Laura Hartung MA, RD, LDN
Today's Guest Post is from Laura, a Boston-based Registered Dietitian and exercise enthusiast. Read Laura's bio here. All of our bootcampers want to get the most out of their workout, taking nutrition into account. But sometimes it's tough to make the time to eat healthy or understand how to prepare foods! Check out Laura's post below detailing a quick, easy and nutritious recipe with one of the freshest ingredients in season right now - Kale!
I don’t know about you, but growing up in the 80’s, I never knew what that course green plate garnish was! I did know we used lots of it to decorate the salad bar at the restaurant I worked at, but no one actually ate the curly greens. Today, I know how delicious and nutritious KALE is, and include it several times per week in my quest to eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day!
Often, people don’t know how to cook kale and its bitter tastes keeps people from eating it raw. I do love to chop it up and saute it with extra virgin olive oil and garlic, but my new favorite way is in a chopped cold salad. This traditional Tuscan salad is made with strips of Italian black kale, fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, grated pecorino Tuscano cheese and bread crumbs. These bright, refreshing flavors combine to bring the sunny taste of Italy to your table.
Seriously, this is one of the MOST delicious salads I have ever tasted! Remember, recipes are just a guide; you can tweak ingredients to your liking! I have made this for hundreds of people and the outcome is always the same: PEOPLE LOVE IT! For extra flavor and color, I add chopped grape tomatoes. Some people add chicken or other protein to make this salad a main course. I know others that put this concoction on their sandwiches. Any way your serve it, this salad is a great way to get a mouthful of deliciousness and NUTRIENTS!!!
ABOUT KALE: THE SUPER FOODKale has everything you want in a super food! It contains heart-healthy antioxidants, Omega 3 fats, fiber, folate, potassium and vitamin E! Potassium rich foods not only help keep blood pressure low, but it helps to prevent muscle breakdown as we age! EAT MORE POTASSIUM PEOPLE!!!! In the form of your fruits and veggies, of course.
Kale is among the most nutrient-dense commonly eaten vegetables. One cup provides 1,327 % of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192 % of DV for vitamin A, and 88% for vitamin C. Eating kale also helps prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)! Its rich lutein content protects against early heart disease. It also contains glucoraphanin, a plant chemical that activates a special protective protein that creates a Teflon coating in your arteries to keep plaque from adhering! Bet you didn’t know THAT!!!
TUSCAN KALE RECIPE
- 4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black kale, midribs removed
- (if you can’t find the Italian black kale, use what ever variety is available, but the darker kale is less bitter)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- salt & pepper, to taste (salt is optional)
- hot red pepper flakes, to taste
- 2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese (Rosselino variety if you can find it) or other flavorful grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
- 1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread ( or you can use Trader Joe’s whole wheat bread crumbs)
- 1 cup chopped grape tomatoes
- Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
- Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
- Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again.
- Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add breadcrumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.
Be prepared to here oohs and ahhs on how delicious this salad is!!
Happy and healthy eating and exercising always!