I strive to promote kale over brownies.
I think it’s really cool that Kate is such a huge proponent of kale salads. I’d like to be like that. But it’s hard when slutty brownies are so sexy and I hate the taste of kale. The tiny bristles and sort of rough, rubbery texture? The bitterness that tastes like you just put overgrown weeds in your mouth? So gross. Why has kale came into vogue? Do you people actually like the taste? Discuss.
I can only assume that the nutrition facts are driving the craze. For one 33-calorie cup of kale, you get a gram of fiber, 2 grams of protein, calcium, iron, and a TON of vitamin A and vitamin C. That’s why I used to throw a bag of those rubbery plants into my grocery cart every now and again, but now…
I used to LOVE spinach smoothies, but on my 90% raw diet* last week, I decided I needed the extra kale powerhouse nutrition and drank a kale smoothie for breakfast. Every morning. Sometimes in the evening. And I’m in love. I crave my smoothies. You should too. They are so.freaking.good. It probably helps that more often than not, I make them into something that tastes more like a milkshake than what is essentially weed juice. Yum.
I feel like I’ve come close to perfecting my ideal kale smoothie, so I thought I’d share. Here’s how I make my personally perfect kale smoothie:
- Start with a base of almond milk and chia seeds. Chia seeds help thicken up the smoothie (the seeds absorb water and take on a gel-like texture, which is undetectable once they’re ground up) and add a boost of fiber, protein, and calcium. Sometimes I add a little water to thin things out.
- Add two large handfuls of kale. Wince. All that bitterness will be whirred away in a few seconds!
- Add frozen bananas. These are totally key. I leave bananas on my counter until they’re totally covered in brown spots, then I slice them into chunks and stick them in a plastic bag in the freezer. I add about half a banana to my typical smoothie.
- Add frozen fruit. This adds great, icy body to the smoothie and flavor to hide the kale. Strawberries have been my fruit of choice lately. I bought a sack of frozen ones at Costco and they’ve lasted me over a month. Win!
A dollop of peanut butter adds creaminess, protein and the final mask of flavor over the kale. Yum!
At this point, I always stop to taste and re-adjust. If I can taste the kale, I shudder and throw in more bananas/peanut butter/strawberries. Too thick? I add water or milk. Too thin? More fruit. Sometimes I add more chia for kicks. Or if I’m feeling particularly protein-deprived.
Hello, love of my life:
I think I should say that there’s always going to be a slight taste of kale, but the peanut butter, strawberries and banana make it totally AMAZING. I would suggest starting with spinach if you’ve never made a green smoothie before. I actually freaked out a little bit when I opened my empty vegetable crisper the other day and remembered that I had used up all my kale the night before. #problems
Shout out to Cassie of Bake Your Day–I won my amazing Blendtec blender from her giveaway and couldn’t be happier with it. It’s fearsome when it comes to blending kale and the soup function makes the silkiest broccoli soup I’ve ever tasted. The recipe booklet that comes with it is amazing as well!
*This 90% raw thing is going so well that I can see it becoming a way of life. I’ve been going strictly raw for breakfast and lunch with looser guidelines for dinner (sometimes beans are involved) and a mini muffin here and there is not completely off-limits. I think the key is that I don’t feel deprived at all. I’m just excited to see how my body functions on such a clean diet. Since some of you expressed interest, you can see an example of a day’s eats after the recipe jump! (Sorry if it’s boring. How do we feel about food log posts?)
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2-1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional, but highly recommended!)
- 2 cups kale (or spinach)
- 1/2-2/3 frozen banana
- 4-5 large frozen strawberries or other frozen fruit
- ½ tablespoon peanut butter or other nut butter
Add all ingredients to a blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth.
90% Raw Food Log
Breakfast: kale smoothie (recipe above). I like to blend these right before I leave for work and transport them in a large smoothie cup I stole from Erik. I sip on it while I check my email and it makes my mornings infinitely more fun.
Lunch: lettuce wraps with carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and pea pesto, inspired by Edible Perspective. Raw is all about embracing the food processor! I ate about 10 of these, no joke, a.k.a almost the entire batch of pesto. I also had half an apple and some cashews on the side.
Snack: an orange. Lately, my ritual has been to eat an orange on my way home from work every day. By the end of the day, I’m usually starving and the juicy sweetness just hits the spot. It helps keep the edge off my hunger so I don’t eat everything in sight when I get home.
Dinner: zucchini noodles with almond pesto. This was actually adapted from a recipe in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook–who knew you could find raw inspiration there? Also, raw carrots by the pound. I added cauliflower and cucumber to the plate this particular night and rounded out my meal with a big dollop of hummus (which is not raw, since the beans are cooked).
Dessert was a mini cappuchino muffin that I didn’t photograph because it’s not very exciting looking. And I wasn’t proud that I broke my raw streak for a muffin instead of say, steamed broccoli. But whatever–at least I didn’t feel deprived!
Basically, eating raw for me means a lot of crunchy raw vegetables, fresh fruit and nuts. The vegetables are the largest departure from my normal diet (I usually like to cook the heck out of them) but I think this is starting a good pattern.