Five Ways To Eat Greens
A lot of people find kale intimidating not just because of the huge difference in appearance from lettuce, but because of its distinctive taste. When eaten on its own, it can taste “too healthy” for some palates and unfortunately can scare people away.
The trick is to add kale as an accent complimented by other ingredients rather than putting a big pile front and center onto your plate. Incorporating kale into a large dish is an amazing (and sneaky) way to get anyone acquainted with it.
All you have to do is mince the leaves finely and sprinkle them into your favorite stuffed mushroom recipe.
Don’t have one? Simply preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, remove the stems from baby portobello mushroom caps, stuff them with goat or non-dairy cheese, chopped scallions and finely chopped sprinkles of kale. Roast them for 10 to 15 minutes and you’ve got a tasty side dish for dinner tonight!
Rainbow chard is the better option for those who aren’t big fans of leafy greens, especially kids. The colorful stems are inviting and the leaves are more tender with a mild flavor. Full of vitamins K, A, and C, chard is a popular green to grow in the garden (even your flower beds too!).
Unlike kale, the stalks can be cooked and eaten, however it’s best to add them to the pan so that they can cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer than the leaves that require very little time to cook.
A fun way to combine rainbow chard into a main course is Chicken and Chard. Dr. Amy Myers has an amazing Paleo Rainbow Chard and Chicken Stir-fry recipe which is healthy while still incorporating great flavors. Try it for yourself!
Escarole is a pretty, leafy green that can be eaten raw or cooked. Though it can look an awful lot like a salad green, it’s not. (See the picture at the top of this article of Jennifer holding escarole!) It’s related to endive, but is usually not quite as bitter. If you’ve ever eaten Italian Wedding Soup, then you’ve probably had escarole since it’s the green that’s typically added. Here’s one of Jennifer’s favorite ways to cook escarole in less than 10 minutes.
Savory Sautéed Escarole
- 1 head escarole, chopped, rinsed and spun/dried
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove medium garlic, minced
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil, butter or rendered fat for cooking
- Sea salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
1) Add your oil to a sauté pan and heat over medium-low. Once oil is fluid and coats pan, add the onion. Move it around in the oil so that it get coated and then allow it to cook for about 4 minutes, occasionally stirring, until onion becomes translucent. Then add garlic and cook it for about 1 minute.
2) Now add escarole and use a big spoon to keep turning it in the pan. Once it’s all wilted (in a matter of minutes), remove pan from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Can serve 2 or 3 depending on size of escarole.
Cabbage is part of the Cruciferous plant family that includes broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. You may recall Dr. Terry Wahls on the Gluten Free School Podcast mention eating cabbage and other sulfur-rich vegetables to help overcome mineral and vitamin deficiencies.
You can add cabbage into your diet through cole slaw or sauerkraut. Try different types of cabbage such as the purple variety or savory cabbage for a change. Or you can really crank up the volume on the flavor with some exotic flair. Because cabbage is a staple in Eastern European cooking, you’re probably already familiar with certain dishes that have it as part of its recipe.
One of my family favorites is from Belarus called “Kapusta”. Belarusian savory fried kapusta is a dish that incorporates fresh garden vegetables with garlic and warm spices that allows cabbage to steal the show. (Check out the easy recipe at the end of this post!)
Most people think of collard greens as a part of southern US cooking which can make them seem foreign if you don’t know how to cook them properly. Luckily, there’s no one way to use collards (or any other green for that matter). Chop collard greens finely and “hide” them in fruit based smoothies, chili, chunky stews, pasta sauces and soups. Sometimes you might find them finely chopped and flash frozen in your local grocery store.
You can also eat them raw! They make for better “lettuce” wraps than do actual lettuce leaves because they’re more durable and can hold warm/hot foods without disintegrating. Whether you use them to make wraps or in place of tortillas, just make sure to cut off the bottom 2 inches or so of the stem that’s embedded inside of the leaf on the thickest end.
And the best part about collard greens? They have the highest level of calcium of all the dark leafy greens. Anyone hoping to build strong bones should definitely add collard greens to their weekly menu.