Facebook Logo Twitter Logo Pinterest Logo

Nut Gourmet Blog Logo

only search Vegetarians in Paradise
VIP Bird
VIP Banner
Fill out your e-mail address to receive our newsletter!
*E-mail address:
*First Name:
Last Name:
Please let us know your location for special events:
Los Angeles:
(Outside USA):
Subscribe Unsubscribe


Vegan for the Holidays

Vegan for the Holidays has sold out its first printing.
New copies and the Kindle Edition are still available for purchase at Amazon.


Translate This Page

sphere Homepage

sphere News from the Nest

sphere Vegan for the Holidays Blog

sphere Vegan for the Holidays Videos

sphere Zel Allen's NutGourmet Blog

About Us


Weight Loss

Food History/Nutrition/Recipes


Nutrition Information

Los Angeles Resources

Cooking Tips/Recipes

Guest Contributors

Books/Media Reviews


sphere Archive Index

sphere Contact Us

*Privacy Policy: When you subscribe to Vegetarians in Paradise (vegetarian e-zine) your email address will not be sold or rented, and will only be used to let you know in an email what's new in our monthy web magazine.

All the world is nuts about

    What's in The Nut Gourmet

The Nutty Gourmet

Vegetarians in Paradise

On the Highest Perch


Kale at a Glance
History Medicinal Benefits Name Origin Folklore/Oddities Bibliography
Growing Nutrition Purchasing Preparation Recipes

Kale Recipes below

What used to be a frilly green decorative item in food displays is now recognized as a nutrition powerhouse. In the past, caterers would display a scintillating entrée by placing it on a bed of bright green parsley and kale. From just a decorative adornment for the "real food," kale has become the most valuable "real food" for the health conscious.

Chef Dan Barber had been serving kale chips to happy customers at his Stone Hill Barns restaurant in New York. When he shared his kale chip recipe in a 2009 issue of Bon Appetit, he noticed the vegetable jumped into prominence. By developing more kale recipes and presenting them in innovative recipes, he sparked such interest that Bejo Seeds, a seed company, began to notice a flurry of seed sales overnight. (Abend)

Kale is also driving the explosion of T-shirts that tout the passion for the leafy greens with a multitude of creative expressions. Here are some of the messages that might evoke a chuckle or two:

  • Real Men Eat Kale
  • Highway to Kale
  • Give 'em Kale
  • Kale University
  • Powered by Kale
  • Got Kale?
  • Half Kale, Half Ninja
  • Vote for Kale
  • Come Más Kale (Spanish)

Even Whole Foods Market in all of its stores recognizes the power of kale in its nutrition rating system called ANDI, an acronym for Aggregate Nutrient Density Index. ANDI is the creation of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, founder of Eat Right America and the author of Eat to Live.

Kale Kale's ANDI score of 1000 places it at the top of the scale in a virtual tie with mustard, turnip, and collard greens as well as watercress. Bok choy and baby bok choy, next on the list, score 824, almost 200 points below the 1000-point leaders. (Top Ten Andi Scores)

Kale and its relative, collards, are so close they even share the same Latin name, Brassica oleracea Acephala. Both have central leaves that do not form a head like other members of the Brassica oleracea family: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. The principal difference between kale and collards is the shape of the leaves. Collards have large, smooth, broad green leaves while most varieties of kale have a short thick stalk with crinkly leaves. (Kiple)

No one is certain about where kale and collards were first grown, but they were most likely descended from wild cabbage in Asia Minor and the countries around the Mediterranean where they were known to exist in prehistoric times. Kale was a valuable food for Stone Age hunter-gatherers because it could survive the severe winter cold. (Kiple)

The early Romans not only knew about Brassica, but also recognized its healthful properties and shared their knowledge in extensive writings. They grew collards and kale as far back as at least 2,200 years ago. (Kiple)

Theophrastus (371 BC to 287 BC), often considered the father of botany, described a curly-leaved non-heading cabbage that was most likely kale. He distinguished it from wild cabbage classified as Brassica erratica. (Root)

Cato "the Censor" (234 BC to 149 BC) wrote that the entire Brassica family possessed health benefits and suggested that it be eaten cooked or pickled. (Roberts)

Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (AD 23 to AD 79) in his Historia Naturalis described a bulbous plant like kohlrabi, leaf cabbages, and headed cabbages that was 12 inches in diameter. He felt the plant family had extraordinary medicinal properties and listed 87 medicines that were partially or entirely derived from Brassicas. (Roberts)

Animals instinctively recognized Brassicas as a valuable food source, and toward the end of the twentieth century livestock were devouring more of these crucifers than humans. That's why cruciferous vegetables were sometimes called "cow cabbage." (Root)

Because kale thrives in cool climates, it was easy to grow in countries like Scotland as well as regions in Northern Europe like Germany and Denmark. When first introduced to Europeans, kale was not as popular in Italy and France, although it appeared in the royal kitchen gardens of Versailles in 1620 and gained acceptance much later. (Root)

Kale Salad In 1980, food writer Waverley Root wrote that kale was eaten mostly in Southern US where it became popular as a result of the slave trade. "In the rest of the country, kale, once described as 'an old regular' in food stores, is disappearing from the supermarkets: it is not the kind of food which it is profitable to handle on a large scale, and as a result the northern United States is being deprived of it," wrote Root. (Root)

Kale is a definite cancer fighter with compounds like sulforaphane and indoles. It's loaded with beta-carotene, the plant form of vitamin A with one cup producing 10,000 IU of vitamin A, almost two times the RDA. Kale provides almost a day's worth of vitamins C and E and is also high in potassium and fiber. (Mindell)

When vegans are asked, "Where do you get your calcium?" they could quote Jo Robinson, author of Eating on the Wild Side, who reveals that one serving of kale provides more calcium than a six-ounce glass of milk. She also adds that same serving offers more fiber than three slices of whole wheat bread. (Robinson)

Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Eat to Live, The End of Diabetes, and Disease-Proof Your Child, emphasizes the nutritional value of kale by offering T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Kale is the new beef." Dr. Fuhrman originated the statement and began placing it on T-shirts in December 2010. The doctor has long touted green vegetables as an excellent protein source that should be the centerpiece of the plate instead of meat. He rates kale at the top of his Aggregate Nutrient Density Index or ANDI.


According to the USDA Nutrient Database one cup of raw chopped kale (67g) contains the following nutrients:

Calcium 100 mg
Iron 0.98 mg
Magnesium 31 mg
Phosphorus 62 mg
Potassium 329 mg
Sodium 25 mg
Zinc 0.38 mg

Vitamin C 80.4 mg
Thiamin 0.074 mg
Riboflavin 0.087mg
Niacin 0.670mg
Vitamin B6 0.182mg
Folate 94 mcg
Vitamin B12 0.000 mcg
Vitamin A, RAE 335 mcg
Vitamin A 6693 IU
Vitamin D 0 IU
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopheral) 1.03 mg
Vitamin K 472.2 mcg

Water 56.31 g
Calories 33
Protein 2.87 g
Total Fat 0.62 g
Carbohydrates 5.86 g
Fiber 2.4 g
Sugars 1.51 g


The USDA Nutrient Database also lists the following nutritional profile for one cup (130g) of cooked, boiled, drained kale without salt:

Calcium 94 mg
Iron 1.17 mg
Magnesium 23 mg
Phosphorus 36 mg
Potassium 296 mg
Sodium 30 mg
Zinc 0.31 mg

Vitamin C 53.3 mg
Thiamin 0.069 mg
Riboflavin 0.091 mg
Niacin 0.650 mg
Vitamin B6 0.179 mg
Folate 17 mcg
Vitamin B12 0 mcg
Vitamin A, RAE 885 mcg
Vitamin A 17,707 IU
Vitamin D 0 IU
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopheral) 1.10 mg
Vitamin K 1062.1 mcg

Water 118.56 g
Calories 36
Protein 2.47 g
Total Fat 0.52 g
Carbohydrates 7.32 g
Total Fiber 2.6 g
Sugars 1.62 g

Kale naturally contains the cancer-fighting phytochemicals sulforaphane and indoles. Sulforaphane helps the body produce cancer-fighting enzymes, while indoles help to deactivate estrogens that stimulate tumor growth. High in antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and especially vitamin A, kale boosts the immune system to protect against cancer and heart disease. Its potassium and calcium help to maintain normal blood pressure. (Mindell)

Kale is said to ease lung congestion and is a healer for the liver and immune system. Its juice has been used for treating stomach and duodenal ulcers. Nutraceuticals like lutein and zeaxanthin are present in kale and play a role in protecting against macular degeneration. Its indole-3-carbinol may provide protection against colon cancer. (Wood)

Kale According to registered dietitian Cheryl Harris of Harris Whole Health in Fairfax, Virginia, research indicates that kale contains 45 different flavonoids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities to inhibit the growth of cancer. Consuming high levels of antioxidants is associated with a lowered risk of some cancers, such as breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancer. Antioxidant carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin may provide protection from UV rays that can contribute to cataracts.

Harris also says, "Cancer studies seem to show that raw kale is more beneficial than cooked, while cholesterol studies seem to show that steamed kale is more beneficial than raw." She recommends including both raw and cooked kale in our diets. (Butler)

Coles or caulis were words the Greeks and Romans used to describe the entire cabbage family. The Latin name for kale is Brassica olacerea. Brassica stands for cabbage family while olacerea means without a head. (Pedersen)

In England kale was known as cole or colewort while in Scotland it was called kale or kail. Because Scots used the word "kail" as the evening meal, they chimed "kail bells" at dinner time, even when kail was not being served. (Davidson)

Kale is available year round and is ubiquitous everywhere these days. Kale seems to taste better during winter months. When purchasing kale, select crisp leaves with bright color and no yellowing or decay. Nowadays consumers have a wide choice of kale varieties that include:

Avoid kale with wilted yellowish leaves, a sign they have lost moisture and nutrients and have become bitter. Kale kept at 70 degrees will lose 89% of its vitamin C in two days, but stored in the refrigerator just above freezing it will lose only 5% during that same time.

Never wash kale before storing in the refrigerator as this will hasten spoilage. Simply wrap it in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator. Use the kale within a few days so it doesn't lose nutrients and become bitter. (Pedersen)

Kale can be used in salads, soups, side dishes, smoothies, chips, snack, sauces, green juices, and appetizers. It's so versatile it can be torn, chopped, minced, and slivered and eaten raw, dehydrated, or cooked in many ways. Stir-fried, steamed, braised, or fried, kale is king of the green vegetables.

Kale queens are crowned in Germany at kale festivals where people gather to eat kale dishes, judge kale plants, talk about kale, take kale tours, and drink beer (not made with kale). The Kailyard School of Literature, which includes J.M. Barrie of Peter Pan fame, portrayed Scottish rural life in a romantic way. Kailyard was their kale field. (Pedersen)

Kale thrives in a cool climate with loamy, well-drained soil and should have two to six hours of direct sun during the day. Though it prefers loamy, moist soil, kale will grow in sandy or clay soils. One packet of seeds will provide enough kale to feed between four and six people. Seeds should be covered by 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil one inch apart in rows 18 inches apart. (Pedersen)

Because kale stems are so tough, they are often discarded but can be chopped and added to soups and long-cooking stews. Chefs use a rapid technique for separating the leaves from the stems. By holding the exposed stem firmly in one hand, they use the other hand to slide along the stem with an upward pushing motion. In an instant, the leaves slip off the stem and can be torn into bite-size pieces to use in soups, salads, and stir-fries.

Because we've often tangled with kale salads that contained uncomfortably large chunks of the greens, we vowed to create kale salads that would never pose a challenge to eat with style and grace. The ideal solution was to compose a designer kale salad with mini bits of kale, along with other veggies that accent the salad with bright, colorful highlights and offer a pleasing variety of textures and flavors.

Holiday Confetti Kale Salad


Yield: 4 to 5 servings

    1 large bunch kale

    1 large carrot, peeled
    1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
    1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
    4 cups (1 liter) bite-size chopped green cabbage

    2 Fuyu persimmons, sliced into thin wedges
    1 (15-ounce, 424g) can sliced beets, drained or whole beets, quartered
    1/2 avocado, cut into bite size pieces
    Your favorite salad dressing

  1. Wash the kale thoroughly, dry it, and tear the leaves off the center ribs. Discard the ribs. Put about half the kale into a food processor and pulse-chop it finely. The pieces should be no larger than 1/4-inch (0.635 cm). Transfer the kale to a large salad bowl and repeat with the process with the remaining kale.
  2. Cut the carrot into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces, put the pieces in the food processor, and pulse-chop until finely diced. Transfer the carrots to the salad bowl. Pulse-chop the bell peppers and add them to the salad bowl.
  3. Add the cabbage to the salad bowl and toss well. Line the edges of the bowl with the sliced beets, form a ring of persimmons next to the beets, and heap the avocado in the center. Display the salad at the table before tossing.

One Hail of a Kale Salad

One Hail of a Kale Salad
With Cashew Caesar Dressing

Yield: 6 servings

    1 large bunch kale, torn into small bite-size pieces, tough stems discarded
    1 cup (240 ml) Cashew Caesar Dressing

    1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted dry roasted peanuts, coarsely ground in a hand-crank nutmill
    1 bunch red radishes, sliced
    1 Persian cucumber, chopped
    2 green onions, sliced
    1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
    1/2 cup (120 ml) sliced, pitted Kalamata olives
    1/4 cup (60 ml) well-drained capers

    1/2 ripe avocado, chopped
    1/2 cup coarsely shredded carrots

  1. Place the kale into a large mixing bowl and pour the Cashew Caesar Salad Dressing over. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale, mixing and massaging for one full minute to soften the kale and infuse it with flavor.
  2. Add the peanuts, radishes, cucumber, green onions, olives, and capers and toss well.
  3. Transfer the salad to an attractive serving bowl or platter and arrange the chopped avocado over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanuts and spoon the carrots into the center.

Cashew Caesar Dressing

Yield: 3 12 cups (720 ml)

    2 cups (480 ml) water, divided
    1/2 cup (120 ml) whole cashews
    1 clove garlic

    1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh lime juice

    3 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
    3 tablespoons dark miso
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum
    1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

  1. Place 1 cup (240 ml) of the water, cashews, and garlic into the blender and process until the nuts are broken down.
  2. Add the remaining 1 cup (120 ml) of water and the remaining ingredients and process on high speed until the dressing is smooth and creamy. Using a funnel, pour the dressing into a narrow-neck bottle for easier serving.
  3. Use immediately or chill and use later. Shake well before using. Refrigerated, the dressing will keep for up to 10 days.


Abend, Lisa. "King of Kale: Dan Barber." Time, November 18, 2013: 66.

Butler, Carolyn. "Eat Your Kale." Washington Post, September 24, 2012. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/eat-your-kale/2012/09/24/95a4d756-018f-11e2-9367-4e1bafb958db_story.html

Davidson, Alan. Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Fuhrman, Joel. Dr. Fuhrman: How to live, for life.

Greene, Bert. Greene on Greens & Grains. New York: Tess Press, 2000.

Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food Lover's Companion. New York: Barron's, 1995.

"Kale, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt." USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 25 http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3031

"Kale, raw." USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3030

Kiple, Kenneth F. and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas, eds. The Cambridge World History of Food. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Margen, Sheldon and the Editors of the University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter. The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition. New York: Rebus, 1992.

Mindell, Earl. Earl Mindell's Food as Medicine. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.

Pedersen, Stephanie. Kale: the Complete Guide to the World's Most Popular Superfood. New York: Sterling, 2013.

Roberts, Jonathan. The Origins of Fruits and Vegetables. New York: Universe, 2001.

Robinson, Jo. Eating on the Wild Side. New York: Little Brown, 2013.

Root, Waverley. Food. New York: Smithmark, 1996.

"Top Ten ANDI Scores."

Vaughan, J.G. and C. Geissler. The New Oxford Book of Food Plants. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Wood, Rebecca. The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York: Penguin, 1999.

Zelman, Kathleen M. "The Truth About Kale." WebMD

Click here for past On the Highest Perch Features

Vegetarians in Paradise

Homepage sphere Los Angeles Vegan Events Calendar sphere Our Mission sphere The Nut Gourmet sphere Vegan for the Holidays sphere Vegan for the Holidays Videos sphere Vegetarians in Paradise Diet sphere Vegan Survival Kit sphere News from the Nest sphere Vegan Recipe Index sphere Los Angeles Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants sphere Vegan Basics 101 sphere Protein Basics sphere Calcium Basics sphere Ask Aunt Nettie sphere VeggieTaster Report sphere Vegan Reading sphere VegParadise Bookshelf sphereHeirloom Gardening sphere Cooking with Zel sphere Dining in Paradise sphere Cooking Beans & Grains sphere On the Highest Perch sphere Road to Veganshire sphere Words from Other Birds sphere Using Your Bean sphere Ask the Vegan Athlete sphere Vegan Holiday Meals sphere Great Produce Hunt sphere Farmers' Markets sphere Natural Food Markets sphere Vegetarian Associations Directory sphere Links We Love sphere VegParadise Yellow Pages sphere Media Reviews sphere 24 Carrot Award sphere Vegetarian Food Companies sphere Archive Index sphere Contact Us

© 1999-2015 vegparadise.com