Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Greens - Go Beyond Frozen Spinach!

This time of year is when a new harvest of greens come into season. Try one of these instead of reaching for that bag of frozen spinach in the freezer. Expand your menu - look for a new green to cook the next time you are at the store or farmer's market. An integral part of Clean Eating is looking beyond the 3 or 4 vegetables you normally eat, and trying new foods. There's a wealth of different food out there- seek and ye shall find.

All greens should be thoroughly washed and dried before cooking. Fill a clean sink with clear, cool water and allow greens to float on top of the water. Gently agitate the greens in the water. Dirt, grit, and other particles will fall to the bottom of the sink as you gently rinse and agitate the leaves.

After washing and drying, prepare the leaves for cooking by taking a knife and cutting the thick stem away from the leaves, leaving only the greens. The stems can make the greens bitter and are best removed before cooking. 


Common kale is deep green with curly leaves. It comes in purple and white varieties as well.

Try it: Kale chips -  Tear leaves into pieces, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven until crispy - about 15 minutes.

Collard Greens

Collard greens are a deep green oval leaf with thick stalks.

Try it:  Cider Vinegar Collards - After removing the center stalk,cook the leaves in boiling water for about 5-8 minutes or until tender. While they are boiling, saute chopped onion and garlic in a pan with olive oil. Add the precooked and drained greens and toss to coat the leaves in the onion/garlic/oil mixture. Serve with a splash of balsamic vinegar over the top of the leaves.

Beet Greens 

Beet greens are easily identifiable because, well...they have beets attached to one end of them. The leaves sometimes have red streaks in them.

Try it Beet Green Salad - Toss precooked greens with roasted beets, and crumbled feta. Drizzle with a dressing made from balsamic vinegar and olive oil.


The stalk of the chard tells you it's variety . Rainbow chard stalks ( shown above ) are orange, red, pink, or purple. Common chard is the chard shown aboe with the yellowish white stalk. Swiss chard commonly has red stalks.

Try it: Greens and Eggs - Saute chopped garlic in oliveoil over medium heat. Add your precooked chard and season with salt and pepper. Top each serving of chard greens with a poached egg and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Do you have a favorite greens recipe or preparation you'd like to share? Please let me know in the comments. I'm actually quite new to greens myself, and would love to hear what and how you like them prepared!