Want to add more greens to your diet? Variety after all is the spice of life. When cooking and meal prepping, it's essential to include lots healthy ingredients. But many times it’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to vegetables at the dinner table. Greens are a great way to shake up your side dishes! If you don’t cook with greens often, this article is a great place to start.
Green, leafy vegetables don’t need to be limited to just salads. Greens are a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are a flexible food with numerous varieties that can be paired with any dish. The problem is that people usually don’t realise just how easy it can be to incorporate greens into your daily diet.
1. Bok Choy
Bok Choy, also known as Chinese White Cabbage, has a small white bulb at the end and full, green leaves that are rounded. Bok Choy is found in many Asian dishes and offers a mild, tender taste with many benefits. Bok Choy is a great source of fibre and is full of antioxidants. Baby Bok Choy can be cooked whole, but if you are working with mature Bok Choy, you should remove the greens and use them in your cooking. This versatile veggie can be used in soups, on sandwiches or seasoned and eaten on their own. Try these recipes:
- Ten Minute Garlic Bok Choy.
- Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy.
- Bok Choy and Pork Soup.
- Sauteed Bok Choy with Garlic and Soy Sauce.
2. Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard (or just Chard) has been available to us for centuries. It is full of vitamins A, K and C. Chard can be eaten raw, but it has a bitter taste if it isn’t cooked. This leafy green is a great substitute for Arugula in salads. It also has a wonderfully earthy taste. When preparing this green, make sure to remove the tender leaves from the leaf stalk to avoid that bitterness. Chard isn’t usually eaten on it’s own, though it can be incorporated into pastas, soups and salads!
3. Collard Greens
Collard greens are a staple in many southern households. Collards are best eaten cooked and are a great source of vitamins A, C and Manganese. The leaves are large, nutrient dense and mild when cooked. Raw Collards are a little less bitter than Kale and make for a great addition to salads and wraps. Collard Green leaves are very sturdy, making them a great green for stews, soups and braises.
- Grandma’s Southern Style Collard Greens.
- Kickin’ Collard Greens!
- Ham and Bean Soup with Collard Greens.
- Slow Cooker Collard Greens.
4. Beet Greens
Next time you cook with beets, save the leaves! These tall greens are a great source of vitamins A and C. They are great for your eyes and teeth and can even boost your immunity! Raw beet greens have a sweet, mild flavour that's a little earthy. Beet greens pair best with high acid foods like citrus and vinaigrette. This makes them a great option for adding sweetness to a salad. They can be cooked quickly and come out very tender in pasta dishes and soups. Keep in mind that they should be added last when cooking hot dishes. The leaves can easily fall apart and become slimy if cooked too long.
- Sauteed Beet Greens.
- Beet Top Pesto.
- Roasted Beet and Beet Green Salad with Warm Pistachio Salsa Verde.
- Beet and Beet Green Risotto with Horseradish.
5. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens get a bad rap. It’s not as popular as Kale or as interesting as other leafy greens and often goes ignored. This green, however, is great for bone health and has over 500% of your daily vitamin K needs. It also has a very unique, peppery taste that makes it a perfect addition to fresh salads and Italian dishes. When cooked this peppery flavour becomes less mild. You can use Mustard greens in place of Chard or Kale. It is very similar to both these greens, though it is far less bitter and a better option to eat raw.
- Simple Southern Mustard Greens with Bacon.
- Steamed Snapper with Mustard Greens.
- Chinese Mustard Greens Stir Fry.
- Mustard Greens with Apple Cider-Dijon Dressing
Kale is probably the first leafy green that most people think of when they are trying to eat healthy. Kale is a popular choice for a reason! It’s readily available, easy to cook and trendy. This simply means that it is a very accessible, very healthy choice when it comes to greens. Kale has a laundry list of health benefits including lots of vitamins K, C, A, B6. It’s also a fantastic source of fiber. Kale has a bitter taste when eaten raw, but a very mild taste when cooked. Kale is a sturdy green and can withstand boiling, steaming and sauteing. Adding Kale to pasta dishes and soup is a great way to take advantage of the nutrients in Kale while also appeasing picky eaters.
- Kale Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing.
- Easy Skillet Kale with Lemon & Garlic.
- Ina Garten’s Crispy Roasted Kale..
- Vegetarian Kale Soup.
These are just a few of the greens that you could be adding to your diet. Cooking with greens doesn’t have to be boring and bland. There are plenty of unique ways to let greens elevate your cooking.