As “Does this count as real food for grownups?” subconsciously runs through my brain as I plan my meals out for the week, I think the answer rests on whether or not there’s a green vegetable for each meal.
I HEART greens, and your heart HEARTs greens…see what I did there? Okay, so fairly unfunny word play, but the message is clear. Green vegetables are both delicious and healthy for us. We need to eat more of them! Don’t listen to the inner voice that lies, “It’s winter! You can just eat cheesy potatoes and garlic bread with every meal!”
Here are a few of my staple (and some new favorite) recipes for keeping some green on your plate!
1. Brazilian Collard Greens. These garlicky, quick-cooked collards are amazing. Cut into ribbons, the collards are quickly sauteed in olive oil and garlic. A dash of salt is all you’ll need. I made these the first time a few nights ago when I cooked Mark Bittman’s Boulangerie Beans and Potatoes for my parents.
2. Crispy Kale with Lemon-Yogurt Dip. Great as a side or a party appetizer. The sauce, though creamy, has no cholesterol–yahoo–and lends itself to roasted Brussels, broccoli, or asparagus, too!
3. John Besh’s Braised Kale. Old Reliable! I know you’re sick of hearing about it…but it’s so easy and so good. I make it all the time. Tired of kale? Use collard, mustard, beet, or turnip greens (they’ll cook a little faster)!
4. Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad. Shaved Brussels and kale in a lemony dressing, yes! While it can certainly be a side, it’s also perfect as a meal on its own. The absolute best thing about this recipe? Because the greens are crunchy, it maintains its crunch in the dressing, meaning you can make this ahead for lunch for a few days if you’d like! (The Parmesan Cheese is optional here–I’ve had it both ways, and honestly, the parmesan gets in the way of the flavor. I think it tastes better without the cheese, and it’s certainly healthier!)
5. Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Dill. The tiny little cabbage look-alikes have an earthy, mineral taste–a hybrid of the taste of cabbage with a mix of other greens. While perfect roasted, they’re also delicious steamed or sauteed, finished with lemon. I made these at Thanksgiving, and I’ve been thinking about them since!
Note: In the above recipe, omit the butter and use 3 tablespoons of olive oil. No need to heat the olive oil, just mix in the lemon and dill, making a vinaigrette. I also omitted the water chestnuts–but I’m sure they would add a nice crunch. If you’re not into dill, leave it out; plain Lemony Brussels Sprouts are also delicious. Or, if you’re feeling wild, parsley or basil would be a good substitute for the dill.
6. Broccoli Rabe with Garlic. I was an adult before ever having this bitter green–it’s fantastic, and I now eat it a few times a month. The florets are soft when cooked and the stems stay crunchy. Garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes are all this vegetable needs. (This recipe is not really a recipe. You essentially heat oil, cook the garlic and then sautee the greens, finishing with salt and pepper. You’ll look at this recipe once and then realize it’s just like sauteeing anything else!)
7. Roasted Asparagus, Broccoli, or Brussels Sprouts (or any other vegetable). This is perhaps the easiest way to fix up a vegetable side.
Base Recipe: Preheat an oven to 400. Toss the veg in some olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper.
Roast for 15-25ish minutes for broccoli/Brussels (10ish for asparagus), tossing the veg around the pan halfway through. You can adjust the cooking time to your own tastes. You can roast less time for a crunchier, light golden veg or you can roast longer for a darker, crispier roast. I personally prefer a lighter roast on a broccoli but like to let the Brussels get really dark, so the outer leaves are nice and crispy.
Have a favorite, healthy recipe for greens? Post a comment!