Pasta shells with garlicky kale

wheat pasta 300x200Kale is often touted as a superfood. Lately, it seems everything from milkshakes to lip balm has a form of kale as an ingredient. This dark, leafy green vegetable really is good for you, and based on other things it is mixed with, and how it’s prepared, it can be rather tasty.

Here’s the lowdown on kale. At just 33 calories, one cup of raw kale has:

  • Nearly 3 grams of protein.
  • 5 grams of fiber (which helps manage blood sugar and makes you feel full).
  • Vitamins A, C, and K.
  • Folate, a B vitamin.
  • Alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid (kale has far less omega-3 than fish, but it is another way to get some of this healthy fat into your diet).
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that give kale its dark green coloring and also protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc.

Now that you have a better understanding of kale’s nutritional and health benefits, give the following family friendly recipe a try.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes ( to taste or optional)
10 to 12 ounces (10 to 12 cups, loosely packed) pre-washed baby kale, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 ounces small, whole-wheat pasta shells, cooked to package directions
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Sauté garlic with red pepper about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in about half the greens and broth, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high, cover, and cook until greens wilt, about 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in remaining greens, cover, and cook an additional 12 minutes or until greens are tender. Stir occasionally.
  6. Place cooked, drained pasta in saucepan. Add greens mixture, and gently toss until well combined.
  7. Sprinkle with cheese, and serve.

Nutrition information
Makes 4 servings. Serving size: 1 1/2 cups. Amount per serving: 302 calories, 6g total fat (1g saturated fat), 56g carbohydrates, 13g protein, 7g dietary fiber, 264mg sodium.

Source: American Institute for Cancer Research




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Gabriel Padilla