Balsamic Kale


Today I gave blood.

I try to give blood a few times a year.  It is such an easy thing (for most people) to do, and one pint of blood can be used to help up to three people.  And you never know when you, or someone you know, may be in a situation requiring blood from blood banks.

Also, it takes almost no time to donate.  In about 30 to 45 minutes you are done.  This is another reason I give blood, sometimes I am just too busy to volunteer in other ways, but I usually can always find the time to sit down for a bit with a needle in my arm.  And you really can’t even feel it!

My blood in action!

So why am I giving this speech about blood donation on a cooking blog?  Well, giving blood takes a lot out of you.  With that pint of blood you also lose about 10% of the iron in your blood.

Iron is integral to your body’s ability to efficiently move oxygen throughout your bloodstream.  This is why one can temporarily feel weaker when jumping back into one’s fitness routine.  For me, it takes about 1 1/2 to 2 weeks to regain the stamina for running I had before donating.

While red meat is toted as the ‘go to’ for eating for iron, one does not need to rely on red meat.  Raisins, pumpkin seeds, and kale are all potent sources of iron.

So to support my blood donation recovery, I decided to prepare this healthy and iron-rich dish: balsamic kale.  This is a dish I have made before to eat both before and after donating blood (before to boost my iron levels so I am actually able to donate).  I can speak from first hand experience that this kale dish does help!

My bandage!  It actually went with my outfit, unintentionally.


This recipe is easy and requires few ingredients.  You can always add customizations though.  For instance, once I added raisins and pumpkin seeds when sautéing the kale (extra iron!) and I think other items, like pine nuts, would taste great!

Balsamic Kale

  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch (about 7-8 cups) chopped kale
  • 1/4-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • balsamic orange glaze, for garnish

1) Sautée the chopped garlic and olive oil in a large pan over med-lo heat.

2) When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the kale.

Side note: To prepare kale for this recipe first wash it thoroughly by soaking it in a sink full of cold water.  Dry.  Cut the ribs/stems from the kale.  Chop the kale, or twist and tear it (like I usually do) into smaller pieces.

3) After adding the kale, put the lid on the pan and steam for 5 minutes.  You may or may not want to add a bit of water to the pan.  I don’t always find it necessary.

The kale should be bright green at this stage.

4) Keep the heat on low, add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar (I enjoy the taste of balsamic so I tend to add more than 1/4 cup).  Stir it around until it is evenly mixed with the kale.  Sautée for 3 minutes.

Below is the balsamic vinegar I used, along with the most delicious of condiments…Gocce Orange Balsamic Glaze!

5) Remove from pan and place into serving dish (or whatever leave it in the pan that works too).

Drizzle with orange balsamic glaze.  Enjoy your delicious kale!  The perfect blood donation recovery dish!

Ciao for now,

Madeline aka the Hopeful Hestia


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