We sometimes equate healthy eating with blandness. I’m going to dispel that rumor today with these recipes featuring two of my favorite superfoods: kale and garlic. We all know dark green leafy vegetables are good for us. Kale is low in saturated fat and is an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein. It’s also packed with Vitamins A, C, K and B6, plus calcium, potassium, and copper. Since ancient times, garlic has been renowned for its medicinal properties. Studies have shown that it is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals our bodies need on a daily basis. Italian Sausage Soup with White Beans and Kale You can use either dried or canned beans. You can also omit the sausage and substitute vegetable stock, and this soup is a great vegetarian meal. If you choose dried beans, you’ll need to presoak for a few hours or overnight. Sort through the beans and discard any foreign. Soak beans overnight in a glass bowl, covered with water. After soaking, drain and rinse beans. • 1 pound navy beans (prepared as described above) • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped • 2 carrots, chopped • 3 ribs celery, chopped • 2 tablespoons minced garlic • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock • 1 14.5 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning • 1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds • 4 cups kale, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces • Salt to taste • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar In a 5-quart Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Next, add onions, carrots and celery, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Lightly salt vegetables. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so. While the vegetables are sautéing, in a separate skillet brown the sausage over medium-high heat. When cooked, drain and add sausage to the vegetables along with the beans, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and fennel seeds. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and let soup cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until beans are soft and cooked through. Add kale, salt and pepper. Cover and let the soup simmer for another 25 to 30 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. Southwestern Kale Dip For a different tailgating treat, kale is the surprise ingredient for a baked dip that pairs well with the cheese and spicy canned tomatoes. • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil • 1 tablespoon butter • 1 large yellow onion, chopped • 4 cloves garlic, minced • 8 cups kale, packed • 1 cup chicken broth • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (any variety) • 1 teaspoon c • hili powder 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper • 2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese, divided Heat olive oil and butter in a medium-sized Dutch oven over medium heat until butter is bubbling. Add onions and sauté until softened and translucent. Add garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add the kale and chicken broth. Let the kale wilt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, about an hour, stirring occasionally. If there is liquid remaining, increase heat and cook until liquid evaporates. Keep a close watch; you don’t want it to burn. Add cream cheese, Rotel and seasonings, and blend well. Add 1 1/2 cups of the cheese and stir to combine. Lightly grease a 7 x 9 casserole dish. Spoon in the dip mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until dip is bubbling. Remove foil and place under broiler for a few minutes to brown the cheese. Serve immediately with tortilla chips or toasted triangles of pita bread as dippers. — Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. She won the Duke Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary nationwide recipe contest for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram, and fleurde email@example.com.