Cavolo Nero is the George Clooney of cabbages – tall, svelte and suave. Its short and pudgy cousin goes into hibernation from July to October when the cavolo reigns.
Health divas have already dubbed this Dark Green Leafy as Tuscan kale, with its Italian sophistication and unlikely elegance. The cavolo may have already slammed curly kale off its number one spot (horrah!) One look at a model’s Instagram account shows how frequently this DGL is papped. Alarming and perplexing, with equal measure.
So why the excitement? Cavolo nero is an excellent source of folate, often associated with great quality nookie. Looks like folate can regulate the production of histamine – a very important chemical released during orgasm. No, a cabbage smoothie will not bring you to climax but you’re welcome to try.
You probably don’t need another reason to watch your folate intake, but here’s an additional fireworks display you’ll be interested in. Folate plays a large role in our mental and emotional health. It is in fact a B vitamin – think B for Brain and Battery. Or Bergman and Bogart (okay, that’s probably E for Electricity, but you get the picture).
Cavolo’s bumpy dinosaur skin hides some other champion vitamins like K, C and A. Lutein, a nifty carotenoid, can help strengthen our vision and beef up ocular health. That’s Doctor Speak for 20-20 vision.
Not worried about your eyes? I bet your granny is. Ageing is cruel. Just when you need your sight the most, it starts to dull. Maybe that’s Mother N’s way of restricting the pain of seeing your magnificent mane growing grey, or your chin turning hairy.
Cavolo Nero won’t save your sight, but it can help. Think of DGLs as ammo against ageing. Kale, cabbage, cavolo, the entire cast are at your disposal to help improve the quality of your vision.
Oven-Roasted Chickpeas with Caramelised Banana and Cavolo Nero
This makes a groovy side and will have your nostrils doing the Mexican Wave. It particularly thrives in lazy kitchens and time-pressured zones.
That holy honk associated with onion-breath contains an entire pharmacy of compounds for the body. Get this: foods rich in sulphur are thought to help manufacture synovial fluid. We need this fluid to bathe our bones and stop them from squeaking on the dance floor. Onions and Brussel sprouts have loads of sulphur compounds – but you already guessed that right?
Other goodies packed into these red veggies include quercetin to help relieve inflammation (especially hangovers) and to help copycat antihistamines during Sneezy Season. Onions also have fabulous amounts of inulin, known to work as a pre-biotic in our gut. Prebiotics help by feeding the good bacteria in our internal eco system, keeping our digestive system smiling and our skinny jeans on speaking terms with us.
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
2 ripe bananas, sliced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon coriander seeds (optional jazz)
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut or olive oil
1 bunch cavolo nero
Fire up your oven to 200 Celsius /180 fan-assisted. Let it get really hot while you prep the supper.
Toss the chickpeas, red onion and banana discs onto your largest roasting tray and coat with the spices and preferred oil. Curry powders can vary wildly, so add a pinch of luminous turmeric powder if you fancy a healthy neon glow. I do.
Roast for 15 minutes, or until the banana looks caramelised and the chickpeas are turning crispy. If your roasting tray is small, everything will sweat and turn soggy instead of caramelising so it might be worth spreading over two small trays.
While the chickpeas are raving in the oven, tear the green parts of the cavolo nero off its tough stalk. Gently rip into bite-sized pieces, and tumble into the hot chickpeas. You might need an extra splash of olive oil if everything looks dry. Return to the oven for 3 minutes.
That’s it. Any leftovers make an awesome dining-al-desko lunch at the office the following day. A few sun dried tomatoes or olives will give it a new identity. No need to submit to dodgy petrol station sangers!