Check out this beautiful kale from my garden!!
Now I am one of those people who will eat something that I don’t necessarily enjoy, if I know it is bringing my body many benefits. I honestly can’t say that I wake up craving kale, but knowing the vitamin punch that it packs, motivates me to cook this leafy green. Kale is packed full of Vitamin K which helps the body fight cancer, heart disease, and even prevents diabetes. Here are just a few other benefits from one cup-
- Vitamin A: 206% of the RDA (from beta-carotene). Vitamin A is key for good vision, a healthy immune system, and cell growth.
- Vitamin C: 134% of the RDA. Benefits are aiding tissue and bone grow and repair themselves. Vitamin C is also a great immune system boost and can help fight colds. It is also great for your skin, hair and nails!
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDA. Helps the body make serotonin and melotonin which are mood enhancers and your internal clock.
- Manganese: 26% of the RDA. A powerful antioxidant that seeks out free radicals in your body (cancer cells) and fights them.
And if this wasn’t enough, Kale also contains small amounts of calcium, copper, Potassium, Magnesium, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Iron, and Phosphorus! Crazy right?!!
So what goes well with this blandish but super beneficial vegetable? Why tofu of course! The only difference between tofu and meat protein is that you have to eat more tofu to meet the recommended dietary protein levels. In fact, every 100 g or half a cup of tofu yields approximately 17.19 g of protein. To get the protein benefit of 150 g of lean meat, you should consume 290 g, or a cup and a half of tofu. Tofu is healthier than a meat option since it is lower in fat and will actually help to lower your cholesterol!
Earlier I marinated some organic tofu in barbecue sauce. Now tofu can be a tough sell and just like fish, it is all in the way it is cooked. It can end up being one big mushy mess if not prepared correctly. After you open the tofu, drain all the water out and then lay it in between some paper towel and use a plate to press down upon it and squeeze the water out of the tofu. Tofu can hold a lot of water and it will also absorb any flavor or marinade you impress upon it. My favorite marinade for tofu is definitely BBQ sauce! If you can marinate the tofu for a few hours that is awesome, the longer the better! Just marinade it in the dish it is to be cooked in and cover in fridge for a few hours.
Pre-heat your oven to 400. Bake tofu for about 25 minutes, tossing about half way through. Before sticking it in the oven, give it a few sprays of the Misto olive oil to give it a little crispness.
Wash and chop your kale just like you would lettuce. There are a few ways to cook Kale, but my favorite method is to saute` it. Heat about one TBS olive oil in a frying pan and drop some chopped onion and minced garlic in. Saute` for a few minutes and then add the kale, sea salt, and crushed red pepper.
Continue to cook on medium high heat for only about one minute. Just long enough to cook the kale a bit, but not overcook it and make it soggy. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, lemon and fresh chopped cilantro from the garden. In the meantime, prepare some organic quinoa on the stove top. You could choose brown rice if you prefer. This is a perfect complement to the tofu and adds some extra protein!
A perfect side for this meal is a baked sweet potato. It balances out the spicy flavor of the tofu. Top sweet potato with butter-yes the real thing. Don’t fall for the alternative versions. They are full of processed ingredients! Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and top with plain non fat greek yogurt as an alternative to sour cream. If you have never tried that substitution, you will be hooked! Layer the rice or quinoa, kale and then tofu on top. This meal only took me about 45 minutes to prepare-simple and super nutritious!
Spreading the veggie love……..