Steamed kale with roasted baby 'bellas

Mushrooms are such a great food.  A cup of sliced, grilled portabella mushrooms contains 35 calories, almost 3 grams of fiber, 530 mg potassium, and less than 1 gram of fat.  Plus, they are so naturally delicious and flavorful that they require minimal cooking and seasoning.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

On another note, my refrigerator is currently stuffed to the brim with kale.  My family loves making green smoothies, and we use kale over spinach because of the much lower oxalic acid content.  Oxalic acid, found in some leafy greens and chocolate, binds calcium in the intestines and keeps it from being absorbed.  Spinach is excellent for many other nutrients, but it is a calcium thief.  Hence, we use kale instead for smoothies.  This is perfectly fine with me - kale is my favorite leafy veg.  

So what happens when kale and beautiful baby portabellas wind up in the house at the same time?  Tasty magic.  

Steamed kale with roasted baby 'bellas
Serves 2

1 bunch kale
16 baby portabella mushrooms, stems removed
4 chili peppers, halved and seeded (optional)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350.  Start a pot of water heating on the stove with steam basket in place.  Wash and dry the kale.  Clean the mushrooms.  I know it's against the rules to wash mushrooms in water because they absorb like sponges, but honestly, mushrooms grow in poop.  And that grosses me out a little.  So I use water.  If you would like to clean them correctly, use a dry cloth to brush off any dirt and such.  Put a sheet of aluminuim foil on a baking sheet (no significance, just makes for easier cleanup) and line up the mushrooms gill side down.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top and sprinkle with pepper.  Pop in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until they begin to shrivel a bit.
Meanwhile, once the water boils, toss the kale and chili peppers into the steam basket and put on a lid.  Let the kale steam until wilted - this will only take about 10 minutes.
When the kale and mushrooms are done, put the kale on a plate and place the mushrooms on top.  Discard the chili peppers unless you like your mouth on fire.  If so, chop and add to the dish.  Drizzle with a few drops of the best balsamic you can find - mine is Acetaia Malpighi Saporoso.  I bought it when I was in Modena, Italy, and it is the best item in my kitchen.  If you ever see it in the US (which probably won't happen, but I can dream), buy it.  No excuses.
That's it!  About 20 minutes gets you a delicious and healthy side dish, or pair with a protein for an easy lunch.  I think this dish is perfect for any season because it is warm and comforting (i.e. fall and winter) but not too filling (i.e. spring and summer).  Doesn't get much quicker than this!

Cost of ingredients:
   1 pound mushrooms: $4 (about $3 for portion above)
   1 bunch kale: $2
   4 chili peppers: $0.50
   Bottle of good balsamic: $15 (about $0.10 for portion above)
Total cost of recipe: $5.60 (excluding spices)

Nutrient analysis of 1 serving:
  Calories: 200
  Protein: 5 grams
  Carbohydrate: 14 grams
  Fiber: 5 grams
  Total fat: 15 grams
  Saturated fat: 2.2 grams
  Cholesterol: 0 mg
  Calcium: 143 mg
  Potassium: 633 mg
  Sodium:  ~0 mg added

Labels: , , , , ,