Cooking Greens Made Simple

Swiss chard, kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, bok choy… the word “superfood” is synonymous with all dark, leafy green vegetables. The super greensreason why is because they pack such a large nutritional punch. In general, dark leafy greens are loaded in vitamin A, folate, fiber, and also provide minerals like calcium and iron. They are even a source of the heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids. As if that’s not enough, eating your greens can help fight cancer, which you can read more about on the website for the American Institute for Cancer Research.

So we know how nutritious greens are, but what about the taste? And what do you do with those big tough leaves of chard and kale anyways?

Here are some unique recipes to help your family eat more of this nutritional superfood:

Stir Fried Shrimp or Chicken and Bok Choy*

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (made ahead)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T plus ½ teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed OR 1 lb chicken, diced
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 1 T fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 bunches of bok choy, stemmed and sliced
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • Asian chili sauce

Cook shrimp or chicken in olive oil and ½ teaspoon soy sauce over medium-high heat, until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Add scallions, ginger, and garlic to the drippings in the skillet and cook for about 1 minute. Add the bok choy and cook until tender, tossing often. Add the brown rice, shrimp or chicken, vinegar, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to the skillet and stir until all heated through. Serve with the chili sauce for dipping. Serves 4.

Spinach or Kale Tabbouleh*

  • ½ cup bulgur, salt and pepper
  • 6 cups or one bunch spinach or kale, stemmed
  • ½ cup fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cucumber, chopped

Place the bulgur and ½ teaspoon salt in a large heatproof bowl. Add 2 cups boiling water, cover, and let stand until tender (12-15 minutes). Drain. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the spinach and mint and process until finely chopped. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, garlic, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the bulgur, spinach/mint, tomatoes and cucumber. Stir well to combine. Serves 4.

Swiss Chard and Bean Fritters*

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and torn
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup crumbled Feta
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 T olive oil
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

In a food processor, combine Swiss chard, garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl, add the Feta and flour, and mix until combined. Form the mixture into eight 2 ½ inch patties. Heat 2 T oil over medium-high heat ina  large skillet. Cook 4 patties at a time, 3-4 minutes each side or until browned. Serve with yogurt as a garnish. Serves 4.

*Recipes adapted from Real Simple magazine, Feb 2013 issue.
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