), magnesium (6% RDA), iron (7% RDA), folate (4% RDA), protein (5% RDA), omega-3s (5% RDA), and tons of antioxidants.
What happens after you consume all those next-level nutrients? Your body thanks you with an output of serious health benefits (anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticancer, antidepressant, cardio protective), and who doesn’t love making their bod a happy place to live?
There’s a lot to love about this superfood when it comes to nutrients and health benefits, but what really sweetens the deal is how darn easy it is to incorporate into your diet. It’s budget friendly, it’s flavorful, and it can go in just about anything. Type in ‘Kale Recipes’ in your web browser and it could take months to get through all the search results, but you’ll undoubtedly find a use that fits your flavor profile.
Some of our faves include kale chips, kale green smoothie, kale pesto dip, kale pizza crust, kale & lime Caesar salad, and kale & quinoa patties. Trust us, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Whichever way you decide to use your kale, there are a few important things to keep in mind when buying and storing. And if you decide to grow your own, all the power to ya!
Although your natural inclination may be to think of Kale as something served best in a fresh salad or green smoothie (which we’re totally fans of), it’s still winter and we want to take advantage of that.
If you’re bundled up and craving something healthy to warm your insides, look no further than this recipe for White Bean Kale Soup.
Servings: around 8
- 1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped (about 1-2 medium carrots)
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 5-6 red tomatoes, diced
- Two 15-ounce cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), or 5 cups fresh cooked beans
- One large bunch kale, deveined and torn into pieces
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, optional
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
- Add the celery, carrots, tomatoes, and onion, and cook, until the onions are softened, about 4-5 minutes or so.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or so. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water and the vegetable broth to a boil.
- Add the cooked vegetables to the boiling water/broth mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
- Add the beans, kale, and the cream (if using) and cook, stirring frequently, until completely heated through and the kale is wilted, about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Between the health benefits, nutritional value, and endless recipes, it’s easy to understand why we can’t help but say ‘Oh, Kale yes!’ whenever we see this green goodness.