There are many reasons to love kale. As one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat, its high content of iron, calcium and vitamins A, C and K aid in maintaining a healthy digestive system. The low-sodium superfood and natural anti-inflammatory vegetable is often used in soups, stews, casseroles and pastas and can also be enjoyed steamed and infused with flavored oils or seasoned salts. The best part is that you don’t need a steamer to delight your palate with this mode of preparation.
Steps to Steam Kale
Fill a pasta cooker, large soup pot or Dutch oven with 1/2 inch of water. Place a steamer basket or metal colander that isn't taller than the pot inside and allow the lid to cover it so that steam won’t escape. The colander will preferably have feet or a ring base to support the bottom above the water line, or handles that extend over the edge of the pot, allowing it to hover above the water to keep it from boiling the vegetable; boiling can leech out some important nutrients. (Kale can be blanched, however, with minimal nutrient loss.) If you don't have a colander, you can substitute a heatproof plate or bowl, ensuring that the water does not boil over the rim of the plate.
Heat the water on the stove over medium heat and bring it to a simmer. Cut a bunch of kale at a diagonal into 1/4- to 1-inch pieces, removing the stalks and ribs if desired. Don't throw those nutritious stalks and ribs away, though; slice them thin and add them to your next salad or blend them with your morning juice or smoothie.
Place the cut kale into the colander and cover. Steam the vegetable for 10 minutes or until it cooks to the consistency you desire.
Remove the lid carefully – opening it away from your hands and face toward the back of the stove so that you don't scald yourself – and check the kale. Add water and steam longer if desired.
Remove the kale from the pot with tongs and serve.
Additions to Steamed Kale
You can season steamed kale simply with salt and pepper, or consider throwing in some garlic while it's steaming to infuse it with flavor. Other ways to add a tasty twist to this superfood include sprinkling the steamed kale with your favorite seasoning salt or dribbling flavored oil over it before serving.
Kale with a Capital K (Vitamin)
People who take blood-thinning medication should be careful about how much kale they ingest. The vegetable is rich in vitamin K, which can have a blood-clotting effect. The vegetable is also a concern for those with thyroid issues; people with hypothyroidism may find their condition worsened by too much kale. The chemical properties that cause concerns, however, are almost completely destroyed by cooking.
On the other hand, people who avoid dairy should know that kale is one of the richest vegetarian sources of calcium, which helps your body strengthen bones.
Deborah Day is a lifestyle and entertainment writer and editor. Former editor in chief of Maxim.com and executive editor of Premiere.com, she has been published on EW.com, TheWrap.com, Yahoo.com, LAmag.com and other media sites, as well as in Maxim, Interview and Time Out NY magazines.