(Dietary changes should be discussed with a health care provider.)
I think people who avoid dark green leafy things, other than spinach, tend to avoid them for one of three reasons: they either don’t know how to cook them; don’t know what they taste like; or are scared away by the name “bitter greens”. I’m here to let you know that they are easy to cook, are full of fantastic flavor, and are about as scary as Kermit the Frog.
Here are three suggestions to counteract green avoidance:
SAUTE THEM – By far the easiest way to cook any leafy greens is to rough chop them and sauté them in a swirl of olive oil or in a quarter to half an inch of vegetable broth and/or water. Just warm them until they are slightly or well wilted, but stop before they look like defrosted frozen spinach. They will cook down to about half their original volume; so, I use a deep wok-like pan. You can subtly season them or spice them up, but greens have SO MUCH NATURAL FLAVOR that there is no need to add a thing if you don’t feel like it. My current favorite is collard greens.
SOUP THEM UP or MAKE THEM SAUCY – Soup and greens were made to go together! You don’t have to make soup from scratch to find out. Chop the greens, put ‘em in a pot and pour your favorite healthy canned or boxed soup on top. By the time the soup is hot the greens are done enough – though the flavor melds better with just a little simmering. Escarole is a long time favorite of mine for this purpose. Kale is what my husband most often puts in his soup these days. You can also use the kale like spinach in any Florentine sauce, or chop it very, very finely and “hide” it as an herb in any sauce or recipe. (Trader Joe’s has great frozen kale, which makes it easy to keep on hand year round.)
ADD FLAVOR or FLARE – Turnip greens have a mild spiciness that I love. Consider finely chopping them and adding them to, say, meatloaf or burger-like dishes. They can also be easily stirred into any “one-dish” meal – from scratch or premade. Finally, be creative; use beet greens for color. Even the leaves of the beets turn whatever you cook them with a pretty pink, which is popular with the kids. Have fun and enjoy some new flavors.
CHALLENGE #23 of 50:
Go green. If at first you don’t enjoy, try, try again.
QUOTE of the WEEK:
Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want.