I was born in the south and grew up with a mother who was a true southern cook – and that meant plenty of greens like collards, mustard and beet greens. When we moved to California, I was surprised to find hardly anyone eating these “common” vegetables. I soon realized that while southern cooks had been preparing greens for years, the rest of the country hadn’t caught on yet. Well, that’s certainly changed now!
If you are a greens lover like me, chances are you don’t need any encouragement to add these to your meal plan. For those who are a wee bit reluctant, I suggest you start out with some of the milder flavored greens and work your way up. Here’s a quick reference on some of the most popular greens (find more here.)
Arugula: peppery flavor – try raw in salads or sandwiches
Bok Choy: sweet, mild flavor – perfect for stir-fries or soups
Collards: mild, sweet flavor – steam, braise or sauté until tender
Escarole; mildly bitter – eat raw in salads and steam or braise
Kale: mildly peppery – boil, steam or sauté
Mizuna: tender and spicy – mix with other greens in salads
Spinach; soft, sweet flavor – multi-purpose! Raw or cooked in many dishes
Swiss Chard: tender, sweet – sauté, braise or add to soups and other dishes
Here are some more ways to get those leafy green benefits:
For just about any soup, greens are a perfect match. Just chop and stir in, letting cook until tender. Spinach and chard are super quick options.
Mix it up in your salad bowl by adding baby spinach, tender young spring greens and baby arugula.
Add chopped greens to a stir fry – try collards, bok choy and broccoli rabe.
Make a simple side dish by sautéing onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil, add some greens, a little broth and steam until tender. Great with kale because it doesn’t cook down as much as other greens.
When making a sandwich or wrap, top it off with baby spinach, arugula or any baby field greens.
Want to experiment? In recipes that call for cooked spinach, substitute half the amount with cooked chard.
Perfect for warmer months, steam or sauté any leafy green and serve at room temperature tossed with your favorite salad dressing.
Never seem to have time for prep? Freeze greens for quick and easy use. Remove and discard the tough stem from mature leaves. Wash, dry and chop the leaves. Then freeze in serving-size freezer bags and add frozen leaves directly to soups, stews, pasta sauces, etc.
Serve your favorite soup, beans or chili over a bowl of baby spinach. The heat from the broth will gently wilt the spinach and add great flavor to your meal.
You know the old saying, when the going gets green, the greenery get cooked and happily eaten. Walk over to the market and load up on some new greens and mix it up. Nothing keeps the waist line in control like eating lots of leafy green vegetables.
MikeZ_zume’s going green, please don’t throw him in the boiling greens.
Please consult your physician before starting any exercise or weight loss program.
Your physician is your very best resource.