My Cheap and Tasty Secret to Avoiding the Flu

By Kristin Donnelly Posted January 14, 2009

Knock on wood (preferably reclaimed or FSC-certified!), I haven’t had a serious bout of flu this season. In fact, these past years, I’ve avoided most of the bugs that swirl around in the office when everyone’s cooped up inside. I have no scientific proof, but I think the secret to my resilience is kale.

In the winter, when kale is the sweetest, I try to eat at least one bunch a week since it’s loaded with immune-system-boosting vitamin C (you only need to eat 2 ounces of the leafy green to get 100 percent of the recommended dose). It doesn’t hurt that kale is amazingly healthy in other ways: It’s loaded with cancer-preventing phytonutrients and bone-supporting calcium (there’s more scientific information at this website. Here are a few of my favorite ways to prepare this superhero of a green:

Braised Kale
: This simple recipe from New Orleans chef John Besh serves 12 but it’s easy to cut back—or even better, save the leftovers for another night. 

Roasted Chicken Legs with Potatoes and Kale: This earthy one-pan roast from F&W’s Grace Parisi is a quick and inexpensive way to feed a crowd.

Kale-and-Avocado Salad
: Cookbook author Adina Niemerow uses raw kale in this supersatisfying salad, grinding the leaves lightly with salt so they wilt.

Spicy Kale Chowder with Andouille Sausage: Sausage and kale are natural partners in this flavor-rich soup from F&W’s Marcia Kiesel—which takes a mere 45 minutes to make.

Crispy Baked Kale with Gruyere Cheese: Even in an indulgent preparation, like this one from Maine chef Sam Hayward, kale still has all its nutrients (as far as I know anyway). This is a great way to introduce the green to picky eaters and skeptics.

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