Adding Kale to Your Vegetarian Recipes
With prices of meat climbing and the benefits of vegetarian eating more well-known, more people are beginning to include meatless meals in their regular cooking rotations. If you're looking to incorporate a Meatless Monday into your own meal planning, remember that vegetarian meals don't have to be bland and tasteless!
With this drive towards healthier eating, kale has become a staple in healthy households. One cup of kale is just 33 calories, and it's packed with a ton of nutrients, rightly earning its nickname of being a "super food." Each serving has almost 3 grams of protein and 2.5 grams of fiber. The combination of protein and fiber means it leaves you feeling full much longer than typical greens.
Kale is also filled with vitamins A, C and K as well as folate, a B vitamin necessary for brain health. Vegetarians often have a hard time getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids, and kale actually has a fair amount of a fatty acid present in it. Kale is also the best out of any greens in antioxidant content.
Knowing how good it is for you now, how should you eat your kale? It's quite versatile! You can finely chop it and add it to soups, sauces, eggs and even smoothies. If you prefer your vegetables cooked, kale is excellent sauteed with a little bit of garlic, oil and lemon juice. Forego the greasy potato chips and bake your kale at about 400 degrees for a crispy and savory treat.
One of the best ways to introduce yourself to vegetarian recipes is by preparing kale in a tasty soup. Kale goes especially well with anything Italian, so give this rich soup recipe a try for a filling and healthy meal, with plenty of leftovers!
Italian Potato, Kale and Bean Soup Recipe
2 cups onion, chopped (equals 1 large onion)
6 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups vegetable broth
1 pound of small potatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces
2 15-ounce cans of pinto or white beans, drained
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (less if you like less spice)
6 to 10 ounces of chopped kale, stems removed
Salt to taste
In a large pot, add the onions and a tablespoon of water and cook the onions until softened. Add the garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute.
Add the broth, potatoes, beans and herbs. Bring the mixture to a boil before reducing the heat. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are just becoming tender, about 15 minutes. Add the kale, cover, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. The kale should be tender but still bright green.
If you want a creamier soup, remove 1/2 cup of the potatoes and add some soup broth. Blend them with your milk or nutritional yeast until the mixture is smooth. Return the mixture to the pot and let it reheat. You may want to add additional seasonings to taste after blending the potatoes. Serve with warm bread.
This soup is packed with protein and essential nutrients, but it's so tasty that nobody will think of it as "just another vegetarian recipe."