By Dr. Janet Brill
Few foods on earth can compare, nutrition-wise, to this leafy green—a true superfood. The dark green hue is a giveaway that kale is packed with vitamins, minerals and health-enhancing antioxidants such as beta-carotene. What’s more, kale’s filling fiber, bone-building calcium and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help support the body’s ability to fight off disease.
Plus, kale is easy to prepare. You can buy it pre-bagged, washed and de-stemmed. Or you can buy it in bunches. Simply remove the center ribs of its leaves, rinse well and then slice it into thin ribbons. Add this healthful pick to soups and stews in the last 20 minutes of cooking, coat lightly with olive oil, season and roast in a hot oven to make yummy kale chips, or sauté it with a splash of olive oil for a delicious side dish. Here is a delicious, heart-healthy, fiber-packed seasonal soup recipe to help you get some kale into your day!
Pasta Fagioli with Kale
Makes 8 servings
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14.5) ounce can of diced tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano
- 1 (48 ounce) box of reduced sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups uncooked whole wheat small elbow pasta
- 1 large bunch (or bag) fresh kale (stems removed and cut into small pieces)
- 2 cans cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and stir, cook another 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, broth and water. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Add pasta, cook 5 more minutes then stir in kale. Lower heat to medium and stir in beans, tomato paste and pepper. Simmer an additional 15 minutes. Serve warm sprinkled with Parmesan.
Nutrition per serving (~ 1 ½ cups):
- Calories: 280,
- fat: 7 g,
- Cholesterol: 5mg,
- Sodium: 810 mg,
- Fiber: 8 g,
- Carbohydrate: 42 g,
- Sugar 4g,
- Protein: 14 g.