Kale & Quinoa: Rock Stars of the Food World
According to Google Trends, kale recipes have nearly quadrupled in the past 2 years. Kale and quinoa are two super foods that have become the rock stars of the food world, in the past 8 years. Part of their notoriety stems from the versatile nature of both. Quick to cook, mild and blendable by nature, they work for all three meal times of the day.
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that has 36 calories in a 1 cup serving. It’s packed with vitamins A, C and E, as well as calcium, fiber, and carotenoids (which reduces the risk of certain eye diseases). There is evidence that eating an extra daily serving of leafy greens can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The types of kale available are 1. curly, which is bright green and tastes a bit tart 2. dinosaur (also called black or Tuscan), which is darker, with flat leaves and a nutty taste and 3. baby kale, which is more mild in flavor and the stalks are not as thick. When buying, avoid yellow or bruised leaves and limp stems.
To prepare kale, wash the leaves before you cut them and blot them dry. If the density of the leaf is off putting to you, try cutting it thin and massaging in an acid based dressing that includes lemon, lime or vinegar. This will help break the cell walls leaving it more tender. You can trim the leaves off the stalks. If you cook the kale, don’t over cook it. Add any flavor profile you are interested in.
Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Quinoa is considered a superfood. The protein content is very high, but not as high as most beans and legumes. Nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source of complete protein. Furthermore, it is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Use it as the basis of an entrée for a meatless dinner, as an element of a salad, or as a side dish.