The benefits of dark green leafy vegetables are plenty. Here are few of those benefits:
- good source of fiber
- good source of A, C, K and folate
- high in the minerals calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium
- protection against heart disease
- may help decrease the risk of developing pancreatic and prostate cancer
- rich in protective antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutein, which help prevent many chronic diseases
- may help improve memory
Greens are for more than just salads. You can add them to any smoothie, sauce or soup or use them for sandwich wraps, but that’s not all. Let’s look at other ways to get more greens.
SWISS CHARD PARM
Swiss chard and tomatoes work well together. The cheese and basil round out this dish that will soon become your new favorite.
- 2 pounds Swiss chard
- ½ tablespoon gluten-free flour (or nut or seed flour), plus extra to dust
- 3 eggs
- 6 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan, plus extra to serve (buy a block to ensure you have true parm) – you could also use nutrional yeast
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil, to fry
- 3 ½ ounces hard mozzarella, cut into small cubes
- a few basil leaves for the tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cans chopped plum tomatoes
- 6 Fresh Basil leaves
- a pinch of salt
- For the tomato sauce, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and sweat on a medium heat until softened. Reduce the heat to low, then add the tomatoes, basil leaves and salt and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring from time to time. Should the sauce appear dry, add a little hot water.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- You want the white stalks and only the tender inner leaves of the Swiss chard. (The discarded harder green leaves can be used in another recipe or cooked as above.) Wash well and dry, then dust with flour.
- Beat the eggs, stir in 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, the 1/2 tablespoon flour and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Dip the chard in the beaten egg. Pour enough olive oil in a large frying pan to cover the base generously, then place over a medium–high heat. When hot, fry the chard on both sides until golden. Remove and drain on kitchen towel.
- Line an 8 x 8 1/2-inch ovenproof dish with some of the tomato sauce, then arrange a layer of the chard on top, followed by some of the mozzarella, Parmesan and basil leaves. Continue layering like this until you have used up all the ingredients, finishing with a cheese topping.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. Switch off the oven and leave the Parmigiana to settle in the oven for 10 minutes before serving sprinkled with extra grated Parmesan.
STIR FRIED GREENS WITH FERMENTED BEANS
Stir fry is always a great way to enjoy veggies. The heat from the peppers plus the fermented beans will make you ask for seconds.
- 9 ounces bok choy, spring greens or purple sprouting broccoli
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive or avocado or coconut oil
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1-2 fresh red chilies, sliced finely, seeds in or out
- 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and drained (ok to use regular if you can’t find fermented)
- 1-2 teaspoons coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
- Quarter the bok choy, slice the spring greens or trim and divide the purple sprouting broccoli. Bring a pan of water to a boil and cook the vegetables for a couple of minutes, until just tender. Refresh in cold water and then drain.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large pan. Stir-fry the garlic, ginger and chili until you’re enveloped in wonderful smells – a matter of seconds, as you must not burn the garlic.
- Throw in the black beans and greens and stir-fry over a high heat for a couple of minutes, adding a tablespoon of water if the pan gets dry. Taste and season with soy sauce and sugar if needed. Serve at once.
MASHED POTATOES WITH KALE AND CHEESE
Ramp up your basic mashed potatoes with the greens and cheese and get more nutrition from this side dish.
Any green could be used in this dish. This would also work well with mashed cauliflower.
- 5 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 4 pounds)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- One 12-ounce bunch kale, stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature (about 8 ounces) – goat cheese is another good choice if you don’t do dairy
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 stick unsalted grass-fed butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
For the potatoes:
- Combine the potatoes, garlic, salt and butter in a 5-quart saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a colander and remove the garlic cloves. Return the potatoes to the pan and mash the potatoes until smooth using a potato masher.
For the kale:
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the kale and chicken broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add the kale mixture, mascarpone cheese, chicken broth, butter, Parmesan, salt and pepper to the potatoes. Stir over low heat until smooth and warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and serve.
CHICKORY (also called endive)
- ability to ease digestive problems
- prevent heartburn
- reduce arthritis pains
- detoxify the liver and gallbladder
- prevent bacterial infections
- boost the immune system
- reduce the chance of heart disease
Preparation: Wash (soak in a water and vinegar) and remove any discolored leaves. Dark green leaves will taste bitter. Sweet leaves are white.
Grill: Cut in half or in quarters and rub with extra virgin olive oil and grill until brown
Steam: Rough cut and steam for no more than 5 minutes. These steamed leaves make a good bed for any kind of meat or fish or a nice addition to salads or pasta.
Boil: Boil the whole head. For extra flavor you can add things like garlic, shallots, pepper, lemon, etc. Adding vinegar will help keep the color from fading.
I love collard greens. This sturdy leaf makes a great sandwich wrap as well as a good soup ingredient. This version is so unique with the peppers and shrimp and peanut butter. Give it a go!
- 2 lb. collard or turnip green leaves, roughly chopped (12 cups)
- 1 cup dried shrimp
- 4 Scotch bonnet or habanero chilis, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (or your favorite pepper)
- 1 1⁄2 medium yellow onions (1 roughly chopped, 1⁄2 sliced into 1⁄4-inch-thick rings)
- 1 vine-ripe tomato, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp. red palm oil or extra virgin or avocado oil
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1⁄2 cup natural peanut butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan and season with salt. Add the collard greens, cover, and cook until the leaves are tender and wilted, about 5 minutes. Drain the leaves in a colander set over a bowl and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Place the leaves and reserved liquid in a blender, purée until smooth, and scrape the paste into a bowl.
- Clean the blender and return it to its base. In the blender, combine the dried shrimp with three-quarters of the chilis, half the chopped onion, and the fresh tomato and purée until smooth.
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons palm oil over medium-high. Add the remaining half of the chopped onion and the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are soft and lightly caramelized, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Scrape the shrimp and tomato paste into the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the puréed collard greens and peanut butter, and mash until evenly combined. Season the greens with salt and pepper and scrape into a serving dish.
- In a 10-inch skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons palm oil over high, add the onion rings, and cook, stirring, until soft and slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Arrange the onion rings over the collards and garnish with the remaining chile.
SOPA-de-FUBA COLLARD GREENS AND SAUSAGE SOUP
What a beautiful soup! the sausage and collard greens combination will warm you through and through.
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
- 6 oz. kielbasa sausage, cut diagonally into 1⁄4″-thick slices (or your favorite sausage)
- 7 cups chicken stock
- 4 oz. collard greens, stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Heat cornmeal in a 10″ skillet over medium-high heat and cook, swirling pan constantly, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 3–4 minutes. Transfer cornmeal to a bowl; set aside. Heat oil in skillet and add sausages; cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Bring chicken stock to a boil in a 6-qt. pot over high heat. Whisk in reserved cornmeal, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, whisking often, until cornmeal is tender, about 40 minutes.
- Stir in reserved sausages and collards and cook, stirring occasionally, until collards wilt, 15 minutes. Place eggs in a medium bowl and add 1 cup cornmeal mixture; whisk until smooth.
- Return mixture to pot and stir until incorporated; cook for 1 minute more and season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into 6 serving bowls and garnish with scallions; serve hot.
GRILLED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH APRICOT AND WATERCRESS
I had to throw one salad in the mix today just because this one is special. Pork can be very inexpensive and can be used in many ways. This watercress combination with the apricots will wake up your taste buds.
- 1 pound pork tenderloin trimmed
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoons apricot preserves, divided
- 4 ripe but firm fresh apricots or nectarines, halved and pitted
- 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, or avocado
- 1 4- to 5-ounce bag watercress, or baby arugula (about 8 cups)
- Preheat grill to high.
- Sprinkle pork with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the pork, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes. Brush the pork with 2 tablespoons preserves and continue grilling until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145°F, 2 to 5 minutes more.
- Grill apricot (or nectarine) halves on the coolest part of the grill, turning occasionally, until tender and marked, about 4 minutes.
- Transfer the pork and apricots to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon preserves, vinegar, shallot, oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.
- Cut the fruit into wedges and add to the dressing along with watercress (or arugula); toss to coat. Thinly slice the pork. Serve the salad with the sliced pork.
I love pesto because you can make it with so many different things. All you need is a green, an oil, cheese, garlic and a nut. Parsley is a good source of iron, good source of vitamin K, and aids digestion.
- 1/2 cup raw whole almonds (I also like walnuts)
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 cups coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley (leaves and tender stems)
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red Chile flakes
- 1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spread almonds in a single layer on a rimmed baking pan. Roast almonds until golden beneath the skin and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
- In a food processor, finely chop garlic. Add almonds and whirl until coarsely chopped. Add parsley, olive oil, salt, and red Chile flakes and whirl until parsley is finely chopped. Add parmesan cheese and pulse to combine.
Grilling romaine will bring out a sweetness in the leaves. Adding the bacon, cheese and dressing this will become a new dish in your regular rotation.
- 6 strips bacon
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 5 heads romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise, rinsed and dried
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
- Heat bacon in a 12″ skillet over medium heat, and cook, turning once, until crisp and fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate, reserving 2 tbsp. drippings, and let cool; crumble and set aside. Transfer reserved drippings to a bowl, and add oil, vinegar, and Worcestershire; whisk until smooth, and set dressing aside.
- Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat.) Working in batches, if necessary, place romaine halves cut-side down on grill, and cook, turning once, until charred and slightly wilted, about 4 minutes.
- Transfer lettuce cut-side up to a serving platter, and season with salt and pepper; drizzle with dressing, and sprinkle with reserved bacon and blue cheese.
Try these recipes and incorporate more greens into your diet. Your body with thank you. Make it fun. Try a new green each week. Remember it is recommended that vegetables should fill 1/2 to 2/3 of your plate. The recipes listed here today will help you achieve that goal.