Es-kale-ate Your Summer Nutrition!
The last month of summer is here! Your energy and patience may be running thin as you inch closer to school starting back up and the weather cooling down. But don’t take the farmers’ market out of your routine just yet because it’s amping up, thriving, and ready for you to slow down and enjoy this last month of summer. Kale and cucumber, two versatile classics, are here and deserve a place on your plate.
Kale is packed with vitamins A, K, and C which can aid in the health of your skin, blood, and immune system. It also contains calcium to support bone health.
How to Store Kale:
Place unwashed fresh kale in a container or plastic bag lined with paper towels on the top and bottom and keep it in the refrigerator. Wash kale before you use it.
What to do with Kale:
Kale can be intimidating, but preparing it properly makes all the difference. Massaging the kale takes the bitter edge off and allows for a more enjoyable texture. It also helps with how your body digests kale, making it a win-win.
Kale is versatile and can be used in soups, made into kale ‘chips,’ or added to a classic salad. You may find a favorite when you use kale to make a simple side salad. Add it to any meal to get this leafy green superfood into your diet!
Simple Kale Salad:
- 2 bunches of kale
- Olive oil
- 2 jalapenos
- 1 medium shallot
For the dressing:
- Juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt and pepper to taste
- Wash kale and pat excess water off.
- Remove leaves from stems and discard the stems.
- Cut or rip kale into smaller pieces.
- Massage kale with 1-2 tbsp olive oil for a few minutes. Let it rest while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
- Finely slice jalapenos and onion, set aside. Depending on how spicy you like things, you can choose to discard the spicy seeds and membrane of the jalapeno, use some, or use all.
- Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil. If you have a frother, this can be used to ensure the oil mixes in well OR put it all in a jar and shake well.
- Add jalapenos, onion, and dressing to salad and mix well. Top with optional parmesan cheese.
- Serve as a side salad or add chicken and other toppings to make it a meal.
While cucumber is packed with nutrients, it also plays a role in promoting hydration. Because they are made of mostly water, cucumbers can help you meet your daily hydration needs.
How to Store Cucumber:
Wrap cucumbers in plastic wrap or paper towel and store in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator.
What to do with Cucumber:
Cucumber can be added to many dishes to give an extra crunch, eaten as a snack with sea salt and pepper, used in homemade tzatziki, or creatively fuel your summer soup craving.
This cucumber soup is refreshing and comforting, the perfect match for a hot and busy August leading into the fall.
Refreshing Cucumber Soup:
- 12 slices Italian bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
- 2/3 cup raw cashews
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 medium English cucumbers, peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups green grapes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or white wine.
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a blender, add cashews, bread and water. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Add cucumbers, grapes, garlic, vinegar, and salt to the blender. Blend until mostly smooth.
- Drizzle in olive oil and blend until smooth, about another 30 seconds.
- Chill, covered, for about 1 hour.
- Serve drizzled with olive oil and garnished with sliced grapes, sliced cucumbers, and chives.