Thursday, May 16, 2013

Leafy Greens

Green leafy vegetables have so much nutrition packed into them.  In case anyone forgot, I'll remind you that they provide plenty of the following:

Fiber
Iron
Potassium
B vitamins
Calcium (not spinach and Swiss chard though)
Essential fatty acids

They are also a great source protein and carbohydrates.  Furthermore, they are alkaline forming to help balance out the acidity in our bodies that leads to disease. 

 Beet greens

We are supposed to eat more green leafy vegetables.  But vegetarians and vegans all know this and we always eat plenty of them, right?  Well, maybe not.  I was always more than willing to eat greens but I struggled to prepare them in a way that I truly enjoyed.  I didn't give up though and a couple months ago I came up with this recipe.  Now I eat them almost every day with my lunch.  I haven't tried this technique with the more bitter greens like mustard and dandelion but I plan to.  My favorites so far in order are collard greens, beet greens, spinach, and Swiss chard.

It is easiest to clean all your greens as soon as you get home from shopping.  I use a salad spinner and then leave them all over the kitchen on towels to dry completely.  I pack them in Ziploc bags wrapped in paper towels.  They will keep in the fridge for about 5 days but they will be more nutritious the sooner you eat them.  If you've already cleaned them, it only takes a few minutes to cook them up and start eating more greens.

Collards drying

Leafy Green Saute

For one serving:
1 teaspoon olive oil1 clove garlic, sliced
2 cups chopped leafy greens
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sambal oelek
1 teaspoon tamari
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Place the garlic and olive oil in a cold skillet.  Turn the heat on low.  When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the greens.  Stir to coat.  Add pepper and nutmeg and mix.  Add sambal oelek and cook about 1 minute.  Add the tamari and cook until greens are softened and cooked to your liking (2-3 minutes).  Stir in the balsamic vinegar, moving your head away so you don't breathe in the vinegar fumes (I forgot to do this today and spent the next several minutes coughing!).  If you aren't eating them immediately, cover the pan.

Lunch today
Collards, lemon asparagus, breaded eggplant, noodles, and homemade bread 

This recipe is for one serving because I usually make it for myself for lunch.  The amounts are all estimates and depend on your taste.  Make sure not to add too much vinegar though.  It will overpower it completely.

There are endless varieties to this recipe.  Here are some possible substitutions:

Sambal Oelek - crushed red pepper flakes, Sriracha, any hot sauce you prefer, fresh hot peppers (added with the garlic)

Tamari - soy sauce, salt (but then you will need to add some water)

Balsamic vinegar - any vinegar will work.