Kale is the rock star of the plant world. While people have enjoyed this vegetable since 600 BC, recent years have seen its atmospheric rise to fame. It became so popular, it was the butt of many hipster/foodie jokes. Now it’s easier than ever to find — hooray! I’ll take an encore of that kale salad, please…

This is Olivia, the iNatural blogger. Can you tell I’m enamored of kale? In the next few blog posts, we’ll be putting the spotlight on several different superfoods. Kale is a natural first choice, since iNatural’s signature dish is our special kale salad. So why should you eat more of this leafy green superfood? Read on.

What is kale?

Kale is part of the brassica family, close kin to cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. It’s easy to grow, which makes it an extremely affordable choice when compared to other foods that must be imported. There over 50 varieties of kale, including flat, curly, red, blue… even dinosaur! Try a few different varieties to find your favorite.

Why is kale awesome?

Kale is called a superfood with good reason. Clocking in at a mere 33 calories per cup, it contains:

  • Almost 3 grams of protein
  • All 9 essential animo acids
  • More calcium than a glass of milk
  • 100% of the daily recommended amount of vitamins A, C, and K
  • Some omega-3 fatty acids
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin for healthy eyes
  • Necessary minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc
  • 2.5 grams of fiber to keep you feeling full

(Nutrition facts via WebMD and  Dr. Nikki Noce)

How can I put more kale on the menu?

If you need one more reason to love this leafy green, it is extremely versatile and delicious. If you are a kale-skeptic, you have to try iNatural’s signature salad.

“If you think you don’t like kale salad, you have not tried the iNatural Kale Salad. Best I have ever tasted, sweet, crunchy, healthy…” — Michelle T.

Salads are our favorite, obviously, but iNatural also recommends preparing kale:

  • Sautéed with garlic and olive oil
  • As a hearty addition to soups
  • Baked with olive oil and salt into kale chips
  • In an egg scramble with a half-cup of quinoa for a power breakfast
  • Blended into smoothies or as a fresh juice
  • As a substitute for spinach or bok choy in Italian or Asian dishes

So what’s on the menu for dinner today? I think I’ll go for my all-time favorite side dish: braised kale with garlic. Yummmm.