In Season: Kale

If kale’s rough texture and earthy flavor intimidate you, consider one more reason to step out of your comfort zone: This wild cabbage has more nutritional value in fewer calories than most foods you’ll find in the produce aisle. Rich in calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K, kale also has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and 10 times more lutein. Although you can find this supergreen year-round, now’s the time to buy it: A light frost produces especially sweet leaves. Try one of these easy recipes from Stephanie Bernstein, our cover girl and founder of To-Go Ware, to make preparing kale tastier and less intimidating:

No-Cook Massaged Kale
In a large bowl, combine 1 very finely chopped bunch of kale, 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Using your hands, massage all the ingredients together—tenderizing the greens without having to cook them. Add tomato, avocado, and chili powder for a Mexican flair.

Steamed Sesame Kale
In a large steamer, place one large leek, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds. Steam until translucent, mixing occasionally; then add one head of kale, chopped into large pieces. Steam just long enough so that kale is tender, but not soggy. Remove, and toss in bowl with 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, a few splashes of tamari or soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar or lemon juice. Salt to taste.

Greek-Style Kale Salad
In a large pot of boiling water, blanch 3/4 of a pound of kale leaves until just tender, about 1 minute. Drain, and rinse under cold water to cool. Transfer kale to a clean kitchen towel, and press dry. Fluff up the leaves, coarsely chop, and transfer to a large bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, and 2 ounces crumbled feta to the kale. Add the dressing, and toss to coat. Great by itself, or chop finely and use as a stuffing for roasted red bell peppers.

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