Kale – King of Super Foods

Kale – Roasted and Sauteed

Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

I love it when the work of chefs intersects the words of nutrition scientists. A recent example – the intriguing recipes for kale I’ve seen popping up lately.

When my grocery store had a sale on organic kale and I found three varieties, Red Kale (or Red Russian), Green Curly Kale and my favorite, Dinosaur Kale, also be labeled Lacinato, Cavolo Nero, Italian or Tuscan Kale. A type of cabbage, kale is in the cruciferous family of vegetables which includes broccoli, cauliflower and other leafy greens, hailed for their nutrient and phytochemical content.

Kale is a king of super foods. In a ranking of vegetables by nutrient content Nutrition Action Healthletter (1), kale ranked number one, followed by other superstar greens and some red and orange veggies such as carrots, bell peppers, and butternut squash.

Kale is as gorgeous as it is nutritious. I decorated my kitchen counter with a vase of Dinosaur Kale for days before surrendering it to a tasty sauté with bell pepper and olives.

Roasted kale is so easy you don’t need a recipe. My family devoured it like it was a platter of potato chips. The same night I took the remaining half of a bunch of kale (thinly sliced with ribs and stems removed) and put it in a Caesar salad with homemade croutons, spinach and other baby greens, tomatoes and the expected Romaine. Enjoying both recipes my daughter, Allegra said “I’m vegging out, Mom!”


1. Nutrition Action Healthletter Jan/Feb 2009. Rankings were based on content of calcium, iron, folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, lutein and other carotenoids.

Sauté of Kale with Bell Pepper, Shallots and Olives
Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

1 bunch kale, tough ends removed, washed and coarsely chopped*

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow or red bell pepper, chopped

½ cup finely chopped shallot or red onion

1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (such as rosemary and sage)

¼ cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt if desired along with the kale stems, if using. Simmer for 1 minute; add leaves and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes or just until tender but still crisp. Drain and reserve. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Swirl in olive oil . Add bell pepper and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot is tender. Stir in garlic and herbs and cook for a few seconds, until fragrant. Add drained kale and olives, and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until hot. Season to taste with black pepper and salt. Makes 4 servings.

*If leaves are large, remove and discard rib from each leaf. 

Roasted Kale: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stems and ribs from 1/2 bunch kale; slice leaves crosswise. Spray a large baking sheet with olive oil. Spread the leaves on the sheet and spray with more oil. Sprinkle lightly but evenly with salt and pepper. (I like a combo of Seasoned Salt and Lemon Pepper.) Place on the bottom rack in the oven and roast for 5 to 8 minutes, checking and stirring after 5 minutes.

Note: If you want to double the recipe and roast a whole bunch of kale, use two baking sheets and roast them one at a time. Piling too much kale on a single sheet will steam the kale instead of roast it.

Copyright © Lorelle S Del Matto 2011

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.


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