This dish, featured in the book, Greens Glorious Greens by Johnna Albi & Catherine Walthers, is one of the most delicious ways I’ve found to prepare kale, a food we want more of in our diets for all its health-promoting effects. Known as a “superfood” because it is such an excellent source of nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese, it is also a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium, copper, vitamin B6, and potassium. Kale has also been shown in various studies to be associated with a lower incidence of various cancers, due to the high levels of active phytochemicals it contains. Furthermore, the carotenoids found in this vegetable, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, provide a protective effect against the risk of cataracts.
Kale with Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
¾ pound kale (about 6 cups, chopped)
2 cups water
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup raisins (dried cherries or cranberries can be used for a variation)
Salt to taste
- To toast pine nuts, place them on a pie tin or cookie sheet and bake at 325 degree for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Take care not to burn the nuts. Set aside.
- Wash kale and strip the leaves off the stalks* Discard stalks and roughly chop kale. Bring the water to a boil in a 10-12 inch skillet that has a tight-fitting lid. Add the kale and cook, covered, over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Remove and drain, saving the cooking liquid ( to be drank as a vitamin- and mineral-rich green cocktail known as “pot likker”–just try a sip at least! ).
- Rinse out and dry the skillet, then use it to heat the olive oil over medium heat, lifting and tilting the pan to coat. Add garlic and sauté for 15 seconds. Add raisins and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent browning or burning. Raisins should be glossy and slightly puffed.
- Add greens and stir to combine. Season with salt to taste and cover for a minute until greens are heated through. Serve hot, garnished with the toasted pine nuts.
* Leaves can be stripped by using one hand to hold stalk of individual leaf, rib side up, and the other to strip the leaf off the stalk with one quick motion. Alternatively, a knife can be run straight down alongside the stalk to slice each side of the leaf off.