Kalettes: The Latest “Hot” Veggie!

Earlier this year my husband & I were walking to his job only a few blocks from here. As we walked we noticed all the ornamental kale in front of  the office buildings along the way. They last through most of the winter, although by now they are not as attractive as this picture I took in February:

My husband wanted to know they were edible, so I Googled the topic and found out that ornamental kale is actually edible, but you probably would find it too tough to chew (and it might be heavily sprayed).

About the same time as we enjoyed the ornamental kale on the way to my husband’s office, The Philadelphia Inquirer posted an article on a new veggie, a combination of Brussel Sprouts and Kale, called Kale sprouts, or commercially called Kalettes. (They look quite different from other regular kale or ornamental kale. In fact, I think they look a little like the birdies used in badminton.)

So now  you can choose from several different kinds of regular kale, baby kale and kalettes. The advantage of the kalettes over Brussels sprouts is that they cook much quicker and are not quite as bitter as kale or Brussel sprouts.

Of course, by now, most of you know that kale has become the queen among green vegetables. Maybe its nickname could be Green Queen! From being a garnish on salad bars or used ornamentally in gardens, as in the first photo above, kale has become the darling the produce department as well as the snack department in the form of kale chips.

“This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.” (Source: nutritiondata.self.com)

The easiest way to cook it is to steam stir fry it and add a little olive oil and sesame seeds and use as a side dish:

You can also add it to soups, stews, stir fries and salads, although I have not yet tried these babies in a salad.(That will begin a future posting.) But when I prepared the dish above, I did snip off the very ends of each kalette because they had turned brown. In doing so, some the leaves become loose, but the dish still worked.

Here is a photo of my standard ayurvedic dish, kitchari, with the kalettes added during the last 5-7 minutes of cooking. Because they are small and leafy, the cooking is considerably less than broccoli or regular kale, but still longer than spinach, which cooks down in a minute.

To make kitchari, click on my link and add kalettes near the end of cooking the “ayurvedic stew.” 
http://www.menupause.info/archives/15343 . When I posted this dish around Thanksgiving, I did not even know about these, so now I can add it to many of my dishes that call for leafy greens.

Kalettes with Kitchari

Since March is National Nutrition Month, I think this new Green Queen veggie is perfect way to end the postings for this month. March also heralds in Spring and all things green.  And in March we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with green, as well. All in all, green stands tall!!

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