If you’ve seen the Greenling newsletter this week, you know that we’re celebrating a great season of greens! Winter is prime time in Texas for kale, spinach, curly mustard, collards, arugula, bok choy, and lots of other leafy vegetables. These nutritional powerhouses are fun to cook with and easy to include in meals, either as main dishes or as sides.
The guide below gives some basic cooking methods for greens, plus suggestions as to which vegetables are best suited for those methods:
Of course, a great way to enjoy greens is on their own, either as a side dish or an entrée. The chart above can help you to incorporate greens into some familiar recipes. Simply match the cooking style of your existing recipe to one of the greens you have on hand. For example, if you’re making scrambled eggs, any of the greens in the “sauté” column will make a great addition: sauté a 1/2 cup of finely chopped greens in a skillet, then add two eggs and cook them as usual.
Add any greens from the “boil” column to comforting dishes like this chicken noodle or tortilla soup for a painless extra serving of veggies with lunch or dinner. Same goes for the greens in the braised column. During the last 10-20 minutes of cooking, throw in a few cups of chopped beet greens, chard, kale or spinach to your favorite braised bratwurst, tofu, or chicken recipes, and you’ve got an instant, one-dish meal.
The biggest secret to cooking with greens is to use the freshest ones you can. Fresh greens from a local farm are more nutritious and taste better than greens that have flown across the country before sitting on a grocery store shelf all week.
It’s also important to choose organic greens, since conventionally grown greens like spinach, lettuce and kale carry high levels of pesticide residue, even after washing. Give your family a green challenge this week and try to include leafy vegetables in as many meals as you can. Your taste buds– and your local farmers– will thank you!