How To Make Greens: A Guide To Delicious and Nutritious Meals
If you’re looking to add more vegetables to your diet, greens are a great place to start. Greens like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are packed with vitamins and minerals, and are versatile enough to be used in a variety of dishes. In this article, we’ll explore different ways to prepare greens, from simple sautés to hearty smoothies, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about cooking with greens.
Basic Greens Preparation
Before we dive into specific recipes, let’s cover some basic greens preparation techniques that will help you get the most out of your greens.
Wash thoroughly: Greens can be sandy or gritty, so it’s important to wash them thoroughly. Fill a large bowl or basin with water and add your greens. Swirl them around to loosen any debris, then lift the greens out of the water and transfer them to a colander to drain.
Remove stems: Some greens have tough stems that are best removed. Kale, for example, has a woody stem that can be bitter and chewy. To remove the stem, hold the kale leaf in one hand and use the other hand to grasp the stem at the base. Pull your hand up the stem, stripping the leaves from the stem as you go.
Cut or tear into bite-sized pieces: Once your greens are washed and stemmed, cut or tear them into bite-sized pieces. This will help them cook evenly and make them easier to eat.
Cooking Greens: Recipes and Tips
Now that you know how to prepare greens, let’s explore different ways to cook them.
Sautéed Greens: This is one of the simplest and most versatile ways to cook greens. Heat some oil in a pan over medium heat, then add your greens. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted and tender, about 5-7 minutes. You can add garlic, onion, or other seasonings to your sauté for extra flavor.
Smoothies: Greens are a great addition to smoothies, adding fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your drink. Simply blend your greens with some fruit, yogurt, or milk for a quick and delicious breakfast or snack.
Soups and Stews: Greens add flavor and nutrition to soups and stews. Kale, for example, is a great addition to bean soups, while spinach can be added to tomato or chicken soup.
Salads: Greens are the foundation of healthy salads. Use a mix of greens like spinach, arugula, and lettuce as the base for your salad, then add protein (like chicken or tofu), vegetables, nuts, and cheese for a balanced meal.
Roasted Greens: Roasting greens like kale or Brussels sprouts can bring out their natural sweetness and add a crispy texture. Toss your greens with oil and seasonings, then roast in a hot oven (400°F) for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Greens as a Side: Greens make a great side dish for nearly any meal. Simply sauté your greens with garlic and oil, and serve alongside your main dish.
FAQs About Cooking Greens
Q: How do I store greens?
A: To keep your greens fresh, store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They should last for 3-5 days.
Q: Can you freeze greens?
A: Yes, you can freeze greens. First, blanch them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to an ice bath. Drain the greens, then pack them into a freezer-safe bag or container.
Q: Are all greens interchangeable in recipes?
A: While many greens can be used interchangeably in recipes, some have distinctly different flavors and textures. For example, spinach is more delicate and tender than kale, and Swiss chard has a slightly bitter flavor.
Q: Can I eat greens raw?
A: Yes, many greens can be eaten raw, like spinach, arugula, and kale. Raw greens make great additions to salads or smoothies.
Q: How many servings of greens should I eat per day?
A: The USDA recommends that adults eat 1.5-2 cups of dark greens per week. This equates to about 2-3 servings of greens per day.
Adding more greens to your diet is a great way to boost your health and add flavor to your meals. Whether you prefer simple sautés or hearty soups, there are countless ways to prepare and cook greens. With our basic preparation techniques and easy recipes, you’ll be on your way to enjoying more greens in no time!