What I am about to say amounts to cultural heresy: I hate kale.
I know you say you love it. I know it’s supposedly the best thing I can put in my mouth (heh), but I’m sorry. I call bullshit. It tastes like old broccoli in leaf form.
At a diner they will serve you a hamburger or chicken salad drowned in mayo, but put a lettuce leaf and a scoop of cottage cheese on the plate, and all of a sudden, it’s a “diet pate”. It’s the same thing with kale. I mean it’s a food so supposedly virtuous, just having it on the plate makes you feel like you should lose two pounds by morning. It’s like cottage cheese (which I will never like).
I think as women, we spend so much time on diets trying to be thinner/healthier etc that our taste buds get out of whack. This is why all food that people want to say is delicious AND healthy should be man tested. They will tell you if something healthy tastes like crap. (Unless they haven’t slept with you and think they might have a chance to.)
“Shiratake noodles are a perfect pasta replacement! And only 40 calories!” – Lies. They smell like dead goldfish, taste about as good, and are evil rubbery things just cut to look like pasta. They should be arrested for fraud.
“Use fat free greek yogurt instead of sour cream, you’ll never know the difference!” – Except that your mouth now feels like paper.
And my personal favorite:
“OMG! Kale chips are amazing! They’re as good as potato chips!!!”
First of all, we will ignore the OMG, as it is never okay. Beyond that, I will say that no; no they are not. Not even close. Kale chips are somewhat palatable to me, but I add oil and salt and/or grated parmesan (cheese makes everything better). And they were still just kind of… flimsy? You don’t get that satisfying crunch. They just kind of dissolve in your mouth like a bad broccoli flavored listerine strip that you have souped up to make it just okay. If I really LIKED them given all that added stuff, fine. But I just tolerated them because I was supposed to.
They aren’t bad… They’re just not GOOD.
And because this is a supposed “nutritional powerhouse” (the pretentiousness of that phrase makes me want to punch someone in the neck), everyone seems to be trying to do something to make it taste good, but in the meantime they are taking things that are yummy and ruining them.
This is what angered me the most:
Is nothing sacred???
Yet despite my anger I soldiered on. Everyone kept raving about it. I tried a multitude of recipes, and it still felt like I was forcing myself.
Until this. I don’t know how it happened. I guess it’s a mishmash of recipes I tried plus some tinkering of my own, and wonder of all wonders, I NOW LIKE KALE!!! I now frequently eat a head of kale for dinner prepared in this way. And while I don’t lose two pounds the next morning, the scale has definitely been inching down, and I actually CRAVE this. And oh yeah, it takes ten minutes.
.5 oz chopped pecans
1.5 tsp olive oil
Dash red pepper flakes
1 head kale (whatever kind you like, I’ve tried several and it’s all good.)
1/4 of a lemon, (zest first, reserve zest then cut)
1/2 tsp Grade B maple syrup (no fake log cabin crap)
Preheat frying pan/skillet and turn to medium heat. Add pecans and stir constantly for one minute or so until they darken and you can smell a nutty, toasted smell. Remove from pan.
Slice the center thick rib from each kale leaf and discard. Wash kale leaves but do not dry them. The water will help them cook.
Roll them up (doesn’t have to be pretty, if they don’t fit on top of each other well, just bunch them up and hold them in place with your fingers). Slice into ribbons. FYI, this is called a chiffonade, which makes you sound super fancy and like you know what you are doing. It’s also a great technique for herbs. Google chiffonade if need be.
Heat oil over medium heat and add red pepper flakes. Let cook for 30 seconds and add kale. Stir to coat with oil as much as possible. Season with a few good shakes of sea salt. Cover with lid, it doesn’t have to fit on the pan though it can, you can just cover the leaves if you don’t have a lid big enough for a pan, which I do not and it works out fine.
After a minute, add 2 tbsp of water. and cook 1-2 more minutes until tender.
Add lemon zest and the juice of the quarter lemon and the maple syrups. Let cook uncovered another minute, stirring occasionally. Add pecans, toss and serve.
It should have just a little kick from the red pepper, a touch of sweetness from the maple syrup, and a smokiness from the pecans. You can sub a quarter cup white beans for the pecans, but I much prefer it this way.
Calories – 279
Fat – 18.6 g (all good fat)
Fiber – 5.9 g
Carbs – 26.5 g
Sodium – 188 mg (stats are without salt added, adjust accordingly)
Protein – 8.8 g