Does your salad ever get boring? If you eat enough of them…they will. Do you use the same type lettuce along with spinach for every salad? It is so easy to run in the store and grab a bag of greens. Unfortunately, we end up eating the same type greens over and over and miss a lot of good ones out there. They have helped us a little by providing the spring mix…but it doesn’t contain all the greens we could be eating. We miss out on a lot of tasty and nutritious greens by limiting to the same rotation of lettuce and spinach.
Do you walk into the produce department, look around and don’t know half the names of the greens you see? You are not alone. During the last several decades gardening went by the way side and was replaced with convenience. Luckily the next generation is learning all about gardening, so the art of it is coming back. However, right now, you need a lesson on greens. Add variety to your salads by integrating these greens into your diet.
These are fantastic! Prepare them the old southern way (steamed) or use them as a lettuce wrap (more sturdy than a red or green leaf lettuce). Click here for Ashly’s recipes. Research shows they lower artery-clogging cholesterol better than spinach. So whether you are making yourself a green smoothie, fixing a sandwich or need a hot veggie for your meal…try the collards.
This is an earthy, bitter green. It is a winter vegetable so you will find it is sweeter during that season. It is packed full with Vitamins A and C. in only 1 cup AND six times the daily requirement of bone-boosting vitamin K. Kale is very nutrient dense. Because of its strong flavor, I have 3 serving suggestions
- green smoothie (start small)
- Sautéed in olive oil with mushrooms…divine!
- Dehydrate into chips. Recipe here (thanks Lisa for this fantastic recipe)
Turnips are a bit bitter. The tops are loaded with Vitamin K and fiber. 1 cup provides 20% of RDA for vitamin B6.
How to prep?
Blanching takes out some of the bite. Then toss with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.
Bok Choy is also known as Chinese cabbage. It is mildly sweet and is a big source of calcium. This is an interesting tidbit…it is a high source of calcium because it is low in oxalate which is a compound found in many other greens that blocks the absorption of the mineral. Bok Choy also contains 25 kinds of cancer-fighting antioxidants.
How to prep?
- Great in stir fries.
- Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for 5 min.
Watercress has oval shaped leaves with a peppery smell. They are packed full of carotenoids (vision protecting nutrient) and compounds that inhibit the growth of breast cancer tumors.
How to prep:
Trim the stems and add leaves to salads, sandwiches, dress up the plate with this peppery leaf when serving beef and pork chops.
Eye popping colorful stems means FRESH. Swiss chard is a relative to the beet and is packed full of Vitamins A and C. Just 1 cup will supply more than 20% of daily need for Iron.
How to prep?
- Soften the leaves; blanch in boiling salted water fir a few minutes, then sauté in olive oil, salt and garlic then toss with golden raisins.
- Add them to a green smoothie.
Escarole looks a little like romaine but has a firm texture and pale color with a slightly bitter taste. This green is nutrient dense with fiber, folate (good for the heart), along with Vitamins A,C and K.
How to prep?
The inner leaves are sweet, so they are very tasty in a salad. Cut off the end, remove the core and toss the leaves with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt; top with parmesan cheese. Use the outer leaves for soups and chili’s.
Including a variety of greens in your diet is essential for your health. Begin experimenting 1-2 times per week by adding a new green with dinner or in your salad. These greens are good cooked, raw or in a smoothie.