This is a very simple way to get some greens in.
I am not a fan of kale, which is unfortunate because, speaking vegetably, it appears to be unparalleled in terms of nutritional benefits. Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, high in folate, vitamin C and beta- carotene, so great for detoxification, high in iron, high in vitamins A and K and calcium, as well as sulphur. It helps prevent cancer, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s… And presumably the more kale you stuff yourself with the less room there is for ice-cream.
I mean, it almost sounds like you could only eat kale, doesn’t it? But aren’t you just fed up of hearing how good it is for you? And how suddenly it’s everywhere? Kale omelette, kale and quinoa salad, blah blah blah. Its current popularity makes it quite irritating, actually. One is tempted to rebel, in spite of the apparent superpowers it will give you. Plus it’s hard not to wonder if next year they’ll tell us that too much kale makes you infertile or something.
I’m afraid I am very suspicious of people who loudly declare how much they love kale. I have taste buds, and therefore I am sceptical. It's not exactly delectable is it? If someone says it's ok then I'm fine with that, but enthusiasm? For kale? Hmmm.
Its unremarkable taste is not the main issue. Rather the prickly, rubbery texture makes me remain frosty towards it. And the bloody stems! Give me a vegetable that requires zero preparation, like red cabbage, or chard. Now chard, I love. I could eat that at every meal, but annoyingly it’s not that easy to come by organic chard. Typical really. Annoying kale everywhere, but lovely rainbow chard remains scarce.
There is no question that the knowledge that something is good for you helps make it palatable (although this is not yet proving the case with liver, despite my repeated and costly batches of chicken liver pâté, consigned to the bin via a week in the back of the fridge, following genuine attempts to eat it followed by a few genuine gags), but I still don’t want to eat steamed kale or baked kale or kale chips, and I know Flora doesn’t, and yet we eat the wretched stuff several times a week.
This is because one massive advantage of kale, in addition to the list of nutritional merits mentioned above of course, is its aggressive blandness, so it’s actually a great veg to add to things. Flora unwittingly eats kale in all her soup, for example, and we add organic frozen kale pellets to all her rice, pasta, quinoa etc.
She needs more veg than the broccoli she will willingly pick up and put in her mouth, so I put kale, spinach, cabbage etc. pretty much everywhere I can. I even put kale in dinnertime winners like fish pie, spaghetti bolognese and shepherd’s pie, but she will always fish some out and scowl at it.
But recently I found another way to get her to eat it – raw! I put a mountain of it in a green smoothie, made legitimately green by the addition of kiwi. I told Flora it was a kiwi smoothie (not technically untrue) and she didn’t hesitate.
Here is the super-green smoothie I fed her which she loved. I watered it down and then the whole family shared it because it’s still a lot of fruit. I also threw in some parsley for good measure (also a beneficial bomb). I stopped short of adding in some garlic (I’m always spiking all our food with garlic – sometimes it works, sometimes I get carried away…).
Here is what we had in ours, but I think as long as you include the kiwi you’re good!
½ a bag of kale, washed and irritating stems removed
handful of parsley
handful of blueberries
It was a hit. Smug mode. I'll tell Flora when she's 18...