Kale: The King of Leafy Greens

f there was ever a leafy green vegetable you should include in your diet, that leafy green vegetable is kale. Most of us think we do a good job of getting our greens in by adding spinach to our salads, but we could shake things up a bit with dark, leafy kale.

Kale tops nutrition charts with its abundance of vitamin K, a vitamin known for blood clotting benefits. This leafy green is also an excellent source of vitamin A. The beta-carotene in kale is converted in the body to vitamin A, a micronutrient crucial for vision health.

From a cook’s perspective, kale stands up to a sauté without wilting too quickly and turning into a slimy mess.  To bring out the best in kale, just toss it with a fruity olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and lightly sauté it.

If you have a garden, I can assure you this vegetable is easy to grow. I left my plants in the garden after the growing season ended. When Seattle had cold weather this winter, you would have thought that kale would have frozen and died. Hardly– this spring, it grew like crazy when the weather turned warm.

I took advantage of this unexpected bounty and served that lovely kale with richly browned chicken breasts drizzled with a light and lemony pan sauce. Don’t forget to pile that garlicky kale on the side!

Colorful Curly Kale and Rosemary Lemon Chicken

Chicken:

16 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, flattened to an even thickness
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest,
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Kale:

8 cups kale, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pan Sauce:

¼ cup white wine
¾ cup chicken broth
½ small lemon, juiced
4 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

Servings: Makes 4 main dish servings.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, rosemary, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a dish.

 Heat oil on a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Firmly press chicken breasts into flour and coat well. Add chicken breasts to pan and cook 5-6 minutes per side until chicken is nicely browned and just cooked through. Remove to the oven to keep warm.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, heat one tablespoon olive oil and add the kale and garlic. Stir frequently and cook until the kale just wilts.
  4.  After the chicken is removed to the oven, add wine, chicken broth, lemon and capers to the chicken pan over medium heat, stirring to pick up the bits of cooked chicken from the bottom of the pan. Simmer 4 – 5 minutes to reduce the sauce by one third.
  5. Serve chicken with pan sauce and kale.

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 374, Total Fat: 11.60g, Cholesterol: 85mg, Sodium: 547mg, Total Carbs: 28.20g, Dietary Fiber: 5.98g, Sugars: 0.27g, Protein: 38.39g, Weight Watchers Points 8

Nutrition details obtained from whfoods.org, nutritiondata.com, about.com, and abouthomecooking.com. I am not a licensed nutritionist. I am currently a student at ACHS, working on a nutrition certification. Any advice in this column is strictly my opinion. Consult a licensed professional if you have health concerns.

It’s important to me that people have the ability to make good food choices, so Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right provides nutrition information and Weight Watchers points for every recipes.  I hope you’ll take the time to see what I’m cooking now.  -Kristi Rimkus