Kale calling: Five dishes featuring the antioxidant powerhouse

It's been a good year for the cabbage family. First crispy Brussels sprouts elbowed their way onto menus, and now kale is following in its cousin's footsteps. At True Food Kitchen, which I review this week, this leafy green is used in many ways: as a drink, with apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger; on a vegan pizza, with caramelized onions, garlic and tomatoes; and as a salad, with a simple lemon-parmesan dressing and breadcrumbs for texture.

Here are four more ways that local restaurants have embraced this antioxidant powerhouse: See also: - True Food Kitchen is good...and good for you - Photos: A closer look at True Food Kitchen - Good execution turns into good pizza at Lucky Pie

Beer, not juiced kale, is the thirst-quencher of choice at Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House. But if you want to nibble on something while waiting for your pie, try the crispy kale chips -- akin to potato chips, only made from leaves. Keep in mind that while kale has been dubbed the healthiest vegetable on the planet, that claim is no doubt invalidated after a dip in the fryer.

At Native Foods, a vegan restaurant in Boulder, steamed kale supports grilled tempeh in the gluten-free Earth Bowl filled with brown rice, sauerkraut, toasted sesame seeds and ginger-sesame sauce. As if that weren't healthy enough, the dish comes with cucumber-seaweed salad on the side.

A bit more approachable is the kale salad at Oak at Fourteenth, also in Boulder. Made with apples, parmesan and candied almonds, the salad was on the menu even before kale became cool. Take a bite and you'll see why.

The addition of roasted cauliflower, castelvetrano olives and long-cooked kale isn't the only reason why the current risotto offering at Duo stands out. Normally built around carnaroli or Arborio rice, this version comes with farro instead, making for a savory, chewy mouthful -- not to mention a great introduction to the hip green.

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