Go for the Greens! Recipe: Braised Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts


Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts   photo Juan Carlo

Cultivated for more than two thousand years, kale is a nutritional powerhouse! This leafy green vegetable has more dietary value and fewer calories than just about any other vegetable.

One cup of cooked kale contains over 94mg of calcium and more than 1300 percent of the Daily Value of Vitamin K,¹ which has been linked to bone health and a reduced risk of bone fractures.

Kale is rich in vital magnesium, the mineral necessary to fully metabolize calcium, and contains a healthy mix of nutrients that promote strong bones. Kale contains considerable amounts of chlorophyll and is a very good source of Vitamins A and C, folic acid and iron. 

Research has shown chlorophyll to be a powerful anti-carcinogen anddetoxifier,² important in maintaining a healthy digestive system.  Chlorophyll helps restore the growth of beneficial intestinal flora and can be particularly helpful when using antibiotics, which wipe out the good bacteria along with the bad.

Kale contains an incredible amount of beta-carotene, the best known of the carotenoids. There are about 600 different carotenoids in the plant kingdom (antioxidants with strong anti-cancer properties) and is the compound that imparts color.

Choose the darkest green kale and avoid limp or yellowing leaves. Store fresh kale in the refrigerator for up to three days, rinse the leaves thoroughly and tear from either side of the tough center rib.

Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts is a colorful dish with a lovely balance of flavor and texture.  Pine nuts add a unique counter-point to the robust kale and sweet raisins. Chunks of meaty portobello mushrooms and crunchy carrots blend nicely with the baked tofu and white corn to round out this hearty dish. If you’ve never tried kale, this delightful dish is a great place to start.

Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts
From The Enlightened Kitchen, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. © Marie Oser
Sturdy Kale has a mild cabbage flavor and cooking brings out a natural sweetness.
8 Servings

3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 cups sliced baby carrots
1 large bunch of kale, rinsed, torn into pieces
1 (6 ounce package) Hickory Baked Tofu, sliced on an angle
3 ounces Portobello mushrooms, diced
1 cup frozen white corn, defrosted
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon tamari
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Toast pine nuts over medium high heat in a small, dry frying pan, shaking the pan until just begin to brown and are fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set aside. Heat oil and garlic in a 14-inch wok, 1 minute. Add onion, bell pepper and sliced carrots. Cook vegetables 3 minutes and add the kale. Cook 3 minutes or until kale begins to wilt. Add tofu and mushrooms and cook mixture for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the raisins, pine nuts, sherry, tamari, and nutritional yeast. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts
Nutrition Analysis, per serving: 2 cups

Calories 198,Protein 15g, Carbohydrate 28g, Fiber 5g, Fat 5g, Sat Fat .5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Calcium 105mg, Sodium 390mg.

Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV. Her latest book is The Skinny on Soy.  Follow Marie on Facebook and Twitter

1. Booth SL, Tucker KL, Chen H, Hannan MT, Gagnon DR, Cupples LA, Wilson PW, Ordovas J, Schaefer EJ, Dawson-Hughes B, Kiel DP.Dietary vitamin K intakes are associated with hip fracture but not with bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 May;71(5):1201-8.

2. Tachino N, Guo D, Dashwood WM, Yamane S, Larsen R, Dashwood R. Mechanisms of the in vitro antimutagenic action of chlorophyllin against benzo[a]pyrene: studies of enzyme inhibition, molecular complex formation, degradation of the ultimate carcinogen. Mutat Res. 1994;308(2):191-203.