By now, nearly everyone has at least heard of the trendy, yet healthy, superfood known as kale.

Kale might seem like just another leafy, green vegetable to some people. However, those who keep up with food trends know kale is so much more.

Although kale has always been around, kale recipes started becoming officially trendy somewhere between 2007 and 2009.

Over the past few years, kale’s popularity has been hard to not notice – even if you don’t live in a foodie metropolis.

Image courtesy of worradmu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of worradmu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why did kale become trend worthy?

Some think kale’s popularity coincides with the desire we Americans have to eat better and live healthier lifestyles.  As we mentioned in one of our posts from earlier this year, the organic and locally-sourced food trend which was big in 2014 would most likely carry over into 2015 – and this definitely seems to be the case with kale.

As quoted in a post by Anna Brones on the Blue Apron blog, Kristen Beddard Heimann, founder of The Kale Project, sort of agrees. Beddard Heimann equates the soaring rise [of kale] to a combination of health awareness, an increased popularity in farm-to-table restaurants and the rise of the internet and high profile food bloggers and celebrities. As she puts it, a lot of it has to do with stars “creating a lifestyle that people aspire to.”

In this same article, Beddard Heimann also touches upon the influence of social media and how it has provided us with the ability to share our “personal relationship” with food with others in our social networks.

As she states:

If Instagram had been around when sundried tomatoes (1985) or arugula (1990) were hot, I’m sure there would have been more backlash because the trend would have spread so much like it has with kale. Kale just happened to be in the right place at the right time…

Kale recipes are incredibly healthy, as well as trendy

It turns out that kale is full of vitamins and nutrients, making it an excellent ingredient for the health-conscious – or for everyone, really.

Here are some of kale’s health benefits:

  • It is filled with antioxidants
  • It contains cancer-fighting and cancer-preventing nutrients
  • It promotes enhanced urinary health

Source: HealWithFood

Heal with Food also shares the following interesting facts about kale:

  • Kale is also known as borecole and cow cabbage, so if you cannot find kale in your local supermarket right away, you may want to check if borecole or cow cabbage is available. In the scientific community, kale is known as Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala.
  • Different varieties of kale are available. These include dinosaur kale (also called black cabbage and cavolo nero), curly kale (Scots kale), and Red Russian kale.
  • Kale has an ORAC rating of 1,770. The ORAC rating of a food gives an indication of the food’s antioxidant capacity. For the sake of comparison, raw spinach has an ORAC rating of 1,515, cauliflower has an ORAC of 839 and celery has an ORAC of 497.
  • When kale is cooked, it loses a significant proportion of its vitamin C and polyphenol content. However, cooking does not have a significant impact on the beta-carotene content of kale.

Kale recipes

Now that you understand why kale is so trendy and healthy, you may be ready to start enjoying it in recipes. Kale is truly a delicious and versatile ingredient, and there are many ways you can prepare it.

Here are a few different suggestions for preparing and eating kale:

  • In salads

Cookie + Kate provides 12 kale salads, along with excellent tips for preparing them. Click here to view the recipes.

  • In smoothies

The Blendtec blog shares 10 “Savory Kale Smoothies” on their site. Click here to view the recipes.

  • Sautéed, steamed, simmered, and baked…the possibilities are endless!

The AllRecipes site shares dozens upon dozens of scrumptious kale recipes. Click here to view them.

 

Have you been a fan of kale for a while, or do you have yet to try it?

Either way, we would love to hear more about how you prepare kale (or plan to prepare it), as well as some of your favorite kale recipe ideas. Please feel free to leave your comments below.