teach me about leafy greens - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 08-05-2002, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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i think i know why they are soo good for me, but a "refresher" would not hurt.
the only leafy greens i use are lettuce (romaine, green leaf & red leaf).
i HATE spinach when it is cooked, but liked it fresh in a salad once. the problem? the salad had bacon in it and other unhealthy ingridients.
aside from that .. i don;t even know how those other leafy greens look, taste, how to cook them, what to do with them.
please shed some light on this issue for me.

dd 05.17.2005
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#2 of 8 Old 08-05-2002, 02:50 PM
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Hi valeria_vi,

I love lotsa leafy greens, but they definitely have to be prepared right to be delicious!

There are many varieties of kale, and most, IMO, are bitter and not-so-nice to eat raw. Fortunately, there is one yummy variety -- lacinato (also called dinosaur) kale. It is really delish! We juice it every morning with some carrots. Here's what else we do:

Pasta Saute
-I chop it into very small pieces and quickly saute it with garlic, sundried tomatoes from a jar (along the with olive oil used to preserve the tomatoes). I mix that with some cooked orzo pasta -- as much as you like. We use about 1.5 cups (pre-cooking volume). So, so, so good!

Beans and Greens Soup
-Again, I chop it into small pieces and saute with onion and sometimes vegetarian sausage crumbles. I add two cans of cannelini beans, and about 6-8 cups of vegetable broth. PLUS, fresh nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Delicious soup!

I also love spinach, dinosaur kale, green or red chard (spinach relative) prepared thusly:

Sauteed Greens
chopped into bite-size pieces, sauteed in LOTS of carmelized garlic (cook the garlic in olive oil until it is brown and sweet). Then, add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Yum! Yum!

Give the chards and dinosaur kale a whirl. You will love it! Note: mustard greens, which are also quite healthy are *very* bitter. I almost never eat them, as a result. You *can* cook them in soups, and if you cook them all day, the bitterness will go away.

I think that you loved the pungency of the bacon in the salad you had. I love the taste of bacon, too. Try substituting sundried tomatoes hydrated in olive oil or water chopped up in your greens instead. They also have a strong flavor like bacon.

Bon Appetit!


Jean, happy HS mom to Peter (5), Daniel (9) and Lucie (2) and also someone new... baby.gif
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#3 of 8 Old 09-06-2002, 02:11 AM
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I was never that fond of leafy greens until I started cooking them in olive oil and garlic. Some do need to be steamed first or have the center stem cut out (chard in particular) before sauteeing. I add a very small amount of fleur de sel (a very delicious form of sea salt that is worth the price) before serving. My local farmers market has sells amaranth greens and they are my absolute favorite! My husband and I actually fight over them and today I ate about two cups before I even sat down for dinner. Before I discovered this wonderfun weed, beet greens were my favorite. Just remember, LOTS of garlic!
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#4 of 8 Old 09-06-2002, 01:08 PM
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I love greens, and jeanvanzyl and EmsMom have posted some great ideas.

When I make soup I nearly always add finely chopped kale or collards for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Greens taste great with vinegar or lemon juice. If I saute them I throw a little apple cider or balsamic vinegar or juice on them right before serving. And I totally agree that lots of garlic is great with greens.

Kale and collards are also great with beans. I make cannelini beans with lots of onion and garlic and sage and add collards at the end. First I steam them for 5 or so minutes, then throw them into the bean mixture. Top it off with balsamic vinegar. This time of year I also through in fresh chopped cherry tomatoes on top.
You can do the same thing with chickpeas and use different spices (cumin and coriander perhaps).

Often when a recipe calls for spinach I use kale or collards instead (I have an abundance in my garden, they are way easier to grow then spinach). Just give them a longer cooking time than spinach.

I also like turnip greens and beet greens, but avoid mustard greens at all cost. I'm going to have to look for amaranth greens- sounds great!

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#5 of 8 Old 09-08-2002, 08:53 AM
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Emsmom- you just rocked my world- I have a TON of amaranth in my yard (ilet it self-sow because I love the look of it) but didn't know you could eat the leaves. Thanks for the tip! Do you prepare them like any other kind of green?
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#6 of 8 Old 09-08-2002, 02:55 PM
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we buy spinach and leafy lettuce at the same time, wash and dry it all and mix it. then when we make salad or put some on a sandwich, the spinach sneaks in there with the lettuce....

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#7 of 8 Old 09-08-2002, 04:02 PM
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Mmmm...We eat leafy greens every day - spinach, kale or collards. In fact we did not have much time for gardening this year so greens are all we planted! The other mamas had some great ideas on how to prepare them, but it can be tricky to get some kids to eat them! Here is what we do...Whenever I make pasta I put some collards or kale (stems removed) in the boiling water one or two minutes before the pasta is done. Then I drain it, remove the greens, chop and stir them back into the pasta. If I chop them before i put them into the water, they tend to stick to the strainer and clump up. Even our Annie's mac & cheese gets greens!
I also add finely chopped cooked greens to omlets, pizza, burritos, rice etc. If the dish has a topping or sauce that the kids like (cheese, sesame oil & Bragg's, red sauce etc.) they don't mind the greens. My 7 year old actually complains when I forgot to add them to something! It is really important to me that they eat leafy greens, because the only other green veggie they like is broccoli. Lacinto/Dinosaur kale is awesome!
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#8 of 8 Old 09-09-2002, 11:42 PM
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LaLaLuna -- I get my greens from the farmer's market and they seem to have a few different names: quelites, wild spinach, lambs quarters and amaranth. It is very possible that a few varieties have the same name so please check out with a reputable source!My farmer says they just grow wild on her farm so they let a whole field go wild with them. If they are the same, I just rip the leaves off the stems and cook them in olive oil and garlic until soft (same as spinach). Then I add the fluer de sel or other sea salt. Yum! Our season for them has passed and I am so sad.
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