The Reason Padma Lakshmi Loves Cooking With Kale

If one of your goals this year is to eat healthier, there are plenty of ways to accomplish it. While you could cut out processed foods or stop drinking soda every day, you could also try adding more leafy greens to your diet. Second to spinach, kale is one of the most popular right now — and for good reason. There are plenty of benefits to chowing down on the curly green leaves. According to Healthline, kale is high in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, yet low in calories. You can toss it in a salad, bake it in the oven for some crispy kale chips (a healthier alternative to potato chips), or blend it into a smoothie with fruit and nut butter if you want to sneak in some veggies (this trick also works great for kids).

Even celebrity chefs understand the value of incorporating more kale into cooking. In a recent article for "Today," beloved "Top Chef" host and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi revealed all of the reasons why she's a big fan. Here's how (and why) she recommends using the trendy greens often in your own meals.

Padma Lakshmi likes how versatile kale is

Padma Lakshmi loves kale so much, she wrote an entire article about the greens for "Today." The biggest reason she's obsessed? You can use the ingredient for almost anything, and it's packed full of good-for-you vitamins and nutrients. "I love using kale because it's a very hearty and versatile green — it stands up well to heat and is more nutrient-dense than regular lettuces," she explained. "When I'm preparing a meal, I always like to stack the deck with as many nutrients as possible, especially when I'm cooking for my daughter." Not all types of kale are created equal, however. Lakshmi says that her top three favorite types are curly, red kale, and lacinato — the latter of which you may know as dinosaur or Tuscan.

In the article, Lakshmi also shares three ways she likes to cook with it, including a salad with mozzarella, mint, and pomegranate seeds, a South Indian lentil soup, and a white bean stew with cumin and tomatoes. She also gets a hearty helping of kale in her daily green juice, according to an interview with Vogue, saying her juice "usually has kale, spinach, carrots, beet, some ginger, and some turmeric." The busy TV show host, author, and mother says it's how she starts almost every day — and her "Today" article also includes tips for how to store and prepare kale when you stock up on it at the store.