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Recipes for Greens

I've got 2 small children and a not-too-picky husband. As part of our "less-meat" lifestyle, we already eat a lot of vegetables. But greens are SO easy to grow and SO nutritious, I feel like a fool that we never eat them. Why not? I've never found a recipe that anyone in my family really enjoys. So give them to me here.... A fantastic recipe, a revolutionary technique, a newby introduction. How do I get my family eating and enjoying their greens? Turnip greens, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, whatever you've got.

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  1. I like spinach and mustard greens. I fix them one of two ways: in a bean or other chicken based soup or braised. If I put then in a soup, I add them at the last. I like the greens to have a bit of their color left when I serve them. For braising, I simply sautee onion and garlic in olive oil and add the chopped greens to the pan, turning them in the oil and onion, and then add some chicken broth. I then cook on medium heat until I they are ready to eat. I add some grated cheese, some bacon bits, or toasted sunflower seeds or chopped almonds. I also like to spoon some canned chopped tomato in the mix shortly before serving.

    I had almost forgotten: I like spinach or a mix of spinach and mustard greens mixed with cooked lentils. I cook the lentils in chicken broth. When they are almost done, I sautee the onion and garlic as above. I add the greens to the pot (there should be a little oil in the pot) and roll them around to wilt and cook them. I then spoon the cooked lentils into the cooked greens, mixing lightly. You can add a few chopped canned tomatoes to this as well. Serve with hot sauce. I like the black lentils the best with this dish.

    1. Saute a couple of minced cloves of garlic in a few T olive oil. Add about a cup or cup and a half of basmati rice and stir to coat. Pour in about 1/4 cup vermouth or white wine. Stir until rice absorbs this, then add 10-16 oz chopped greens (any kind!). Pour in just enough chicken broth to cook the rice, put a lid on the pot and simmer 15 minutes or so. Check to see if rice is tender, or if you need more broth. When rice is done, add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan and maybe some salt if it needs it.

      We also like to blanch greens until tender, then saute them with garlic and oil, and put a poached or fried egg on top for an easy weeknight dinner. Serve with crusty bread.

        1. Soup: sausage, white beans, kale, leeks or onion, broth.
          Greens cooked with a smoked turkey wing.

          1. A friend sent me what was more a description than a recipe (since he knows I know how to cook most things) for beans and polenta with greens. It's best done with braised black kale (cavolo nero or dragon kale are two of its other names). I do the braising as sueatmo does, except I use just water, or maybe water plus some white wine or lemon, since Mrs. O is off all meat products these days. The polenta does not have to be the pricy imported stuff: whole-grain corn grits (NOT hominy!) costs a lot less and will be fresher. This is cooked in the usual way (4-1 water to meal, pour into boiling salted water while stirring), and then when it's done you stir shredded fontina cheese into it. Beans are usually canellini, but any other kind will be good. You can spoon the polenta onto each plate and top with beans and kale, or kale and then beans, or have it however else you want it. My friend sometimes makes the polenta well ahead, and pours it onto a greased rimmed baking sheet and chills it, then cuts it into cakes and fries them to serve the kale and beans on. Left to my own devices (with only family present) I will often ladle beans into a bowl and add polenta and kale and stir it up while Mrs. O goes, "EEEeewwwww …"

            1. - Catalan-style greens (i particularly like spinach, mustard greens or chard this way): golden raisins or currants), toasted pine nuts, garlic, EV olive oil, sherry vinegar

              - spicy peanut kale: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6918...

              - warm spinach salad w/basil & pine nuts: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7892...

              - a simple prep of sauteed greens in olive oil with garlic & a pinch of red pepper flakes is always a pleaser...and also one of my favorite ways to serve broccoli rabe

              - tender greens can be tossed into a hot pasta dish for the last minute or two of cooking just until wilted

              - crispy baked kale!

              1. I saute onions, garlic, mushrooms and halved cherry tomatoes and let them cook down for 10-15 minutes. Then I add swiss chard until it's wilted. I serve it over cooked pasta w/ a drizzle of olive oil. I'm sure you can use whatever green you like in place of the swiss chard.

                1. Wegmans had this recipe for greens a couple of years ago:


                  I found it too watery (easy to fix) but maybe if your family is new to greens that might be good.

                  1. a frittata is a great vehicle for beans, add some potatoes for contrast.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: magiesmom

                      That is a good idea. And also an omelet or quiche.

                    2. Does your family like spinach, or are you counting that as a green? Because chard and spinach can be used interchangeably, especially in omelets or quiche. Chard grows phenomenally well, and it's great sliced into ribbons and added to pasta dishes. With both kale and chard I like to slice them the same way, fresh, and stir them into tuna salad -- it's one way I sneak it into my husband's diet. I just tell him it's spinach, which he loves. :) Another favorite way to use greens is to wrap salmon bites in the leaves and season with evoo, salt, pepper and lemon and roast in the oven. Lately I've been on this oven-baked kale kick -- I lightly oil it, then toast in the oven on 375 for about 16 minutes, turning the leaves once, until it's crispy and chip like. They're great this way, but I also crumble the toasted leaves over popcorn -- adds an interesting dimension and flavor. Of course, I don't know how much nutrition is left at that point -- does anyone know the answer to that?

                      1. Here is a favorite of mine I make often... "Risotto with Greens" ... you can vary it by just tossing the greens with pasta (yum!) and use a lot of greens! The more greens, the better :)

                        WINTER GREENS RISOTTO

                        Over the years I have become more and more addicted to a variety of things… perhaps none so much, separately, as risotto and sautéed greens. For a few years I have been making a terrific pasta tossed with greens. Tonight, with a friend, I made a risotto with sautéed greens that was terrific.

                        A sidenote is that I love all kinds of greens. You can cook them solo, or combine them. Beet greens have become some of my favorite. But anything works.

                        Tonight, it was a wild and wonderful mixture of greens from my CSA box: chard (whatever color), kale (whatever color), beet greens, dandelion greens and Italian parsley leaves. You could add or substitute anything: spinach, mustard greens, collards, whatever.

                        In one pot we made a simple risotto… sauté chopped onion (and tonight, the addition of chopped fennel, which was on hand), then add the Arborio rice. Saute 3 minutes then add white wine. When the wine had cooked down, start adding warm chicken broth. Cook as you would risotto until it is time to add the final ingredients.

                        At the same time, in olive oil and garlic, we sautéed the greens. We started with a huge bowl of greens, torn into relatively bite sixed pieces, adding greens to the pot as need be. As they cook, add more olive oil as needed, and white wine or chicken broth, then a touch of balsamic vinegar, all for flavor.

                        When the risotto is almost done, add butter, parmesan cheese, and the greens. Cover and let rest a few minutes.

                        1. This is how I got my spinach/silverbeet hating partner to wolf it down. I've also made this with cavolo nero. The key is to have a lot of onion and cook it until it's good and soft and to left the greens get lovely and soft too. They can seem almost buttery without butter.

                          Dad's Spinach/Silverbeet
                          Servings: 2
                          Prep time: 15mins
                          Cook time: 30 mins
                            2 Onion, sliced
                            1 bunch Spinach, washed and roughly chopped
                            2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
                            Lemon juice
                            Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
                            Olive oil
                          Notes / Directions
                          Fry onion and garlic until soft.

                          Add spinach and cover, reduce heat. Cook until soft.

                          Season with plenty of lemon juice, salt and pepper.

                          Lovely on bruschetta topped with some parmesan.

                          1. Bittman weighs in with "Spinach Is a Dish Best Served Cooked"


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Rmis32

                              speaking of spinach in the NY Times:

                              (and there are links to several other recipes along the left side of that page toward the end of the ingredients list)

                            2. You can also try cooking winter kale on a cookie sheet in a very hot oven. Toss leaves in olive oil and salt and pepper and roast on 450 for 5 minutes or until they start to crisp up. It starts to resemble the kale chips or friend kale that some restaurants are doing and can be delicious. Enjoy!

                              1. We probably eat greens 3-4 times a week, but when I want something fun and different I make the Swiss Chard Cakes from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. I love the yogurt sauce, but don't always make it.


                                1. So start with a very high ratio of butter/onion/garlic/bacon/hot sauce/anything else that ISN'T a green to actual vegetables. And then work your way up to enjoying them with less b/o/g/b/h/a? Alright! Sounds like a plan. That's actually the research approved way to kid-friendly veggies of all kinds. Thank you all. Any other excellent tips will be similarly digested. :-)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: PBandT

                                    This recipe & the following have been enjoyed by adults AND children alike. Do try 'em & let us know.

                                    MY GREEK PENNE PASTA WITH KALE AND FETA

                                    Half to 1 pound penne pasta (Barilla is my favorite brand), cooked according to al dente package directions & drained
                                    1 block/container of Feta cheese, or to taste, chopped/crumbled
                                    Approx. 12-24 Kalamata olives, pitted, & roughly chopped **
                                    Approx. 1 pound/bunch of Kale, rinsed, stems removed & discarded, & leaves roughly sliced/chopped
                                    ½ a large or 1 small red onion, peeled & chopped
                                    A few dollops of extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing
                                    Dash or so of chicken broth or water
                                    Dash of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

                                    While the cooked pasta is draining in a colander, heat the olive oil in the pot the pasta was cooked in & saute the onion until softened but not brown. Add the chopped kale, stir a bit until wilted, & add a dash or 2 of chicken broth or water if necessary to prevent burning. Add chopped olives, cooked pasta, feta cheese, & crushed red pepper & stir again – gently - until pasta is heated through. Serve hot or at room temperature.

                                    ** If you can’t obtain pitted olives, pitting them is accomplished easily by simply placing your broad kitchen knife (sharp side away from you) over each olive & briskly hitting down on the knife with your hand. Olive will break open & pit will be easy to remove.

                                  2. MY PORTUGUESE KALE & TURKEY SAUSAGE SOUP

                                    One medium onion, peeled & chopped
                                    One pound of kale, de-ribbed & roughly sliced/chopped
                                    1-1/2 quarts or so of chicken stock (if not homemade, I usually use one carton + one can of Swanson's)
                                    Two medium potatoes, peeled & diced -OR- two cans of cannelini/white kidney beans, rinsed **
                                    One package (usually 12 to 16 ounces) turkey kielbasa sausage, sliced
                                    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
                                    Salt & Pepper to taste

                                    In a large soup pot add enough olive oil to coat the bottom & saute onion until starting to soften, but not brown. Add sliced sausage & continue sauteeing until everything is just starting to brown a little. Add chicken stock & diced potatoes (if using) & simmer until potatoes are tender - about 15 minutes or so. Add kale & continue cooking until kale is tender. (** if using beans instead of potatoes, add chicken stock & bring to a simmer. Add kale & cook until tender; then add beans & stir gently until beans are just heated thru.) Add salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste & serve.

                                    1. I like to simmer collards with rendered hog jowls. Serve with mac and cheese and cornbread.

                                      Very delicious to me but my lovely wife threatens to leave home/go get her dinner from McD's when I offer to make them.

                                      1. Here is a dish using swiss chard that I really enjoy. I use cannellini beans instead of pasta. The lemony ricotta really makes it. I think I used less bacon as I didn't feel it needed it.


                                        1. great thread w awesome looking recipes btw! here are a few suggestions:

                                          west african: saute onion in veg oil, add optional bell peppers and celery. add diced sweet potato. add collards cut into square pieces or ribbons. add salt and bere bere spice. add fresh or canned tomatoes. cook until sweet potatoes are just soft and melange is stewlike. add optional but recommended peanuts. serve as side dish, or over rice, cassava, polenta, or other starch for vegan meal.

                                          greek (can also be made w leftover/cooked greens):

                                          japanese: steam or blanch curly kale, drain. heat 1/4 cup sesame oil in pan. add some garlic and cook for a little bit, not browning the garlic. add 1/4 cup tamari carefully to the hot pan and immediately dress the kale w the hot dressing. can eat hot as side or cold as a salad.

                                          tuscan: in evoo, saute onion and garlic. add cavolo nero/dino kale strips, stir to wilt. add cooked white beans. can add a little tomato/sardines/dried red chiles if you want. serve w polenta, pasta, or rice, or w crostini. this is also good w butternut squash or broccolini.

                                          1. Palak paneer is delicious, and a good vegetarian dish (if not particularly low calorie).

                                            My default way to cook greens is to stirfry with garlic. Toss in some sliced garlic to a hot pan with a bit of oil, cook for a minute, add your still damped washed greens, stir until they start to reduce, cover for a minute or two, and season with a pinch of salt. Classic Chinese style. This works particularly well with water spinach.

                                            One of my favourite greens is chayote squash leaves. They stay bright green and crunchy when cooked, and have a great texture and flavour. I do them as above, or blanch for a few minutes, rinse and chill, and serve as a salad with a light soy based dressing.

                                            If you include cabbage in your greens category, I love chinese cabbage stir fried with garlic and slice onion, and seasoned with whole cumin and lemon juice. I also like Chinese style cabbage salad, which involves marinating the cabbage with salt, sugar, garlic and hot peppers.

                                            Do Japanese style shabu-shabu hot-pot and include lots of greens and cabbage.

                                            I've made very nice soups with greens like spinach. I sautee some onions, add chicken or vegetable stock, and then finely chopped greens, served as is, or pureed, with or without some cream added. I was improvising the other night, and did a soup with a spinach like green, dried seaweed, dashi, onion and garam masala that was really good.

                                            I also like tossing cabbage and/or spinach into a hearty main course vegetable soup - what I call "kitchen sink soup" because you throw in whatever you have on hand.