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Cooking with Greens

swisschardI’ll be the first to admit that I have periods in which I eat an incredibly unhealthy diet. But on a day to day basis, I try to focus on including as many nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables as possible to my diet. Recently, I’ve become obsessed with the wonders of greens. Now I’m not talking about lettuce. I’m talking about those old-fashioned, newly fashionable greens such as kale, Swiss chard, and turnip greens.

Kale, Swiss chard, spinach, and turnip greens are high in Vitamins A, K, and C while being low in calories. Prepared correctly, they can be just delicious. Of course, as with all things, we can take these healthy vegetables and turn them into high calorie nightmares (and I definitely have a weakness for creamed spinach).

An article in a local newspaper set me on my quest to introduce more greens into my diet. The article talked about a tasty kale chip recipe at the 365daysofkale blog. The recipe sounded so intriguing I had to give it a try. I had a bit of difficulty getting the kale dried, but when the chips came out of the oven they were indeed delicious. Now that the weather’s turned a bit cooler here, I know I’ll be making these again.

I don’t have any particularly fancy ways of cooking Swiss chard. I basically saute a bit of olive oil in a pan and then add in some chopped garlic. I chop up the colorful stems of the chard and cook those in the olive oil for a few minutes before adding in the thoroughly cleaned and dried leaves. I stir them a bit, and generally don’t have to add any liquid. About the only seasoning I use is some salt and pepper, along with a few red pepper flakes.

I tried a different recipe this past week for Trader Joe’s “southern greens” mix (mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, and spinach) by loosely following a recipe on the back of the bag. After sauteing a shallot in some olive oil, I dumped in the greens. To this I added a cup of V8 juice and a cup of vegetable broth. Once the liquids boiled, I turned down the heat, covered the pan, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. It was delicious! I also had a lot of leftovers. As an experiment, I heated some of the greens for breakfast (yes, greens for breakfast) and topped them with a poached egg. Now I know that’s not a breakfast for everyone, but for me, it really worked.

I expect I’ll be experimenting with some greens and beans soups this fall and winter, but have yet to settle on the perfect first recipe to try.

Do you ever prepare greens at home? If so, what are your favorite greens, and what are your favorite recipes?


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