Cooking with Greens

What do you know about cooking with greens?

Getting the best flavor and texture out of fresh greens is a passion of mine, and I’ve learned quite a few tricks over my years in the kitchen. The best part is, today is the day that I share those tricks with you!

You see, it all comes down to pairing the right greens with the right flavors and textures in order to make them shine. Plus, knowing what nutrients and health benefits each green offers can help motivate you to try cooking with these greens in the first place. 

Meet Your Green: Spinach

spinach

Flavor Profile: A mild and delicate green, spinach is slightly bitter and slightly sweet.

Nutrient Profile: 1 cup of raw spinach contains…

  • 7 calories
  • 1 g fiber
  • 56% DV vitamin A
  • 14% DV vitamin C
  • 181% DV vitamin K
  • 3% DV calcium
  • 15% DV folate
  • 5% DV iron

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in proper blood clotting. It may help strengthen bones as well.

Cook It? Yes! Spinach is delicious raw or cooked.

Preparation Inspiration: Try it raw in salads with fresh fruit, or cook it with a little broth for a quick side dish. Serve it with a little heart-healthy fat (think avocado, olive oil, or fish) in order to reap the most health benefits.

Meet Your Green: Kale

kale

Flavor Profile: Bitter and earthy, kale’s flavor mellows a bit when cooked.

Nutrient Profile: 1 cup of raw kale contains…

  • 33 calories
  • 1 g fiber
  • 206% DV vitamin A
  • 9% DV vitamin B6
  • 134% DV vitamin C
  • 9% DV calcium
  • 6% DV iron

Vitamin A helps your body form and maintain healthy bones and teeth, while also strengthening mucus membranes and your skin.

Cook It? Yes! Though you can also eat it raw, most people find kale more palatable when cooked.

Preparation Inspiration: Saute kale in a little garlic and olive oil until tender if you would like to create a fantastic bed for lean protein like chicken breast or tofu. You can also toss a handful of kale into a blender with some fruit and unsweetened tea for a healthful green smoothie.

Meet Your Green: Collard Greens

collards

Flavor Profile: Collard greens taste grassy and a bit harsh, with earthy undertones.

Nutrient Profile: 1 cup of raw collard greens contains…

  • 11 calories
  • 1 g fiber
  • 1 g protein
  • 48% DV vitamin A
  • 21% DV vitamin C
  • 230% DV vitamin K
  • 5% DV calcium
  • 15% DV folate
  • 5% DV manganese

Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and helps the body absorb iron.

Cook It? Yes. Collards benefit from long cooking over low heat. They are not very tasty when raw.

Preparation Inspiration: Braise collard greens over low heat with chopped onion and broth for a tasty and versatile side dish. Toss cooked greens with your favorite spices to vary the flavor profile.

Meet Your Green: Lettuce

lettuce

Flavor Profile: Lettuce tastes cool and fresh, with a hearty crunch.

Nutrient Profile: 1 cup of raw Romaine lettuce contains…

  • 8 calories
  • 1 g fiber
  • 1 g protein
  • 82% DV vitamin A
  • 19% DV vitamin C
  • 2% DV calcium
  • 3% DV iron
  • 16% DV folate
  • 3% DV potassium

Folate works with vitamin B12 to help form red blood cells and is vital to the production of DNA.

Cook It? No. Lettuce is generally best served raw, adding crunch and heart to fresh salads.

Preparation Inspiration: Toss chopped dark green lettuce with a bit of flavored vinegar and nuts for a healthful side salad, or add some grilled chicken or fish to lend some staying power to the meal, turning your side salad into a main dish.

Meet Your Green: Mustard Greens

mustard greens
Public domain image from Google Images

Flavor Profile: Sharp and peppery, mustard greens taste quite a lot like mustard.

Nutrient Profile: 1 cup of raw mustard greens contains…

  • 15 calories
  • 2 g fiber
  • 2 g protein
  • 118% DV vitamin A
  • 65% DV vitamin C
  • 6% DV vitamin E
  • 6% DV calcium
  • 5% DV iron
  • 26% DV folate
  • 13% DV manganese

Manganese is a key component in many different enzymes.

Mustard greens have more protein per cup than other greens as well.

Cook It? Yes. Mustard greens are super tasty raw or cooked.

Preparation Inspiration: The spicy sharpness of mustard greens make them the perfect counterpart to smooth or rich-tasting dishes. Sauté them with a little broth and top with walnuts for a tasty side, or throw a few handfuls into your next salad.

Check out the infograft that provides you with loads of information:

greens

Now you know enough about cooking with greens that they can become regular parts of your daily menu.

Enjoy!

 


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