My favorite greens and what to do with them

kaleI’m not going to lecture you on the importance of having leafy greens in your diet.  Let’s just say that they deserve to have their own food group.  Have you ever wondered what’s all the fuss about those trendy green drinks?  Well, drinking your greens is just another way of getting them into your body.  They’re so good for you that you need to get them in your system one way or another.  Me, I prefer to eat my greens (most of the time).  If the only greens in your life are broccoli and lettuces, it’s definitely time to expand your horizons as there are varieties out there with way more nutrients and flavor.  Dark leafy greens are like the superheros of vitamins, minerals, and overall kick-ass health, just ask Popeye.  My personal favorites are-

  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Spinach

These 3 aren’t at all bitter like some of their look-a-like relatives, so no worries about that.  When eating kale and chard, be sure to cut out the thick stem before cooking (or just rip the leafy part off the stem with your hands).  I love dinosaur kale (pictured above) because the stem is thin enough to eat, just chop up the whole leaf.  Once you choose your green, choose your way to cook it.  Here are my top 3 ways to cook my favorite superhero greens-

  • Steamed with garlic.  If you don’t own a steamer, no worries, you can saute in water or oil instead.  Be generous with the garlic, lots of roughly chopped garlic and a little salt make these lightly cooked/wilted greens de-lish.
  • A lemon-y saute.  This one may be my favorite.  Saute over medium-low heat the greens, a splash of olive oil, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Move everything around in the pan for a few minutes until greens are cooked.  Then turn off heat and squeeze fresh lemon juice all over.
  • Blend it up.  Because these 3 greens aren’t at all bitter, they act very neutral in a smoothie.  Throw a handful into your regular fruit smoothie (with a little acid to balance it out) and enjoy the added nutrients without changing the flavor.

The measurements for these recipes are up to you.  I eyeball everything and have learned what works for me, so have fun experimenting with adding loads more greens into your life.  Up for being a little more adventurous?  See how many of your regular weekly dishes you can add chopped greens into.

broccoliIf your favorite is still broccoli (it does have that childhood comfort element after all), here’s a new way to cook it (courtesy of my awesome friend, Piper)-

  • Chop into small bite sized pieces and use your hands to toss with olive oil, garlic, and salt on a baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until they start to slightly brown.
  • After removing from oven squeeze lemon juice and sprinkle parmesan cheese over it.

These are all my favorite greens and what to do with them but maybe you have some other personal faves.  What did I miss?  How do you like to prepare your greens and make sure you’re getting enough into your diet?  Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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