Kale the Powerhouse Vegetable

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July 27, 2013

In the Health and Sciences section of the Washington Post this week, I read a brief article about the benefits of kale.  Last year, Anderson Cooper from CNN admitted that he had never had kale before and had to taste a kale leaf in front of an audience.  It was entertaining to see Mr Cooper eating kale for the first time in his adult life. He took a bite of this super vegetable and looked as if he was going to vomit.  Obviously, Gloria Vanderbilt did not make her son eat kale when he was young!

Several years ago, I was at Grand Mart, a Korean grocery store near Shady Grove Hospital in Gaithersburg.  I saw a woman from Africa shopping for kale. Out of curiosity, I walked over to ask how she cooked kale.  She happily told me a recipe of stir fried kale which, as an Asian, I modified by adding Oyster sauce or Soy sauce and turned it into a delicious and nutritious dish.

To learn about this “powerhouse” vegetable, I would highly recommend you read the excellent article “The Truth About Kale” written for WebMD by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD.  I will summarize the essential points about the benefits of Kale from her article and offer two easy recipes for you to try.

Kale belongs to the Brassica family including cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.  It is a highly antioxidant and nutritious vegetable.

 A cup of kale has only 33 calories and contains 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% Vitamin A, 136% Vitamin C, and 684% Vitamin K.  This high concentration of antioxidant vitamins such as A, C, and K make kale a wonderful vegetable to reduce cancer risk.  It is also a good source of potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. kale, especially when cooked, has a high fiber content which might help lower your cholesterol and, therefore, be cardio-protective.  Kale is also a nutritious vegetable for eye health.

  Because of the high content of Vitamin K, people on blood thinner medication such as Warfarin should not eat kale or have to consult with their doctors before eating kale. We should also avoid eating kale and calcium rich foods at the same time since kale has oxalate which can interfere with calcium absorption.

 KALE CHIPS: A popular and healthy party snack that goes very fast! I can eat these chips from a whole head of kale in one sitting! It is very addictive, the healthy kind of addition.  Some of you might wonder what they taste like? Some of us, including me, think they taste similar to the seasoned seaweed used to make Sushi in Japanese restaurants. Others think they taste like potato chips thinly sliced and just a bit more bitter. You have to try them and let me know what you think!


       One head of kale, thick stems removed, and leaves torn or cut into 2-inch pieces

(Note: to remove stems, you can use a pair of cooking scissors to cut the green leafy parts from the stems. You can also simply tear the leaves away from the stems)

  • Two to three Tablespoons of olive oil
  • Sea salt to sprinkle  


-Preheat oven to 350 F 

Wash the kale leaves, after removal of the thick stems, and then dry in a basket or a salad spinner if you have one.

  • Line a cookie sheet on a baking tray and spread the kale leaves on top
  • Sprinkle Olive Oil over the leaves followed by sea salt (to make the oil more even on the kale leaves, you can put the kale in a one gallon Zip Lock bag with olive oil and salt already mixed, and shake bag until the leaves are coated) 
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes (turn over halfway) or until crispy

– Keep kale chips at room temperature. They remain crispy for several days!



       One head of kale with leaves removed from thick stems and cut into 1 inch pieces.

  • 1 LB lean beef
  • A medium onion sliced or chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp of Soy Sauce or Oyster Sauce 

(Note: most big grocery stores have Oyster sauce.  Asian grocery stores have more selections.  There’s also “Vegetarian” Oyster sauce)

  • 3 Tbsp of Olive Oil


  • In a very hot frying pan, add half of the olive oil.  Put in half of the onion and garlic until golden brown
  • Stir in beef until brown. Remove meat from frying pan
  • Put in the rest of the onion and garlic until brown. 

       Stir in kale for two minutes or until leaves turn bright shiny green.

  • Stir in beef mixture, add Soy sauce or Oyster sauce and mix for another minute.

Serve with white rice or other grains like Quinoa!

Enjoy these kale recipes!

In good health, certainly if you eat a lot of kale!