Pasta with White Beans and Kale
Vitamin packet or nutrient-packed bowl of homemade organic food? You decide.
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST JOANNA HELLER
When I plan meals, my focus – so to speak – is not primarily on eye health.
But I had my eyes checked last week and was told that I might want to take some vitamins especially formulated for eye health. The doctor mentioned that the really important thing is lutein “which is also in eggs.” That was the only mention of food.
She gave me a sample vitamin pack so I could see which vitamins were considered important. Any brand would do, she said. But what impressed me most was what always impresses me about medical interventions – the nearly total absence of lifestyle and food talk.
These supplements contained vitamins C, and E, zinc, copper, and apparently most important, 5 mg of lutein. So – check on lutein. Apparently, 6 to 10 mg of lutein is considered the “right” daily intake. Eggs do contain lutein – they were at the bottom of the list with .2 mg. Eat 3 eggs, get .6 mg of lutein – one tenth of the minimum amount.
I followed the list. At the top was kale with 26.5 mg of lutein in 1 cup. More than five times that same minimum. One small salad or saute would do that. More than 125 times as much lutein as three eggs. And kale is also extremely high in just about every other important nutrient. It has the top ERNI rating (nutrient density) of 100.
Not to mention that I have more faith in an organic garden than I do in a pill laboratory with wondrous financial incentives.
Doesn’t it make you wonder …
Here is an easy, one pan, deliciously filling and really high in nutrition meal or side dish. And a great way to use some left over pasta. Beautiful, too! Several shades of off white and the beautiful deep green of kale. Make it organic if you can.
Pasta with White Beans and Kale
4 cups cooked navy beans (if canned, rinsed and drained)
1/2 large onion, chopped (or shallots if you prefer)
1 cup cooked pasta (any short chewy variety is great for this)
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups raw kale, washed and chopped *see note
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
red pepper flakes
juice of half a lemon
Saute the flavor base Heat one or two tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan on low heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the chopped onion and saute until just soft and translucent and then add the minced garlic, stir and cook a bit more.
When the garlic softens but before it browns, add the beans and the cooked pasta.
Stir the beans and the cooked pasta around to let them absorb the flavors for a few minutes and then slide them to one side of the pan and add the washed, sliced raw kale to the other side. Saute the kale for maybe five minutes or so and stir a bit on its own side of the pan. I like the way the kale doesn’t get lost but still absorbs the pan flavors.
* Note on chopping kale An easy way to cut the kale is to cut the leaves lengthwise, lay them on top of each other and then cut across. Every kale recipe I have seen says to cut out the stems. Why, I do not know. What if some vital nutrients hide in the stems? I chop them as part of the leaves and they cook and taste fine to me. Your choice. Check it out.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.