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Greens - how do you prepare them

  • s

I love greens, kale, spinich, bok choi, and others. I am very fortunate to have access to a lot of variety through the local korean & chinese groceries.

However, I've gotten very bored of how I prepare them. I only have 3 methods and they are all around quick stir fry (i.e., salt/pepper and garlic, dash of soy, or oyster sauce).

I would appreciate suggestions on other ways to prepare greens (it doesn't matter which type of cooking: chinese, southern, italian etc) but just looking for new ways to prepare them.

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  1. I'll throw my favorite surprisingly great Kale preparation out there again:

    1 head kale, shredded
    1 avocado chopped
    juice of one lemon
    1 c tomato diced
    salt to taste

    In mixing bowl sprinkle the lemon juice over the kale and then add the avocado. Using your hands, thoroughly massage the avocado into the kale until it "relaxes". Taste and add salt. Mix in the tomato.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chris VR

      A head of kale? What kind of kale?
      I usually use lacinato a.k.a. dino kale, dark green longish narrow leaves sold in a bundle, so your post is confusing me . . .

      The boiled kale soup that is in Zuni Cafe Cookbook is a genius simple surprise. You sweat a couple onions, add some chili flakes, cut the kale to ribbons, cover with water and simmer 30 minutes or less. It's delicious. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/355988

      A more ambitious recipe is malfatti - lucious balls of chard leaves, ricotta, eggs and parmasean, served in sage butter. http://yumpot.blogspot.com/2005/01/an...

      1. re: pitu

        Yeah the recipe calls for a head, but I've never found it that way. Amount wise- it's pretty forgiving. I usually use one "bunch" of kale from the supermarket. When it's all shredded, it looke like WAY too much but once the recipe's done, it's down to a reasonable-looking amount.

        The kind that I've used for this comes with a fairly thick and fibrous stalk (that I cut out), with the very curly leaves- more of a light green than a dark green, but it's what I see in all the supermarkets around here, so it can't be that out of the ordinary.

        I love the sound of the malfatti, will definitely try that with my coop kale this summer!

        1. re: pitu

          I just saved that malfatti recipe, it looks delicious and I have lots of chard in summer. Thanks! I also like chard boiled (put stems in first), drained, dressed with lemon juice, salt, and sliced jalapenos.

      2. One southern style has bacon(!) cooked till crisp, onions cooked till soft; add the greens and cook covered until wilted, uncovered until tender; then season with cider vinegar, salt and pepper. My favorite. I usually use some form of chard, although most southern recipes will call for a mixture of different greens, or just collard greens.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mcsheridan

          I never had southern style greens till I was in my mid-forties and visited Tennessee - I loved them, but when I looked at recipes involving smoked ham hocks and prolonged cooking my enhusiasm cooled. Then a Kentucky-reared friend taught me a less cumbersome technique. Like most standards, it's quite forgiving. Similar to mcsheridan, I brown chopped bacon but then remove it from the pan before sweating the onions in the bacon fat. Add your choice of roughly-chopped greens (it's okay if they still have a little of the rinse water), cover, when fairly tender add balsamic or cider vinegar, chicken or ham broth, pepper, the reserved bacon, and a little apple cider or sugar if you like a sweet-sour taste. It takes maybe 30 minutes from start to finish.

          1. re: greygarious

            You can start with whatever seasoning meat you'd like for southern-style slow cooked greens: tasso (chopped fine), pickled pork, salted pork, smoked sausage, ham hocks, smoked turkey necks, smoked turkey wings, etc. Brown the meat to render some fat (if you use turkey, you might need to add a little fat to get it going), brown the onions & garlic, then add chopped greens as described above. I don't remove the seasoning meat, but rather allow it to simmer along with the greens until they're tender. Don't forget the hot pepper, or serve with some pepper vinegar on the side.

            You can also make a gumbo z'herbes (aka gumbo verte or greens gumbo). Here's a link to a step-by-step recipe: http://bouillie.wordpress.com/2009/02... Basically, you're making a gumbo, then adding a variety of greens in place of the usual protein choices (chicken, sausage, seafood).

          2. re: mcsheridan

            I use a similar recipe for cooking all of my greens: chard, kale, collards, etc., and just adjust cooking time for the toughness of the leaves. Start with bacon or pancetta, cook until crisp and remove to drain, add onion and cook until soft (this is really optional), and about a tablespoon of red pepper flake. Add greens and cook until they brighten up, 1-2 min. Add splash of stock, splash of cider vinegar, salt and pepper and about a tablespoon of sugar. Cover and cook until tender (depending on the kind of green....3-15 minutes). Add the bacon back in. Perfect every time.

            This is my grandma's recipe. Straight from Appalachian NC.

            1. re: hollyd

              Our grandmothers must have known one another, I keep my bacon or pancetta in however. But yes. Very similar. I sometimes use balsamic depending on what I have on hand. I love most greens that way.

              Another great way it I make diced peeled potatoes cooked in cream until soft but not mushy and then add the spinach, kale at the end to lightly wilt. The combo of the cream and the potatoes makes a great mixture. Soups of course and even a stir fry of arugula or any good greens, chick peas, garlic and onion is a great mixture. Easy and quick

          3. Toss them in soup .... (heck, it's only appropriate given your handle).

            1. I'm not a big fan of choy but I cut it up and toss in an Asian soup and that works for me.

              As we round out our CSA membership we have been up to our necks in greens of all types. We have been eating a lot of kale for breakfast done in a southern method of diced onion sweated then the chopped greens are added with a little liquid and cooked until soften. I don't let them go until mushy just soft enough that the chopped stems are tender. S & P and a fried egg on top makes a dandy breakfast.

              1. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (VCFE) has this recipe for Trouchia - apparently a Provencal frittata with Swiss Chard and caramelized onions. I love it and it always gets rave reviews. A little involved, but then it could be a one dish meal. Let me know if you want me to paraphrase it here.

                Agree with ipsedixit about tossing greens in soups. Especially bean or bean and pasta soups. Speaking of pasta, you might want to check out recipes at Heidi Swanson's blog: 101cookbooks.com She has a wonderful pasta with harissa, olives and tuscan kale. I know of at least one other tofu-chickpea-kale skillet on her site that comes together quickly and is plenty good.

                My other two standard treatments for greens are a la Catalan (sauteed with garlic, raisins and pine nuts, also from VCFE) and my native Indian style - hot oil + turmeric + cumin seeds + mustard seeds + asafoetida + garlic + chopped greens + ground corriander. Cook until soft. Salt and chili flakes. Serve with roti or with rice and dal.

                1. I like to add baby spinach to risotto.

                  I also like it in a quick mock-alfredo- sauteed onion and garlic, fat free cream cheese melted and thinned with milk, creole seasoning, then I cook the greens in the sauce and serve over pasta (preferably chard- I do the stems with the onions). Sometimes I add chicken breast to it.

                  1. I really like Michael Chiarello's greens recipe. http://www.napastyle.com/recipe/recip...

                    1. I love chard in a frittata with onion, bacon/pancetta and some good gruyere or similar cheese. Typically, I brown the porkylove, then saute the onions in the fat, then add in the chard until just barely softened. That's the base, but there are a million ways to go with it, all of them delicious.

                      1. spinach with only lemon juice and salt.

                        and i've said before, kale, blanched, then sauteed with a shallot, a little nutmeg, and a splash of cream is amazingly delicious.

                        1. I use them all the time, so good for you, so good to taste. Here are two of my favorites, one a pasta, one an egg dish (they both rock):

                          PASTA WITH GREENS

                          Note: I often make it with Swiss Chard, but I love it with Kale, it gives it a wonderfully spicy kick. Perhaps even better is a mixture of greens, all kinds...mustard, spinach, beet, etc - I love it with beet greens alone.

                          Slice two large bunches of chard/kale/etc about twice the size of matchsticks... it doesn't have to be exact, you could tear it, even.

                          Then, saute it in a mixture of olive oil and butter with chopped onion, garlic (chopped or slivered) and as they cook down, add chopped parsley. (I often add a variety of herbs, though just italian parsley works great. If I have them, I also add chopped tomatoes.)

                          Then toss it with fresh cooked pasta and grated parmesean or pecorino.

                          You can also add a little wine or chicken or vegetable broth about halfway through the saute for additional flavor.

                          This is very tasty.

                          KALE SCRAMBLE 

                          2 T EVOO 
                          2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed 
                          2 ‐ 3 large handfuls kale (or any fresh green: chard, beet green, spinach, etc) washed 
                          and torn into bite sized pieces, stems removed 
                          2 T crumbled feta (or goat cheese or shredded manchego, etc) 
                          3‐4 eggs, lightly beaten 
                          small handful kalamata olives, torn or chopped 
                          salt and papper 
                          1 lemon, halved 
                          ‐ Heat EVOO over medium hear, add garlic and stir until soft, being careful not to 

                          ‐ Add greens and salt& pepper, and sauté until desired consistency (I like them 
                          softer but with still a bit of a bite; others may want to sauté until quite soft) 

                          ‐ Sprinkle cheese all over the greens, then pour in eggs 

                          ‐ Cook until desired consistency. I just cook them as if to scramble, stirring…you 
                          could also evenly distribute everything in the pan, cover, and let cook by sitting. 

                          ‐ Top with olives and squeeze of lemon (this really makes the dish) 

                          1. Finely chopped kale sauteed til tender in olive oil with garlic. Toss in some balsamic vinegar, good fresh tomatoes if available. Toss it all with some penne pasta...fabulous, pretty and good for you. For a side dish I sauteed some kale yesterday with caramelized onions and thought that was too sweet.

                            1. I recently came up with a sausage and greens recipe that everybody in the family likes. Brown a few ounces of the bulk pork sausage of your choice (anything from Jimmy Dean to sweet Italian), then reduce heat to low and add an onion and a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Cook until the onion is soft, drain any excess fat, and stir in a bunch of mustard, turnip, and/or collard greens. Add just enough stock (ham or chicken) to generate some steam, and cook until the greens are just tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with cornbread.

                              Another quick favorite involves roughly chopping some tender greens (spinach, arugula, kale, chard) while cooking up a bunch of pasta. Drain the pasta and toss with the greens and a little cooking water over low heat until the greens are wilted. Add a big pinch of red pepper flakes and a healthy grating of Parmesan cheese. If you want to make the meal heartier, add chopped leftover roast chicken or pork, or toss in a can of tuna.

                              Of course the classic southern cooking method is to simmer tough greens with a ham hock until they are very tender. Not haute cuisine, but very tasty, especially with a few dashes of sport pepper sauce.

                              1. spinach, in a hot pan with olive oil add some garlic, careful not to burn it, then put in the spinach and add fresh lemon juice sea salt and cracked pepper

                                Braise baby bok choy, in soy, ginger, garlic
                                Green beans, butter ,a little water, bacon fat, a few slices of bacon, onion and salt and pepper, and let it cook, quite awhile, I like them stewed.
                                Swiss chard, same way, only no bacon, but I add onion and vinegar and let it cook, then serve with pepper vinegar.

                                1. Something I like to do with kale or collards is a variation on the method used to cook poke sallet: clean the greens and wilt them in a pot as usual, but cook until just tender enough to chew. Plunge into cold water, and squeeze dry. Roll them up into one or more fat cigars, depending on how much you have, and cut across in approximately 1/4" slices. Unroll into a bowl, fluff, then toss and cook with diced bacon (or in olive oil, depending on your personal taste and/or beliefs) until good and hot and steamy. Good with some eggs scrambled in, or as a side dish with pork or duck.

                                  1. I like to sautee swiss chard with lots of onions and garlic until it's wilted and the stalks are tender. It's good plain or you can toss in olives, diced tomatoes, and pine nuts and serve over spaghetti.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                      I do the same. I do always add a tomato to the mix. Delicious!

                                    2. evo
                                      garlic, lots
                                      Red pepper flakes
                                      chopped anchovy, w/ oil from can
                                      greens of choice, roughly chopped
                                      serve over pasta

                                      1. I cook diced potatoes in creams rough chopped skins on, then I once soft, I add mash with a fork some seasoning and then add fresh spinach or arugula. Makes a great side dish.

                                        I love fennel and mushrooms roasted in olive oil. Chop and slice over fresh chard or spinach and drizzle with a honey balsamic vinaigrette. Simple and easy

                                        Spinach, cucumber, apple and red onion sauteed and served warm with a sweet orange marmalade vinaigrette

                                        I make a mix of arugula, spinach, chard, fennel and mushrooms and make a saute that cooks about 30 minutes. I serve over vermicelli or angle hair pasta with with diced roasted tomatoes and grated cheese. A simple sauce

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          I like that last one kc, that sounds like a nice quick dinner in a hurry, providing I had the ingredients on hand. Love angel hair and vermicelli, I feel less guilt.

                                        2. extra virgin olive oil, s & p, red pepper flakes.... saute til wilted. I love to add either canneloni beans (my fave) or some quartered cremini mushrooms...... It's a go to meal (!) for me

                                          1. I've posted this before, but I love to take miso broth, simmer with crushed garlic, all sorts of greens (mustard, kale, bok choy, spinach), wild mushrooms sliced (portabellos, shiitakes, cremini, oyster) til everything is cooked, then mix in a little bragg's amino acids (i know it sounds too salty, but it adds a different dimension), sometimes a little lemon juice; you may want a little sweet added ( i don't but i could see the desire for a little brown sugar), then i beat egg whites with garlic and herb seasoning. while the broth is at a rolling simmer, i drizzle in the whites to make miso drop soup.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Emme

                                              Sounds awesome! When you make miso broth, is it just miso paste stirred into simmering water?

                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                sometimes i cheat and use pre-made miso... otherwise just make a broth that you like to taste as instructed by the paste... can also add to veggie stock instead of water.

                                                1. re: Emme

                                                  I'm going to try that this week! thanks again for the recipe!

                                              2. re: Emme

                                                that sounds great! I love garlic, miso soup, all mushrooms, and greens.... oh and eggs too, so that would be the best dish in the world for me

                                              3. Our favorite methods with greens are two - (1) chinese - blanch the greens in hot water till crisp/tender., drain (maybe run cool water through a bit to stop cooking) and dribble oyster sauce over the greens. Heat a couple of tbsp of peanut oil til smoking, add shredded ginger, cook a minute or so til golden, then pour oil and ginger over the greens and oyster sauce, stir a bit and you are done. sometimes I dribble a bit of sesame oil over the greens too, for even more heightened flavor.

                                                (2) southern italian - blanch the greens, (essential for bitter greens like broccoli rabe), drain and press out water. then saute chopped garlic or whole cloves and some salt in olive oil til golden, add the greens, stir, youre done. Most frequently I also add a handful of chopped parsley and a sprinkling of pepper flakes to the saute, or alternatively, sweet fruit (golden raisins or dried apricots) and a handful of nuts nuts, pinenuts, walnuts, etc. for a more sicilian effect - really delicious with watercress or spinach..
                                                I also like to make saag, usually spinach sauteed in butter with chopped onions and ginger, seasoned at the end with chopped cilantro and garam masala powder to taste. Saag paneert is a further variation from this, with added sauteed cheese and some cream.

                                                Look up some recipes for oshitashi too - its really easy to sauce your spinach or watercress, etc. using the powdered dashi , bonito flakes etc you can buy in an asian grocery and very light and refreshing.

                                                1. This is super easy, tasty and takes no more than 20 minutes.

                                                  Saute onions or shallot in some oil until softened. Add cleaned, chopped greens with lots of salt. Cover and let wilt. Stir pot and cover again, this time turning heat down to medium low. At this point I add lots of chopped garlic, at least 2 large cloves. And some ground black pepper. Recover and let simmer in its own juices, about 15 mins or so.

                                                  Uncover and add an acid, my fave is red wine or balsamic vinegar, but any acid will do. Let simmer a few more minutes uncovered, adding a pinch more salt to taste. Can let stand covered off heat until the rest of your meal is ready. My 5 & 7 y.o. kids even eat this, it's awesome! Enjoy!
                                                  P.S. I usually use with a mix of collard, turnip & mustard greens, but any sturdy green should work here. If you have more tender greens, just adjust time & heat accordingly.

                                                  1. Had a pizza recently with swiss chard topping that was crunchy and yummy and gave me an idea for a totally new way to enjoy leafy greens such as kale, swiss chard, collards, etc.. Wash, dry and cut into ribbons. Mix with a tiny bit of olive oil (just enough to slightly moisten), spread out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a little salt and cayenne. Put into a warm oven (250) for 5 or 10 minutes (don't let them burn) and they will be crispy, slightly salty, with a slight heat and impossible to stop eating. A great snack or a topping for something like mashed potatoes or rice.

                                                    1. For different stemmed greens I cut out the stalks and cut into bite sized pieces and simmer in a bit of chicken stock seaoned with soy sauce. When the stalks are tender and most of the stock is cooked down, I add the leafy bits for a final 40 seconds and then serve.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                        I use to remove the stems but find they have a lot of flavor and texture so chop them fine and use them. We have been eating a LOT of greens since joining a CSA. Tonight's greens were to tops of kohlrabi. The blub was made into a slaw.

                                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                                          Exactly! Never discard anything! And if you do, you're probably getting rid of the best parts.

                                                      2. Greens and beans one of my favorite meals...After blanching the kale (stems cut out) I chop it then saute with minced garlic, pepper flakes maybe some chopped onions, too. Then add them to home made chicken stock with cooked white beans. Heat up with a Parmesan rind. Grate Parmesan over the top. Yum! and nutritious! Thanks to everyone for all the recipes.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: spm

                                                          Cheese, what a great idea! I tried a greens/beans preparation last night with some lemon juice and balsamic vinegar but was missing a savory piece in there. I wanted to add fish sauce but had none. Maybe mushroom soy would be good too?

                                                        2. Masamba (based on recipe from Malawi): kale or collard greens cut into ribbons, steamed, topped with mixture of peanut butter and salsa, served with potatoes.

                                                          Steamed greens topped with hummus and served with brown rice.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: lgss

                                                            - steamed greens with hummus and brown rice-

                                                            I could eat that all day, every day. One of my favorites!

                                                          2. I cook greens in many of the above mentioned ways but with leftover greens, I love mixing them with lettuce and serving in salad. i love leftover cooked kale, mixed with argula and italian tuna in a salad.

                                                            1. I braise kale or cabbage in butter, a few crushed juniper berries and a very good splash of gin (to add to the juniper flavour). Good with porky things

                                                              1. Saute with salt cured lemon and capers.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Brandon Nelson

                                                                  2 ways that I use them.
                                                                  1-Greens pie/souffle - You need a few bunches of greens cleanned and chopped small, add about 6 eggs, one large onion chopped and sauteed until soft, one heaping tablespoon of mushroom boullion powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, salt and pepper. Mix it all up, mash it down into a backing pan. Bake at 350 until browned on top (about 45 min). The is a really easy delish pie, that even my kids love and you can always change it up by adding different veggies or cheese in addition to the greens, like canned artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, brocoli etc..

                                                                  Second, I just tried this recipe for orrichette with greens that I found on the Dececco box of orrichette. You boil water for pasta, and add the chopped greens to the pasta water for 3 or 4 minutes, then add the orrichette for another 10 minutes . In a seperate pan sautee onion and shallot or garlic, when the pasta and greens are done, add them to the onions with a little of the pasta water. It was really simple but actually amazingly tasty!

                                                                2. I am reminded that when I was little, my mother, on the recommendation of a neighbor, mixed together my creamed spinach and smashed boiled potato, with gravy over the top. Like many kids, I wouldn't eat spinach on its own but I didn't object to green-streaked spuds and by the time I hit junior high I liked creamed spinach as is. Just a suggestion for parents whose kids balk at greens - I imagine any greens preparation mixed with potato would be more palatable for finicky children. I imagine that leftover braised greens (balsamic, shallot, garlic, pancetta) mixed with potato and cheese and baked would be a more-than-palatable gratin for me now - must remember that!

                                                                  1. I can't believe I almost forgot to post this beauty. Since seeing this I've made it at least 10 times, occasionally leaving out the pesto, shifting to more chard, less beans, etc. I even added breaded and browned chicken thighs on top once. It's always fabulous.