With the garden bounties happening and more around the corner, I thought it would be fun to write about some greens to add into your diet. The benefits of greens are countless. They contain minerals (especially high in vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, and iron), alkalize our bodies and can be incorporated in a variety of ways.
Greens are also easy to make and very tasty! When cooking the dark green leafy vegetables, they can get bitter. If this has ever happened to you, perhaps you tried them and never went back due to the lasting strong taste in your mouth that was unpleasant! Cook for a short time to minimize the chance of a bitter taste. Add a little garlic and oil, stir fry for about 4-7 minutes and turn off the heat. Below I have listed greens in 4 categories to scan and consider adding bit by bit to your diet. Sprouts spoil easily so use them quickly.
|Beet greens (tops)||Dandelion greens||Basil||Clover|
|Carrot tops||Miner’s lettuce||Mint||Sunflower|
|Kale (3 types)|
|Lettuce (red, green, Bibb, Romaine)|
The reality for most of us is we buy the same items week after week. We have favorites and we stick with them, but I encourage you to expand your repertoire. The world is changing fast and our bodies benefit from a wide variety of foods to obtain the nutrients required for optimal health.
Here are two favorite and easy recipes incorporating greens. If you have a French Press, consider infusing some nettles or plantain to put into a smoothie or drink on its own as a cool beverage in these end of summer days or as we transition to fall. To do this, take 4 Tbsp dried herb to 4 cups boiling water. Pour the boiling water into the press on top of the herbs. Wrap the press with a towel to keep the steam in and let sit for at least 1 hour. Press and drink plain, with stevia drops or blended into a smoothie.
Dandelion Pesto (adapted from my friend Laura Bruno)
Makes 6 servings – Prep time: 20 minutes
- 2 bunches dandelion greens (can also use arugula or spinach)
- 2-4 tsp brown rice syrup or maple syrup
- 2-4 tsp miso
- ½ – ¾ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2-4 tsp umeboshi plum PASTE
- 1 container chives or 2 scallion “stalks”
- ½ cup olive oil or more to desired consistency
- 1 small onion
Cut onion and sauté in oil until browned. Set aside.
Blend the other ingredients in a high speed blender.
Serve pesto over whole grain pasta or grain or zucchini raw pasta. Put the sautéed onion over the grain first then the pesto, mix together and Enjoy!
Adapted from The 30 Minute Vegan Cookbook
- 1 large bunch curly-leaf kale (this works better than dinosaur kale)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (can also use coconut oil)
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional or use to your taste and tolerance)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°F (can use lower oven temperature and bake for longer). Use your hands to rip small pieces of the leaves off the stem of the kale. Arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer, using two baking sheets if necessary. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until your desired crispiness is achieved. Baking them on a lower oven temperature retains more of the nutrients.
Remove from oven and transfer the kale to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with nutritional yeast and sea salt, and toss gently with your hands until all of the kale is covered. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature. Please do not refrigerate. Note: I have often just added the oil, salt and yeast to the baking trays to save washing more dishes J.
Victoria Boutenko, Green for Life Raw Family Publishing, 2005.