A kale-bashing reprieve: National Kale Day (with yummy recipes)

Kale comes in many varieties, some of them gorgeous like this one, called ‘red kale.’ Really now, who can hate such a pretty veggie?

by Katerina Lorenzatos Makris ~

Kale goes into juices and smoothies for an extra wallop of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and even some protein.

In case you haven’t noticed, kale has become the victim of bullies. Suddenly everybody loves to make fun of it, or worse.

In one recent U.S. TV commercial, a woman in boxing gear slugs at a punching bag while grunting, “I hate kale!”

Um, really? That much? Wow.

Kale is the hapless butt of countless jokes and snarky cracks. Television talk show hosts often kale-shame their vegan celebrity guests. “So… what’s your typical breakfast? Raw kale, right? With, like, kale milk or something? Some nice hot kale pancakes? How about some kale syrup? They make that? And kale sausage? So tasty. Hahaha.”

Such wit.

Ganging up on kale

Kale-shamers may tease all they like, but the fact remains that dark green leafy veggies like kale are outrageously good for us.

TV comedy writers join the mob. Whenever sitcom characters try to go vegan, the script inevitably features a scene in which disapproving friends and family come over for a kale-centered meal. The writers then have a grand old time targeting it with a barrage of derogatory one-liners from the meat-lover guests. And of course by the end of the episode, the vegan characters have come to their senses, disavowed the crazy kale fad along with the goofy vegan plan, returning to a normal diet.

Squadrons of folks who have never even tasted kale feel compelled to sneer and snicker at the dark leafy green whose only crimes appear to be that a) it is not iceberg lettuce (nobody seems to utter a peep against iceberg lettuce), b) it is incredibly good for you—one of the most nutrient-dense veggies around, and c) it is much beloved by health fanatics.

Kale fans rising up

Of course in some circles kale is phenomenally popular. It enjoys the devotion of millions of enthusiastic diners and juicers around the world. But with all the anti-kale propaganda out there, I was absolutely astonished to find that there are enough folks who love it, and who love it so very much, and enough folks who grow it, and who grow it for a living, that kale now has its very own… are you ready for this?… it’s very own day!

Yep, this poor, beleaguered little leaf is the star of National Kale Day, October 4.

Due to its somewhat reptilian appearance, this variety is called ‘dinosaur kale’–a cool name and tasty too.

So on Kale Day, or on any other day when we’d like a generous dose of vitamins A, C, and K, of lutein for our eyes, of antioxidants to ward off cancer, and of calcium, phosphorous and zinc, let’s not pick on kale, let’s just pick it! If not from our own gardens, then we can try our local grocer’s produce aisle or farmer’s markets.

Today at a supermarket I found three different varieties of kale—curly, red, and dinosaur (extremely cool name having to do with its glossy, leathery appearance)—for $1 each, and organic to boot.

I haven’t decided what to do with them yet, so I went online for recipe ideas. And I must say, it was refreshing to find plenty of kale appreciation instead of the kale-bashing hate speech everywhere else.

Below you’ll find just a few of the many yummy possibilities from around the web.

Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen offers some awesome items like Strawberry Kale Salad, Smoky Kale and Chickpeas with Miso Peanut Drizzle, and Kale and Sweet Potato Pizza.

On One Green Planet you’ll find a smorgasbord of great kale recipes such as Creamy Baked Penne with Kale and Fennel, Smoky BBQ Kale Chips, and yes… Kale Brownies!

For a nice autumn lunch you could try Vegan Heaven’s Kale Potato Soup paired with their Tofu and Kale Pesto Sandwich.

I think even the most fervent kale-haters might be won over by Ambitious Kitchen’s Detox Green Monster Smoothie.

It’s easy to throw together a simple, delish, and nutrient-packed bowl of kale, quinoa, cranberries and almonds.

Bon appetit from RescueDiva.com, and all hail kale!

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Katerina Lorenzatos Makris is a career journalist, author, and editor. Her fiction includes 17 novels for Simon and Schuster, E.P. Dutton, Avon, and other major publishers (under the name Kathryn Makris), as well as a teleplay for CBS-TV, and a short story for The Bark magazine. She has written hundreds of articles for regional wire services and for outlets such as National Geographic Traveler, The San Francisco Chronicle, Travelers’ Tales, NBC’s Petside.com, Animal Issues Reporter.com, and Examiner.com (Animal Policy Examiner).

Together with coauthor Shelley Frost, Katerina wrote a step-by-step guide for hands-on, in-the-trenches dog rescue, Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know About Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need (The Lyons Press).

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