Far from being outdated, kale remains an excellent source of nutrition and one of many vegetables that we've included in the May 2017 plant-based issue of Cooking Light.
Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel

In this business, I hear a lot of absurd comments, like "kale is so last year." That's ridiculous, when you think about it: How can a delicious plant species like Brassica oleracea go out of style when less than one in five Americans are eating enough vegetables?

It's no secret that we should all be eating a more diverse plant-based diet filled with more fresh produce, nuts, seeds, and whole grains—and less meat—to hedge our nutritional bets against diet-related diseases. That's why we've stacked the deck with even more plant-based recipes in this issue, doubling down with vegetables at the center of the plate. We're also creating innovative videos, tips, and techniques on cookinglight.com, Facebook, and Instagram to inspire and empower you to use more produce.

For many screwed up reasons, convenient, affordable food in this country means highly processed food, which is exactly the opposite of how it should be. Make real, simple food, and take inspiration from cultures in Mexico, Greece, Italy, and Korea, where plant-based cuisines have nourished the masses on the cheap and served as preventive medicine for centuries. Stew a pot of fragrant beans; sauté fistfuls of greens with garlic and olive oil; make a hot pot with tofu, kimchi, and rich stock.

And hold the judgment, please. Shred some kale and anoint it with one of my go-to recipes: a garlicky, lemony dressing reinforced with anchovies, capers, and cumin. Even after I've spent hours smoking a pork shoulder or roasting a prime rib for a dinner party, it's this dressing that friends ask me to send them the next day. I've included it here for you.

I pulverize the garlic, capers, anchovies, and spices into a pungent paste with a mortar and pestle before stirring in the other ingredients with a fork. A mini food processor also works well.

If you can find Meyer lemons, juice one and seed the other, chopping up the entire fruit (flesh, pith, peel and all) to make a thicker, more vibrant sauce. This recipe makes enough to dress 2 bunches of shredded lacinato kale mixed with 1 cup of finely grated Parmesan.