Greens are good and good for you. I love greens: Swiss chard, spinach, beet, mustard, amaranth, collard, radish, kale and so many others are all great to eat. I also love the leaves of cauliflower, broccoli, and brussel sprouts and cook them in the same manner, chopping the stems and cooking them a little longer. (I do not use carrot tops as they concentrate arsenic from the soil). I’m always surprised when people tell me they don’t like greens. They usually haven’t had them prepared in a way they like. The usual method of cooking greens with salted pork or bacon is tasty to many, but takes awhile, and the greens are very, very cooked. My method takes almost no time at all, and results in a light, bright just wilted green that’s delicious, and healthy.
Greens are packed with nutrition and a great source of fiber. They are rich in iron, potassium, zinc and other minerals. Amaranth is a rich source of folate, and other B vitamins. Swiss chard and beet greens are rich sources of vitamin A, which is more readily absorbed by the body if eaten with a little good fat, like extra virgin olive oil. Overall, the nutritional profiles of all greens are such that it’s a shame not to have them as a regular part of our meals. They also keep you feeling full with very few calories.
Greens need to be washed well. I soak mine in lots of water in the sink, allowing dirt to sink to the bottom, and then drain (see Food Safety). I separate the leaves from the stems, which I chop and sauté before adding in the greens.
This is more a method than a recipe and can be adjusted for various quantities as ‘a bunch’ varies tremendously. Remember, that greens cook down considerably, so start in a large pan. You will end up with a much smaller volume in the end. Always salt at the end, when you can see the cooked amount, otherwise you’ll usually end up with overly salty and watery greens.
I’m showing rainbow chard here, because that’s what’s growing where I am. It’s also very tender and sweet. And pretty.
RECIPE: Basic Greens
- 1 bunch greens (washed and chopped, about 8 cups of greens)
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar (I like champagne and cider)
- Salt and Pepper
- Heat oil in large pan with pepper flakes.
- Add the stems and sautee for 3-4 minutes to soften.
- Add greens and toss to wilt and cook through.
- Add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and toss to evenly distribute.
Makes 4 servings.