Authors: A Veggie Venture
For cookbooks that really "teach" and "challenge", my favorites tackle a single subject and explore it deep and broad. So it goes with KALE: The Complete Guide to the World's Most Powerful Superfoodby Stephanie Pedersen. (DISCLOSURE KALE's publisher provided a complimentary copy but the thoughts, as always, are my own.)
Stephanie's personal story is compelling. She was pregnant on 9/11 and was exposed to a "massive amount of toxins" which were passed onto her son, who was born with heavy metal poisoning which caused a mix of skin, digestive, sensory, sleep and mood disorders. When she began rebuilding his immune system, kale purée was a mainstay. She also used kale to overcome her own many health issues. I don't very often "read" cookbooks – call me guilty of skipping straight to the recipes – but I found her introduction to kale much absorbing. Is kale a miracle food? You kind of get that idea. This book isn't written by someone who loves kale but by by someone who thinks kale may have saved her life.
But I totally l-o-v-e the idea of mixing kale into a jar of spaghetti sauce! Taste-wise, the strong flavors of the tomato sauce almost "hide" the kale. The pretty red color of spaghetti sauce doesn't survive, however, with the kale it turns to a dark (but not unappealing) red color.
Once the sauce is made, it's easy to imagine using it in all kinds of dishes, maybe Mini Porcupine Meatballs or a version of Champion Chicken or Personal Pan LasagnaCrockpot Lasagna. You're already spinning with ideas, right? I was!
But the Mini Kale Pizzas are a total winner, so quick and adaptable, such a great way to use up odds and ends of leftovers in satisfying little pizzas. Once the sauce is made, you can have hot pizzas on plates in all of ten minutes! Plus one mini pizza is under a hundred calories, this makes it a new favorite Medifast "real food" lunch, quick and healthy!
RECIPE for EASY MINI KALE PIZZAS
Hands-on time: 10 minutes for sauce, 10 minutes for pizzas
Time to table: 10 minutes if sauce is already made, 30 minutes if sauce needs to be made
Makes 3 cups Spaghetti Sauce with Kale, enough for "piles" of pizzas
SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH KALE
1-1/4 cups (about 125g) cooked kale (see ALANNA's TIPS)
1 24-ounce (680g) jar of spaghetti sauce (see TIPS)
EASY MINI KALE PIZZAS
English muffins, toasted or not
1 tablespoon Spaghetti Sauce with Kale per half muffin
Cooked vegetables, beans, meat, etc.
A little grated cheese
SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH KALE In a food processor, chop the kale until quite fine, then add the spaghetti sauce and process until the desired consistency is reached. To my taste, you want to keep the texture, not make it smooth. Can be made ahead of time for use with Easy Mini Kale Pizzas or any time tomato sauce is called for in other dishes.
EASY MINI KALE PIZZAS If you like, toast the English muffins. Spread with Spaghetti Sauce with Kale, top with bits of cooked vegetables and a bit of cheese. Arrange on a baking sheet and put under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
MY FAVORITE WAY TO COOK KALE is detailed in Seductive Kale Salad. Yes I "boil" it or call it a "long blanch" if that sounds more appealing. For this recipe, a big bunch of regular kale (about 12 ounces) yielded about 2 cups cooked kale.
SPAGHETTI SAUCE I don't buy spaghetti sauce very often so don't have a favorite brand. I do look for ones without sugar and without oil, this time I used Classico Tomato and Basil.
ENGLISH MUFFINS I like these best when the muffin halves are lightly toasted before getting "dressed" to go under the broiler, they stay more crispy. Others might prefer the softness of untoasted muffins, however.
PROPORTIONS I adjusted the inspiring recipe to use up a whole jar of spaghetti sauce. But for a smaller batch, to use up leftover spaghetti sauce, say, the proportions are 1:2 kale:spaghetti sauce. Stephanie also calls for baking the pizzas for 20 minutes at 425F, I loved the speed of the broiler!
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