When was the last time you had some kale? Yesterday? Last week? Never?
The fact is kale is often neglected when it comes to choosing your greens. It’s certainly not most people’s first choice when it comes to preparing salads or vegetable side-dishes.
So, why should you choose kale? What are the nutritional benefits of kale juice? And is it even a good idea to use kale in smoothies?
Here are facts about kale, plus kale juice recipes, kale smoothie recipes, plus, as a bonus – crunchy kale chips recipe!
Let’s get going!
What Is Kale?
Kale is really the King of Greens. Dr. Joel Fuhrman ranks kale as one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Kale belongs to the Brassica family (Brassica oleracea). This family also includes broccoli, bok choy, kohlrabi, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage and collard greens. All these greens are well known for their sulfur-containing phytonutrients, which are claimed to help with cancer prevention.
There are many health benefits to eating kale on a regular basis. Kale is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese, and is a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, calcium, vitamin B6, and potassium. So why not add it to your family’s diet with these easy recipes!
Kale Juice Recipes
If you have tried to make kale juice before and it tasted horrible, you may have given up. Plus, some juicers are just not made to juice something like kale. However, with the right kale juice recipe, you will love drinking this green! Just remember that greens are too potent and strongly flavored to juice on their own. Always mix them with other veggies and fruits.
Make sure you thoroughly wash your greens. Some of the leaves come from right on top of the ground and are usually covered in grit and sand.
You’ll need a lot of kale to make juice. A 1.5 pound bunch of kale yields about 1 cup of vivid green juice using Breville 800JEXL juicer. You will get more from the kale if you roll the leaves into balls and juice them together with the carrots and apples.
Green Kale Lemonade
Green lemonade contains a big bunch of kale in it along with apples, celery, ginger, and an organic lemon. It tastes amazing.
1 bunch of kale
2 stalks of celery
1 inch piece of ginger
1 lemon with the ends cut off.
Wash all your goodies thoroughly and pass through the juicer. Ginger adds heat to this tart kale limeade.
Miracle Tonic Kale Juice Recipe
This variation has some carrots and cucumber added to the mix.
4 Medium carrots
2 Stalks celery
1 Big or 2 small red apples (pitted)
4 Kale leaves
2 inch length of cucumber (peeled)
Run ingredients through your juicer. Yield about 2 servings.
Tip 1: If you feel like having a special treat, you can add some watermelon or cantaloupe chunks if available. This may push the juice quantity up to 3 small servings.
Tip 2: You can add some ginger for extra bite if you wish. Lemon also goes well with this combination.
Minty Kale Juice
Mint adds an interesting touch to this kale juice.
1 1/2 pounds kale
4 peeled parsnips
4 large (or up to 8 small) green apples
1 lime (more or less to taste)
12 ounces mint leaves (about 2 large bunches)
yield: makes about 1 pint of juice, serving two.
Juice and enjoy!
Mixed Greens Juice Recipe
2 limes, zest removed
½ bunch Swiss chard
½ bunch kale
½ bunch dandelion
2 Granny Smith apples
Juice and enjoy!
Here is a good one – a Bloody Mary inspired non-alcoholic kale drink.
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes (they taste better than out-of-season regular tomatoes)
about 1/2 pound kale
4 ribs celery
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Dash hot sauce
Garnish: celery rib
Mix horseradish and soy sauce in a glass. Add tomato juice and stir well until horseradish is well distributed. Add kale juice, celery juice, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Stir well. Serve with celery rib garnish, over ice if desired. Serve immediately. Makes about 1 cup juice (Recipe via Seriouseats).
Enjoy with some crunchy kale chips!
Kale Green Smoothie Recipes
Drinking your greens juiced is great, but sometimes you want something more substantial. Green smoothies provide more calories and fiber, and are much more filling, so they can even replace the whole meal. Plus kids really love them!
I love using kale in green smoothies for myself and my family. It really is mild tasting, so you usually don’t even know it’s there. The fruits really help to mask the strong flavor of the greens, making them much more palatable.
Strawberry Kale Banana Smoothie
1 large ripe banana
3 kale leaves
1 ripe pear
1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup water
Kale Power Smoothie
1 Medium to large ripe banana, peeled
2 Kale leaves, washed
1 celery stalk
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Honey (optional) as a sweetener
1 cup water
If you like, you can also add 1 cup yogurt or kefir to add some healthy probiotic and more creaminess to your smoothie.
Here is a recipe for a healthy alternative to potato chips. These crispy little bites of raw kale nutrition are a big hit with young kids (and adults).
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Wash 1 bunch of curly kale and cut into chip smaller pieces.
3. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil.
4. Add some seasoning to taste: salt, pepper, etc.
5. Add the juice of 1 lemon
6. After you’ve massaged your kale with oil and seasoning for a few minutes, take about 1 table spoon of honey or agave and slowly drizzle it over the kale.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes.
8. Be amazed!
The kale will shrink quite a bit, so make more than you think you need. If your oven can be set on a warming temperature, around 100°F, then you can also make raw kale chips in the oven. Otherwise you’ll need a dehydrator to make raw kale chips. If using dehydrator, let dehydrate 12 plus hours, until Kale is crunchy!
Nutritional Benefits Of Kale Juice
Kale is a superstar in the arena of carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. It’s also a rich vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, tryptophan, potassium and copper. It also sports other important antioxidants such as lutein. The calcium in kale is absorbed well by the body. The flavonoids such as quercetin act as powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients.
According to recent research results, kale is an incredible source of well-absorbed calcium, which is one of the many factors that may help prevent osteoporosis.
One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids that helps regulate the body’s inflammatory process. A megadose of vitamin K further aids to fight against excessive inflammatory-related problems, such as arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and asthma.
What is more, one cup of kale has only 36 calories and zero grams of fat, which makes it a great diet aid. Furthermore, one cup contains nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating.
So, What Is Kale Good For?
Kale can pretty much benefit your whole body
Your skin, eyes, nails, bones, heart (and cholesterol levels), and your digestive system all benefit. It helps prevent cancer, strengthens immune system, fights inflammation, helps detoxify your body. On top of that, regular consumption of leafy greens, such as kale, helps regulate blood sugar levels (preventing diabetes) and helps maintain healthy weight.
How To Choose Kale
The richer the color of the leaves, the higher the nutrient content will be. Make sure that the kale looks fresh and not wilted. Avoid leaves with a lot of yellow or decay. Smaller, tender leaves are best. Pay attention to the stems as well. Make sure that they have a healthy appearance and trim off any thick stems and small blemishes before juicing or cooking.
You can choose either the dark green curly kale or a purple variety. Alternatively you can opt for ornamental kale, which has a less potent flavor. Dinosaur kale is a slightly sweeter choice.
Greens can be used in salads and in place of lettuce on sandwiches. However, for these purposes, use only very young, small, tender leaves. Kale is also delicious when steamed with diced onions, and garlic, a little bit of salt and pepper.
The bitter taste of kale becomes more pronounced the longer it is stored, so it’s best to use it when still fresh. Kale keeps quite well in the fridge, provided that you store it unwashed. As with most of your green leafy veggies, it is a good idea to wrap the leaves in a paper towel, before placing it in a plastic bag. The paper towel helps to absorb moisture and therefore keeps it fresh for a longer period. You can also freeze kale for later use. This works well for smoothies and juices. Wash and dry the kale thoroughly, then shred it and place it in a plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible, before freezing.
It’s best to buy kale grown with the organic method so that all the nutrition is kept intact, and no toxic, systemic pesticides have made their way into the leaves where they cannot be washed off.
Under the law, organic farmers cannot use chemical pesticides or genetically modified organisms which increase pesticide exposure. Unfortunately, when grown with petrochemical pest controls, kale is number 12 in the Dirty Dozen, tying with collar greens and slightly less than lettuce. Chemical pesticides are toxins, and eating lots of them can be toxic to the central nervous system –including the brain and spinal column, others may disrupt the endocrine function in the body which secrets hormones directly into the blood stream; they may increase the risk of cancers and other diseases. We should all take precautions to reduce our exposure to pesticides including the residues on foods that we eat.
Note: Kale contains oxalates or oxalic acid. If you have had any problem with your kidney or gallbladder, it is usually recommended that you ask your doctor or nutritionist before ingesting foods high in oxalic acid. Even though kale isn’t as high in oxalic acid as spinach, you may need to avoid or limit the amounts of kale that you eat.
Submit a Juice Recipe or a Juicing Tip
If you have a favorite recipe or want to share a review of your favorite juicer, why not submit it here in the comment section for others to enjoy too!
And read more about the benefits of juicing on this juicing site.