10 Creative Recipes With Kale

10 Creative Recipes With Kale

No matter what way you take your kale, just be sure you’re eating it. One cup of the steamed cruciferous vegetable provides 1,328 percent of your daily needs of vitamin K and 354 percent of your vitamin A, kicking carrots to the curb in the eyesight department. The vitamin-packed plant even provides a few key omega-3s, such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which has been shown to help reduce inflammation. Whether you’re intimidated by kale’s tough texture or blending up green drinks by the gallon, there are plenty of ways to sneak in more of this good-for-you ingredient. And because it’s so nutrient dense, a little bit goes a long way. Here are 10 creative ways to make kale work for you in honor of National Kale Day!

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1. Kale Guacamole
Guacamole has become the dip of choice for the health-conscious crowd thanks to heart-healthy monounsaturated fats found in naturally creamy avocados. Combine that with the superfood kale, and you’ve got a guaranteed hit. Try this recipe as an appetizer or a topping on everything from eggs, sandwiches and salads. Photo and Recipe: Healthy Recipe Ecstasy

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2. Crispy Kale and Mushroom Fried Rice
When it comes to kale, the idea is usually to soften the leafy greens but this recipe embraces it. A quick lap around the wok creates tasty kale crisps in just minutes. In addition to the added crunch, the stir-fried kale gives usually nutrient-light fried rice a boost. Photo and Recipe: Diana Quan / Appetite for China

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3. Kale and Black Bean Brownies
This recipe may sound too healthy to be good (it uses whole wheat flour and plain yogurt, in addition to kale and beans) but just look at those brownies! Both cakey and fudgy, these may be the most fiber-packed, vitamin-heavy brownies you’ll ever meet. Photo and Recipe: Tiffany Haugen / Tiffany Haugen

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4. Chef AJ’s Disappearing Lasagna
Normally a calorie-bomb with few vitamins and nutrients, this vegan lasagna recipe gets a healthy makeover with numerous good-for-you additions. Nuts and nutritional yeast combine to make “Parmesan,” while your choice of tofu or white beans create the creamy “cheese” filling. With strong flavors like basil, pine nuts, red pepper flakes and red onion complemented by hints of miso and tamari, we guarantee you won’t notice the lack of actual dairy. Photo: Wendy / Healthy Girl’s Kitchen; Recipe: Chef AJ / Unprocessed

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5. Kale Pesto Roasted Cauliflower
Two superfoods join forces in this veg-heavy side dish. Rather than rely on fat and calorie-laden dips or sauces to spice up plain cauliflower, this recipe turns to kale. Just a small serving, less than a quarter cup, satisfies the recommended daily intake for vitamin C. But feel free to eat more — this flavorful healthy snack is addictive! Photo and Recipe: Heather Jennings / Poppy Haus

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6. Loaded Raw Kale Salad
This recipe may be the gold standard in healthy eating. It’s a salad, it’s raw, it’s made with kale, and it’s just plain good! Just be sure to thoroughly massage the kale to break down the hearty greens’ tough fibers. Golden beets balance the bitter greens’ flavor in this low-calorie masterpiece. Photo and Recipe: Lindsey Johnson / Cafe Johnsonia

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7. Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Kale Enchiladas
Enchiladas don’t have to be a guilty pleasure when they’re filled with all sorts of fresh ingredients. Fiber-packed black beans give the meal protein and help keep you full. The potatoes add a hint of sweetness without a spike in blood sugar. Low-calorie kale rounds out the filling. And don’t feel too bad about that cheesy topping — it provides the fat needed to best absorb nutrients like the beta-carotene found in those sweet potatoes. Photo and Recipe: Jill / Foodtastic Mom

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8. Garlicky White Bean and Kale Stew
Move over chicken soup, this recipe is good for the soul — and the body! In addition to kale, this soup serves up a hearty does of tomatoes, both rich sources of cancer-fighting carotenoids. Pair these protective ingredients with flavorful garlic, paprika and chili flakes and you’ve got yourself a bowl of goodness. Photo and Recipe: Sarah Britton / My New Roots

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9. Kale and Leek Strata
Start your day off right! This produce — and protein — packed egg dish includes kale, tomato and leeks, the often-forgotten cousin of garlic and onions. Like its more pungent relatives, leeks contain compounds that lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well quercetin, an antioxidant that heals with issues like high cholesterol and heart disease. Photo and Recipe: Melanie / A Beautiful Bite

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10. Kale, Garlic and Caramelized Onion Panini
Kale, garlic, caramelized red onion and crushed red pepper bring a flavorful update to the comfort food class, grilled cheese. And thanks to the extra ingredients, just one ounce of cheese is used per sandwich, keeping the calorie count in check. Recipe and Photo: Anjali / The Picky Eater

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