Greens are like the superheroes of our produce department. Low in calories and high in nutrients, dark leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, bok choy, kale are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and E, calcium and iron, and are also a good source for magnesium and potassium. The beta carotene in greens can support your immune system, too. Here’s some easy ways to pack your day full of greens.
Start the day strong.
Having a green-filled breakfast is like getting a head start on winning the day. Breakfast greens can go way beyond smoothies — think scrambles, omelets and breakfast sandwiches. Monday mornings, beware.
Try it: Savory Oats with Hearty Greens
Blanch to tune out any bitterness.
The slightly bitter taste of some greens like broccoli rabe, mustard greens, kale and turnip greens can be tamed by blanching, a culinary pro move that sounds fancy, but is actually super simple. Plunge greens into boiling hot water for a couple of minutes, then drain and cool for tender, ready-to-eat greens.
Try it: Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Olive Oil
Prep now, eat later.
Once you’ve blanched hearty greens like collards and broccoli rabe, refrigerate or freeze batches of them for quick meals later. They’re an easy add to faster stir-fries, pastas, omelets, soups and grain bowls.
Get kids into the green stuff.
Cheesy flavors are the perfect entry point to introduce kids to greens. Spinach and cheese ravioli is an easy start — once they’re on board, try stirring frozen spinach into their mac and cheese, sandwiching greens into grilled cheeses and serving kale chips at snack time.
Try it: Vegan Cheesy Kale Chips and Grilled Cheese and Greens
Save your beet and turnip tops.
If you’re lucky to to find root vegetables like beets and turnips with their greens attached, know that they’re edible and totally delicious. You can use them in any recipe calling for Swiss chard.
Try it: Tangy Buttered Beets and Beet Greens with Dijon
Collards are the new wrap.
Grain-free and naturally sturdy, blanched collard greens can be stored in the refrigerator for quick lunches and dinners. Just fill with your favorite sandwich or burrito fillings and use the collard leaves like you would a tortilla, overlapping two leaves for a larger wrap. Make sure you keep the collard stems on — they’ll give your wrap structure.
Turn up the green in your grain bowls.
Adding more greens than grains to your bowls gives you that same hearty-meal satisfaction with an extra pat-yourself-on-the back feeling of getting more nutrients in. Even if you’re eating them on the couch or at your desk. (Isn’t that the beauty of bowls?)
Try it: Greens with Carrots, Feta Cheese and Brown Rice
Yes, of course salads.
One amazing kale salad is all it takes to convert a greens skeptic. We have a little experience in this area. Try adding chopped apples or citrus opens in a new tab for a burst of sweetness or turn to every salad’s best friend, avocado. A kale massage is totally optional, but a good dressing is a must.
Try it: Kale Waldorf Salad and Kale, Carrot and Avocado Salad
Greens can totally be comfort food.
Nutrient density aside, greens are there for the times you just need a bowl of something hearty, savory and soulful. Canned pantry goods like coconut milk or canned white beans are key to adding creamy richness.
Try it: “Creamed” Kale and Sautéed Greens with White Beans and Garlic
Don’t let your greens go to waste.
If your greens are looking a little limp in your crisper, act fast. Green smoothies can help you quickly finish that ambitious box of baby greens. And you can really pack a lot of greens of any kind into frittatas and soups.
Try it: How to Cook: Frittata and Hearty Greens Soup with Bowtie Pasta and Tomatoes