Thursday, October 15, 2009

Leafy Greens

We all know we need to be eating plenty of leafy greens. Eating lots of leafy green vegetables is about the best thing we can do for our health. A diet with an abundance of leafy green vegetables is associated with stronger bones, better memory, and reduced risk of diabetes, colon cancer, cataracts, macular degeneration, and stroke.

But I'm often confronted with a vegetable drawer full of rotting greens at the end of a cooking week. If you're anything like me, you don't really know what to do with them. When I was growing up, the only greens that showed up on the table were an occasional salad, my mom's special fried cabbage, and Stouffers frozen spinach souffle. I'm sure my mom was served a pretty similar diet when she was a kid. It's challenging to include unfamiliar foods when you have no idea what to do with them.

We all know fifty ways to cook a potato, and it's no secret that Americans eat a lot of potatoes. So for a few years I've been collecting greens recipes as fast as I can. Kale hasn't replaced the french fries in my life, but I'm more likely to eat it if I know several ways to cook it.

At the top is an arugula salad with tahini dressing. Arugula has a strong, peppery bite to it. It's probably not a good green to start with if you're just branching out. Because it's so strong, I like to pair it with a really mild salad dressing. Usually I make one with tahini, rice wine vinegar, and a tiny bit of chili garlic sauce.

This is a salad inspired by my friend La. She grew up eating a salad with every lunch and dinner, and while we lived together I picked up her good habit. Too bad it didn't last when I moved out. La introduced me to fruit in salads. This one is romaine, half an apple, carrots, and pepitas. The dressing is Annie's Goddess Dressing. I would eat almost anything if you covered it in enough of that dressing.

I also love to eat saag (an Indian spinach puree), garlicky kale with tahini dressing, kale chips, and my mom's special cabbage stir fry (recipe coming soon).

How do you like to eat your greens?


Chile said...

Dealing with greens is an issue we often face at my CSA in the winter. New members are often completely overwhelmed with the quantity we get. In one week, it is possible to get salad greens, cooking greens, and several root vegetables (such as turnips and beets) with greens attached.

Check out the recipe database for my CSA. At the top is a guide to using winter greens. If you scroll through the list of vegetables, you'll also come across the various greens along with plenty of recipe ideas.

Another tasty salad with arugula is very simple. We created it one day with ingredients at the CSA pick-up: arugula, apple, lime juice, and salt & pepper.

Jeni Treehugger said...

Leafy green veggies are my favourite. I often eat just a plate of spinach for a snack. Your salad looks DELICIOUS!

mollyjade said...

Thanks, Chile. I actually just joined a CSA for the first time, which is probably part of the reason greens are so on my mind.

Evelyn said...

I love greens! I like to put cut-up kale leaves on a pizza in the last 3 or so minutes of cooking. It crisps up like kale chips but only takes a couple minutes because the oven is so hot. I also use kale in pineapple peanut butter stew from Moosewood Cooks at Home. But I love it just as a side dish: Saute some onion and garlic in oil, add kale and cook covered, stirring occasionally, until kale is wilty enough for you. I like to serve it with orange foods, like butternut squash or sweet potato.

Alin said...

That apple salad situation looks incredible!

My fave greens recipe is the Spicy Greens with Cumin from Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. Seriously amazing. But I usually just steam greens and splash a little apple cider vinegar to serve.

LOVE greens!