Real Food Spotlight: Kalette

This post was written by Amanda Rhodes, dietetic intern, studying at Bastyr University. Amanda hails from Oregon where she spent much of her life. She enjoys good food, good friends and filling her life with adventures like serving her country in the Coast Guard, sky diving, and hiking tons of trails in the Cascades.

If you aren’t up on the latest trends in food, here’s a hint into what’s getting huge this year. It has a relative that was huge everywhere last year, and a head of it is a little bit larger than a golf ball. No, it’s not Brussels sprouts, but close…It’s Kalette! Otherwise known as Brusselkale, Kale Sprouts, Flower Sprouts, or Lollipop Kale, the masterminds behind this beauty bred a new vegetable the good ol’ fashioned way. By mixing two descendants in the brassica family of vegetables, kale and Brussels sprouts over years of selecting for traits they finally had their baby. Tozer Seeds company hailing from across the pond in the U.K. created this hybrid which are known as Kalette in the United States. It was 15 years in the making, and is newly this year hitting the produce shelves in American stores. This vegetable is so new and cool, it even has a Facebook page!

Kalette Chart

Source: http://www.foodbeast.com/2013/09/16/kale-broccoli-brussels-sprouts-and-cabbage-are-all-from-the-same-family/

Kalette about-img

Source: http://www.kalettes.com/about-kalettes.aspx

 

kalettes-in-field

Source: http://blog.gardeners.com/2014/12/kalette/

It grows like Brussels sprouts on a stalk, but has softer spines than kale, a less bitter flavor profile than sprouts, and a nutty finish. If you aren’t a fan of kale, the cuteness of this version may win you over. Holding a head of Kalette in the palm of your hand, will make you feel the urge to announce, “Fee, fie, foe, fum!”

This versatile vegetable can be used any way that their cousins kale or Brussels sprouts can be used. Baked, broiled, sauteed, steamed, flambe-d, or for the very venturous raw, are all ways this vegetable is making its way to tables across the country.

If you’re wondering why you would want to try these little kale runts, well “Why not?” is what I’ll ask first. Here are three points just to hit on some key advantages of adding this vegetable to your plate.

1. For the same weight, Kalette has twice the amount of vitamin C and B6 than Brussels sprouts

a. Vitamin C is pretty well known to be the cure for the pirate disease known as scurvy, but what you may not know is that the iron from vegetable sources will be better absorbed when combined in a meal with a source of vitamin C. Think, black beans and Kalette simmered in cajun spices over a bed of warm brown rice.

b. Too little B6 could result in neurologic conditions and anemia. Increasing B vitamin intake is especially important for persons with absorption issues or for vegetarians.

2. Brassicas and other dark leafy greens make your liver happy and more robust. Almost every mechanism in your body involves your liver in some way, so giving it optimal fuel means that the rest of your body will reap the benefits.

3. Better eye health could come your way! Two compounds in the classification of carotenoids (remember beta carotene), zeaxanthin and leutin, will contribute to increased visual acuity and less risk for developing age related macular degeneration.

Fun Fact! These compounds are a yellow pigment in a high amount in dark leafy greens, but don’t color the leaves because the green pigment, chlorophyll, masks them.

Try this quick recipe for dinner tonight:

Kalette Directions  Kalette Recipe Picture

Greek Kalettes                

Category:    Sautéing

Serves:    4

Prep:    10 minutes

Cook:    7-9 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 ounces Kalettes™
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano)

Directions:

In large skillet over medium, heat the oil. Add Kalettes and toss to coat. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add tomatoes and olives and cook uncovered for an additional 2-4 minutes.

In small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of oil, feta cheese, lemon juice and oregano. Stir to combine. Add to Kalettes and toss.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

For more recipes, please visit www.kalettes.com