It's no wonder health advocates and local food enthusiasts are crazy about kale.

It grows all year long in coastal BC, and is packed with nutritional goodness.

Kale is one of those cruciferous vegetables (in the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts) that contain both indole-3-carbinol (a well-studied substance containing cancer prevention properties) and sulforaphane, an important chemical that helps boost the body's detoxification enzymes to help clear carcinogenic substances and specifically stop breast cancer cell proliferation.

So get your greens with these delicious kale recipes!

Arame Kale Avocado Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

Salad Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup arame (dried seaweed), loose-packed
  • 1 bunch of kale (I like dinosaur or lacinato, but any variety works)
  • 1 avocado
  • dressing (recipe below)
  • handful sesame seeds

Salad Instructions

  1. Soak arame in tepid water for about 20 mins.
  2. Drain arame and add some salad dressing to cover/marinate it if you are prepping ahead or while you cut avocados.
  3. Wash kale and cut into big pieces (thirds).
  4. Steam until just tender; let cool in a big salad bowl.
  5. Make salad dressing in blender or chop garlic, chives and herbs separately and mix by hand.
  6. Cut avocados into slices (leave pit in the bowl if you are doing ahead of serving).
  7. Toss the dressing/arame and kale all together in the bowl until well-coated.
  8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  9. Add avocado gently at the end to incorporate without breaking too much.

Serve with more sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

Sesame Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 T grainy mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chives or green onions (optional)
  • salt/black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds (use half of these in dressing itself, and save the rest for tossing on top)

Crispy Kale Chips

I used lacinato kale (also goes by many other names: dinosaur kale, black kale, cavolo nero or Tuscan kale), which I find to be the most tender, but any other kale works really well too.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. With one hand, hold onto the thick stem at the bottom and use the other hand to remove the leaves from the central stem by "stripping” them off as you pull your hand along it.
  3. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner or clean tea towels.
  4. Tear or cut kale into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper.
  6. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with Dukkha mix (recipe below) or some salt and pepper.
  8. Eat within a day—if you keep overnight in fridge it totally loses its crispness, but still tastes good on salads, with rice, etc.

Dukka Spice Mix

Dukkah is a delicious Egyptian sesame seed and spice mixture. Traditionally, it is eaten by dipping fresh baladi bread first into olive oil and then into the spice mixture. Its crunchy
texture works well as a topping for salads, and adds a dimension of flavor to steamed vegetables, especially greens. Hints of cumin and coriander in the mix lend a nice flavour to pan fried fish (great on halibut!) tofu, or hearty stews. It's especially good with lamb.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup hempseeds (save for the end)
  • other good optional additions are 1/2 fennel and 1 tsp thyme (all these spices are great digestive aids)

Instructions

  1. Toast each whole spice separately in a dry fry pan (I like cast iron).
  2. Grind together in a coffee grinder/blender/mortar and pestle with salt.
  3. Add hempseeds at the end.

Sprinkle this mix on roasted kale, steamed greens or salads for a crunchy flavourful protein-rich topping. You can also use it as a spice rub for fish or tofu.

Additional uses:

  • Mix it with yogurt or kefir to create a zesty dip
  • Incorporate it into bread or savoury scone dough
  • Sprinkle it over the top of a loaf or biscuits before baking
  • Mix with a bit of butter /tahini or honey to add texture and flavour to a sandwich

Both a naturopathic physician and chef, Dr. Heidi Lescanec is passionate about good food, nutrition and the art of creating nourishing and beautiful meals. She has cooked for backcountry lodges, retreat centres, the movie industry and at Hollyhock Retreat Centre on Cortes Island. Heidi offers workshops in Vancouver and on Cortes Island through the Hollyhock Foundation. For more info, check her website www.heidilescanec.com or www.hollyhock.ca.