Kale is one of the most nutrition-dense foods available in the world, and it does it all while not contributing much in the way of calories. Kale, on its own, is cholesterol-free, fat-free, sodium-free and a great source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin C.
Kale has much more nutrition per gram or ounce than other more traditional salad greens, such as romaine lettuce or iceberg lettuce, mesclun or spring mixes. Kale is a true dark green leafy vegetable and is also considered a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli or cauliflower, with many cardiovascular benefits and anti-cancer properties that are still being fully researched.
All those nutrients and vitamins come with a very low calorie contribution. One cup of raw kale contributes just 7.2 calories. Depending on how you dress it up when you cook it, there may be additional fat and calories added.
You may see many different types of Kale at your local market. Here are the general classifications for kale. Curly kale and baby kale are usually readily available in most normal supermarkets and organic markets.
- Curly kale is usually deep green in color with ruffled leaves and has a pungent, bitter, peppery flavor.
- Ornamental kale, often referred to as salad savoy, can be either green, white, or purple and has a more mellow flavor.
- Dinosaur kale, or Tuscan kale, has a sweeter taste and a more delicate texture than curly kale and is often a blue-green color.
- Baby kale is readily available and has smaller, softer leaves that many people find more palatable than the larger ones.