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Published January 17, 2012, 11:30 PM

Doeden: Kale a trendy, tasty green

It’s always interesting to read the onslaught of food trend reports as each new year begins. According to the Hartman Group’s annual “Looking Ahead: Food Culture” report, we can expect to see vegetables become increasingly fashionable in 2012.

It’s always interesting to read the onslaught of food trend reports as each new year begins. According to the Hartman Group’s annual “Looking Ahead: Food Culture” report, we can expect to see vegetables become increasingly fashionable in 2012.

Their analytics show consumption of meat is becoming more of a condiment than a center plate main attraction.

As I read through the report, the Hartman Group’s predictions of what’s trending in and what’s trending out in 2012 made me dizzy with optimism as I imagined seeing more happy, healthy, physically fit people living the good life. Local, seasonal superfruits, the family dinner, fresh produce, portion control and eating more leafy greens are trending in, while superfruits from afar, activities trumping family meal time, excessive supplements, elimination diets and drinking shots of wheatgrass are trending out.

Oh, and put on your dancing shoes, because dancing, in particular zumba, is pushing treadmills out of the exercise scene.

In the introduction to their report, the Hartman Group writes, “… we analyze the cultural forces at play to determine whether something is a flash in the pan or has real lasting significance in consumer culture. To give a little context, our take on “Trending In” gives knowledge as to what’s going on in the front of the food world, while “Trending Out” does not necessarily mean it’s no longer in use, it’s just no longer around the bend.” No need to haul your treadmill to the basement storage room just yet.

I do believe consumers are becoming more educated about what kinds of food to eat for better health and overall wellness in order to enjoy a good quality of life. I know that fresh fruits and vegetables are good for all of us. I plan to increase my consumption of leafy greens in 2012.

Stir-fried Kale with Raspberry Soy Sauce and Rice Noodles highlights one of the most ignored greens. Many people are fearful of kale. Since it is a descendant of the wild cabbage, there is concern the flavor might be too robust or bitter and the texture too tough and fibrous.

It’s unfortunate kale can seem so ominous. It is rich with vitamins K, A and C. It’s also a very good vegetable source of calcium. The fact that one cup of kale has about 35 calories seals the reason-to-eat-kale deal.

When kale is stir-fried with onions, garlic and tiny bits of hot pepper it becomes tender with a mild flavor that might remind you of broccoli. Raspberry jam and soy sauce are accentuated with freshly squeezed lime juice to produce a lively dressing for the blend of vegetables and rice noodles.

Don’t worry. Be trendy. Eat your greens and be healthy and happy.

To read more about what food trends the Hartman Group predicts, download the entire report at www.hartman-group.com.


Sue Doeden is a food writer and photographer from Bemidji, Minn., and a former Fargo resident. Her columns are published in 10 Forum Communications newspapers.

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