K: Kale

Recently my husband and I decided to eat a more plant based diet. Don’t freak out. We’re not giving anything up completely! We’re still eating meat and dairy products but just more sparingly. I will spare you the multiple reasons-just know, it’s a good choice. And a realistic one for us. We are seriously loving it!

Even though we’ve always been big veggie lovers, we’re including more vegetables in our diet.

My kids didn’t even notice…they weren’t big meat eaters to begin with. It was always the part of the meal that they poked around their plate and choked down…gagging, watery eyes-the whole bit. So if they only eat meat the occasional time-they’re fine with it. And I know everyone is concerned about protein levels, but don’t worry.

I’m a Nutritionist-I know where I can get vegetable protein, so stop worrying Mom and Dad :). Besides, the average person eats WAY more protein than they actually need. Plus the amount you need all depends on your activity level and what you’re trying to accomplish. No less than .36 grams per pound of body weight and no more than 1 gram per pound for active people. So that works out to about 50 grams of protein a day for the average person (give or take).

With meat, that would look something like this:

  • 2 eggs for breakfast = 12 grams
  • Milk, one cup = 8 grams
  • 1/2 chicken breast at lunch = 15 grams
  • 1 pork chop for dinner = 20 grams

With a Plant Based diet, it could look like this:

  • 2 tbsp. nut butter for breakfast = 8 grams
  • 2 tbsp. flax seeds = 4 grams
  • Soy milk, one cup = 8 grams
  • Split pea soup, one cup = 10 grams
  • 1/2 cup beans = 10 grams
  • Quinoa, one cup = 9 grams

Less than you thought, eh?

So ANYWAY, kale. Kale, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is a total POWERHOUSE. One cup of this leafy green gives you protein, fibre, more than enough vitamin A and C, calcium, potassium, omega-3s and antioxidants. One of the crazy things about kale though, is the amount of vitamin K (get it, K for kale?) you get. More than 1000% of your daily requirement in one cup!

Vitamin K is important for blood coagulation. Plus, low levels of this vitamin have been linked to weakening of bones and calcification of arteries but increasing your dosage can prevent fractures in your future. There’s a reason to eat some kale!

Kale can be a hard one to get people to enjoy. Unless you really like your greens (like I do), converting people to kale lovers can be difficult.

Well-I found the solution. DUMPLINGS. Who doesn’t like a delicious dumpling with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce? I crammed a bunch of kale in there and served them to our friends who came over to watch the hockey game.20150328_163340

They disappeared.

And I mean GONE. Quickly. These are a surefire hit!

Plus the kids helped me make them! Family fun plus delicious results? Ok, I’m in.20150328_163435

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sweet potato, peeled, diced and steamed
  • A good handful kale, finely chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • A few grinds fresh pepper
  • 1 pack wonton wrappers
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil

Dipping sauce:

  • 3 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1 green onion, sliced

20150328_121456I mixed all the ingredients together for the dumpling filling (everything minus the wrappers) and left it in the fridge to mingle for the afternoon. When it came time to make the dumplings, I assembled the children and placed about a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the wonton and fold in half, pinching the edges to seal in the goodness. Make the dipping sauce: whisk together all sauce ingredients and set aside.

To cook: Bring a pan to medium heat and add coconut oil. On another burner, have your steaming basket or double-steamer ready. I cut a circle of parchment paper the size of my steamer and cut little holes into it, to allow the steam to escape. I basically folded it up and made a snowflake (remember those?). 20150328_165129Once the water in my steamer was boiling, I added five dumplings at a time. Left them in there for about 2 minutes then transferred them to the hot pan to crisp them up. Maybe a minute each side, until they’re browned. Repeat until all dumplings are crispy.

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Serve up immediately with dipping sauce and watch the magic as they disappear! You can do your evil laugh after everyone has eaten their daily amount of kale.

Have a happy Easter everyone! If you’re looking for a sweet and healthy treat to make, here is a healthier version of those nasty creme eggs. Enjoy!