Kale turns pasta into nutrient-dense delight

Sunday, August 31, 2014
Kale and veggie spaghetti is a great way to pack dense nutrients into your diet. (T-G Photo by Micky Pietkiewicz)

As a child, I was an incredibly picky eater. I wasn't just the kind of kid who didn't like to eat vegetables; I was the kid who would have a panic attack if her green beans and mashed potatoes came within an inch of each other on her dinner plate.

I have since then become a little more relaxed about whether or not my food touches. I've also begun to try foods that I simply would not have thought about trying 10 years ago. I have always tried to watch what I eat, but over the past several years, I have become more invested in being as healthy as possible.

I try to eat my five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and I try not to eat as much chocolate as I would like to eat. Throughout my healthy-eating journey, I have discovered numerous foods that I love and that are actually good for me.

One of those foods that I have heard great things about, but have always been reluctant to try is kale. Kale is all the rage with celebrities and fitness gurus. One serving of the leafy greens boasts 206 percent of Vitamin A, 134 percent Vitamin C, and 684 percent Vitamin K, based on daily values. Kale is also rich in carotenoids and flavonoids, which are known for their anti-cancer health benefits.

I never gave much thought to trying it until some of my friends started raving about it. Some of my friends like to cook it with eggs, while others prefer to eat it in a salad. However, I am a firm believer in carbohydrates and figured I might as well try it with some pasta. Remember, carbohydrates are good for you, in moderation!

I spent some time looking up various recipes that combined kale and pasta, and found several that I wanted to try. I decided to take what I liked from each recipe and combine those components into one nutrition-packed meal. I also added some of my favorite vegetables to the pasta. One serving of this spaghetti will provide you with at least two servings of vegetables and many vitamin-packed nutrients!

Kale and veggie spaghetti

(T-G Photo by Micky Pietkiewicz)

*½ pound kale (1 bundle)

1 box whole wheat spaghetti

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

*½ cup grated parmesean

*¼ cup cherry tomatoes

Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional ingredients

1 Tbsp. olive oil

*½ cup squash

*½ cup zucchini

Tear the kale leaves from the woody stems and rinse well. Then cut the kale into small pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta for the designated time, according to the package. While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil, butter and garlic to a large skillet. Cook those for 2-3 minutes, then add the kale and cherry tomatoes and sauté until the kale is wilted (8-10 minutes).

Once the kale is wilted, turn the heat off. Add the spaghetti to the skillet with the kale and tomatoes. Toss the kale and spaghetti. Let the pasta cool for 2-3 minutes, then add the parmesan and toss again.

Season the pasta with salt and pepper, as desired. If you chose to include the squash and zucchini, simply slice and sauté them in 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. You may add the squash and zucchini to the pasta, or serve on the side.

-- Micky Pietkiewicz is a Bedford County native and freelance writer for the Times-Gazette.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: