Five years ago, if we were to throw a national day in honor of kale, chances are the only people in line to celebrate the cruciferous veggie would be none other than the top brass of Pizza Hut, because back before everyone from your semi-annoying paleo coworker to your prediabetic uncle was cramming its health benefits down your throat -- the Hut was the biggest purchaser of the leafy green.
And no, not as a pizza topping (although it's probably already a thing) but as the sad filler decoration on the buffet somewhere between the dessert pizza and the bacon bits, eggs, and various other heart cloggers that, when mixed together, constitute a "salad."
While you can still occasionally see kale relegated to decoration status at the cold cases at Whole Foods, for the most part, kale has truly come into its own as a food -- sorry, make that SUPER FOOD (ALL CAPS!). So much so, in fact, that we even have a national day for it, October 1.
Spearheaded by psychiatrist and farmer Dr. Drew Ramsey (one of the current proponents of using dietary change to help balance moods) and chef Jennifer Iserloh (trained chef, yogi, and, along with Ramsey, best-selling author of the ridiculously titled 50 Shades of Kale), the second-annual National Kale Day includes online events, retail promotions, recipe samplings at some public schools, and a commitment from 50 states and ten countries to promote kale on October 1st.
(There is even a quiz to find out what kind of kale you are. Are you baby kale, curly kale? Who knows?)
According to the promoters of National Kale Day, last year's sales of kale were up 20 to 30 percent from the previous year and only expected to increase even more this year.
Not buying into the kalespiracy just yet? You are far from alone. There are plenty of others pining for the comeback of the iceberg wedge, but what we can tell you is this: The stuff's healthy (full of iron, Vitamins A, C, K, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and fiber) and doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon. So dig in, rinse well, and get in on these recipes below in honor of National Kale Day.
This hearty wintry stew from TheBloomingPlatter.com's Betsy DiJulio goes best with a heaping pile of crusty bread.
Foodieunderground's Anna Brones' kale cake may sound like the adult version of when your parents would mash up your veggies and hide them in your pasta sauce, but it's actually a clever dessert that can easily be made vegan with some egg replacer.
What's that? You thought we were going to end this post without talking about the importance of massaging the kale? Never! If you have ever had a bad kale recipe experience, the likelihood of forgetting to massage the kale could be to blame. This delicious caesar from the Roastedroot.net has all of the tang and kick of the unhealthy, traditional version by using tahini, nutritional yeast, and Dijon mustard instead -- and, of course, the ancient art of massage.