Veggie Basics: What to Put In There

It is oh so easy, when talking about how to improve our diets, to get stuck in the language of deprivation.  Don’t Eat This, Don’t Eat That, Cut That, Avoid This, This Will Make You Sick, This Will Make You Bloated, Stop Eating What You’re Eating, Don’t Eat What You’re Thinking, You Shouldn’t, You Mustn’t, Don’t, Don’t Don’t EAT!!!!  I realize I may be the only one who occasionally still veers adolescent n my behavior and reactions but there’s only so much mustn’t I can take.

It is critically important when attempting to improve your eating habits to put more than a little of that mental energy into thinking about what you SHOULD eat rather than what you SHOULDN’T eat.  Focusing on the should and the can and the new and different and the experiments and the flavors is a framework of abundance and permission and excitement.  You are not a child; don’t spend all day scolding yourself.  Spend some time telling yourself what you can or even should do and then play with that suggestion.

So here we are, we’ve talked a lot about what you probably shouldn’t eat, and we’ve made lots of suggestions about what to eat, but I’m going to get real specific and direct just for a few hundred words here, and I’m going to annoy my father, because I’m going to tell you to eat kale.  Why?

I’ll let nutribullet tell you…

That one didn’t do it for you? How about this one from Sweetgreen

Buuuuut, you’re saying “I don’t like kale.  I mean I’ve never liked kale.  Okay, I’ve never had kale, but I don’t like spinach and that’s kind of like kale, so why should I eat kale.  Surely there’s something else I could eat – how about just something else green? Because I’m pretty sure I don’t like kale…”  Or something.  No, I’m not mocking you.  I’m giving you the speech from the monkeys in my head when Bigg Sis suggested I eat kale.  How about instead of eating a whole lot of something else that’s okay but not nearly as good for you, you just try some kale.  There’s a LOT of ways to go about this, so I’m gonna help you out.  I’m gonna just lay out a bunch of kale goodness on a kind of sliding scale of how much you need to like kale – kay?  I’ll start with the doubters.

Step 1: Surely you know what’s coming.  It could only be a slightly frozen fruity concoction into which you camouflage some kale.  Who’s to be the wiser?  Know who drinks kale smoothies?  My 6 year olds.  WIth delight.  Yup, all that leafy green goodness just slides right on in them.  There are a TON of kale smoothie recipes out there.  We’ve got a few here as well.  Bigg Sis’ favorite.  My favorite.

Step 2: I can’t speak for anybody else, but Creamed Spinach changed my whole relationship with greens.  I had avoided them vigorously before I tried creamed spinach, and then I was in like Flynn (who’s Flynn anyway, and what is he in?).  Bigg Sis and I avoid dairy these days, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some creamy stuff, and her creamy kale takes me right back to that creamed spinach love.

Step IMG_90413: Soup is a great way to ease your way into all kinds of food.  Whatever you’re not sure about is dancing around in a bowl with all kinds of bits you actually DO want to eat.  Putting kale in soup bumps up that nutrition hugely, adds some texture and color and makes for a fine and dandy meal. I recently made White Bean and Kale Stew from Kathy Hester’sThe Vegan Slow Cooker.  Fan-flipping tactic.  Ever put balsamic vinegar in soup?  I have now, and you should too. Fix it and forget it fo’ sho’.

Step 4: Maybe you’ve come to believe that you might actually like kale.  Time to try some Wilted Greens.  Tear the leaves from the stems of a whole bunch of kale.  Warm some olive oil in a pan, add some crushed garlic.  Add the kale and cook it until it is intensely green and softer, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with salt.  Add raisins and toasted pine nuts if you’re feeling fancy.  Delish.

Step 5: Raw and Massaged…  No you haven’t just flipped over the kind of blog you don’t want to read in public.  I’m talking massaged kale.  Yes, I’m serious. Try Ani Phyo’s Kale, Avocado and Sprouts Salad.  It is absolutely straight up fantastic.  The avocado works to dress the kale.  So fresh, so yummy.

IMG_9082Step 6: Kale as Salad. Tonight I needed to slap something super nutritious together for myself in a jiff.  So I grabbed the bunch of kale I bought this morning (my plants are recovering from a massive harvest a few weeks ago) and tore off enough to create a big old bed in the bottom of a pasta bowl, cut up about a quarter of an avocado, added about 2/3 c of leftover slow cooker burrito filling, topped with a spoonful of sunflower cheese and sprinkled on a little red wine vinegar and some salt.  Unbelieveable.

So there you are.  A whole lot of words, thoughts, ideas about what to put in there.  Abundant opportunities for plentiful, delicious, nutritious yum.  Stop scolding yourself and get a bunch of kale.  Delish.

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32 responses

  1. Okay, I am getting pine nuts to try the kale with raisins (can’t go wrong there) and pine nuts and also trying your salad idea with some leftover refried beans and I better make some fresh sunflower cheese. You are a FOK (Friend of Kale)…. okay, better go with KFC (Kale Friendly Cook). Thanks!

  2. Great post! Kale must be hitting some kind of popularity apex as this is the third blog I’ve read this morning about it. And I completely agree with your philosophy–I have always been more successful in helping someone make a healthy transition to have them add the good stuff before taking away the bad stuff, especially when it comes to sources of protein. Otherwise you end up being a starving binger.

  3. I love kale. It is a veggie that is very used in wintertime here in Belgium! I beginning to love it in smoothies, kale salad, kale chips, etc! I also love it thrown into hot veggie soups!

  4. Just came across your blog! I am always looking for new way to use kale (besides the typical smoothie). I am excited to explore the rest of your blog! Thanks for sharing.


    • Thank you for stopping by Lauralee! Smoothies are a great start for kale, but it really is more flexible than folks think, especially if you ease into it. Let us know if you give any of these a try!

  5. Have been introducing my family to kale a little at a time. Like you said soup is a great way to add it. Have also made some kale chips. Think I shall have to try the creamed kale. Great idea! I know they will like that!!

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