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Jan 5, 2010 12:56 PM

Green leafy vegetables.

I've had the largest craving for green leafy vegetables lately, and I'm looking for some new varieties to try out.

I prefer something that doesn't need to be blanched, but can be sauteed quickly with some garlic and oil, and stand on its own. I grew up eating sauteed broccoli rabe or escarole or spinach, so anything along those lines would probably be a safe bet. I hate raw salad leaves -- the texture makes me gag.

I've heard good things about mustard greens, dandelion greens, kale, arugula, endive, chicory, and swiss chard, but have no idea if these can be prepared similarly, or if I might like them.

Any suggestions?

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  1. I have been making kale and chard and after washing and chopping I do saute as you suggest, but perhaps I like it more tender than some because I feel it needs a little water (in addition to what is left on the leaves after washing) and then a cover for a few minutes; when it is tender enough I remove the cover to let any leftover water steam away. Sometimes I put in good grape tomotoes in season, sometimes a little balsamic vinegar. Also good tossed with pasta. I think if you like the spinach and rabe, you should definitely give kale and Swiss chard a try.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gourmanda

      I do agree that some of the greens need a bit of wilting with water or stock. Put as little in as possible after pan frying them.

      I never thought of adding grape tomatoes. I'll bet the acidity is a nice pairing with the slight bitterness of the greens. YUMMY!!!

    2. I don't think I'd cook dandelion greens or arugula. Chard (green or red) is good sauteed, just chop up the veins separate from the rest of the leaf and start them in the pan a minute or so before the rest. Mustard greens have a definite bite most of the time so don't expect the same taste. I think they're good with chickpeas and curry spices. You can try baby bok choy or maybe regular bok choy without blanching. If you're willing to blanch, there are a lot of options. I'd say just find an Asian grocer, buy some green veggies (yau choy, Chinese broccoli, etc) you don't recognize, blanch or steam if thick, stir fry/saute if they seem small enough to cook through. If you don't like it, at least you learned something.

      4 Replies
      1. re: luniz

        I'll second the arugula choice.

        1. re: luniz

          Why not cook dandelion greens or arugula? I adore arugula pesto. Just blitz the arugula with the oil of your choice and some hazelnuts and hard cheese of your choice. YUM. Dump on hot pasta.

          Dandelion greens would be great cooked southern style.

          I love chard, especially in lasagna. It's also fabulous sauteed with some garlicky olive oil, golden raisins, garlic and fresh red pepper flakes. The sweet-hot style is zippy.

          1. re: Vetter

            Re: arugula pesto - that has to be the most exciting thing since grape leaf pesto ( I am trying that this weekend, thanks.

          2. re: luniz

            in my neck of the woods, arugula is very expensive. cooking enough of it to make a decent serving would be pricey -- plus, i don't think it tastes great cooked.

            really fresh mustard greens are a revelation, but sadly, those are hard to come by.

          3. I make all these greens, with the exception of endive and chicory, by the method you mentioned. I especially like dandelion greens, though many people find them too bitter.

            I would also highly recommend you to try out any Asian greens you can get. There are many delicious varieties if you live near a Chinatown or an Asian market. I especially like Yu Choy, Chinese broccoli, bok choy, and pea shoots.

            4 Replies
            1. re: visciole

              Second the Chinatown suggestion. Also a huge fan of water spinach.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                3rd on the Chinese vegetables.... Napa cabbage and the various choys.
                Also, Savoy cabbage and the red & green/white varieties.
                Endive is lovely either braised or in a gratin and chicory is a very nice addition to soups.

                1. re: Gio

                  Bok Choy is awesome with the greens included. i add them at the end so they don't become overcooked. I also add them to a chicken soup with asian noodles that I make. So good.

                  1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                    i love whole or split baby bok choy, esp. braised with some chicken stock, soy sauce, a dash of oyster sauce, and garlic. then squeeze some lemon on top, if you like a little acidic kick -- or some hot chili vinegar, to keep in the genre.

                    a quickie way is to braise in a little water with one of these lee kum kee sauces:

                    i like to use napa cabbage to make cole slaw sometimes.
                    cook regular cabbage (chopped) with some bacon and diced rutabaga.

            2. I'd forgotten that I like the bite of mustard greens. I believe I sauteed them and added grated parmesan. Haven't fixed them in awhile. I'll have to look for them. Garlic would be good with them too, I think.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sueatmo

                Sueatmo, do you find the bite is still there when the mustard greens are cooked? I just recently discovered them and I LOVE the wasabi-like noseburn I get eating them raw...but sauteed or added to a soup, that sensation goes away, for me...just wondering how you compare the raw. vs. cooked.

              2. you might also try mustard, turnip or collards in a traditional southern prep. i simmer torn greens in chicken broth with a pinch of red pepper flake until the greens are tender. usually done to quite tender by most southern cooks but you can stop wherever you like. turnip greens are often simmered with diced turnip.

                serve with a piece of cornbread and plenty of the broth with vinegar to taste. and a side of any beans you like. pintos are traditional. next day add more broth and some slivered ham or chicken and thin sliced onion for a quick soup.

                if you're truly craving, the "pot liquor" is a good break drink on its own.