Have you wanted to introduce dark leafy greens into your diet? Or brush up on your vegetable cooking skills? I've got you covered. In today's post I'm going to cover all of my best tips, so there's no more guess work for you. I'll also feature an easy recipe for Mixed Greens Saute. It's not only nutritious, but also delicious. And it's high in calcium and magnesium, so your bones will thank you for making it!
The video below is a classic from Christine's Natural Kitchen on Youtube! It's one of my most popular and most watched videos, so I know there is a lot of interest in this topic.
Popular Cooking Methods
Dark leafy greens can be prepared in many ways. They can be steamed, boiled, stir fried and added to soups. In fact, making kale chips in the oven or food dehydrator is becoming popular as well. One great way to cook your leafy greens is by simply sautéing and seasoning them. Using this method, you'll have tasty, nutritious greens ready to serve in no time. Additionally, you’ll be one step closer to healthier eating.
Ok, let's jump into why cooking with greens is so beneficial, especially as we age.
Dark leafy greens like kale are packed with nutrients!
Should you cook leafy greens?
Leafy green vegetables have been prepped and eaten by humans for centuries. So naturally over the years we’ve developed many ways of cooking with them. Today, the vegetables we call "dark leafy greens" are more distinct in variety than what our ancestors were used to. With the help of the right seasoning, you’ll find the winning combination. These versatile vegetables come packed with nutritional value, and contribute to a variety of beneficial health effects.
Are leafy greens better raw or cooked?
You may wonder which leafy greens can be eaten raw. Kale and collard greens can be enjoyed raw in dishes like soups, salads and wraps. But I find that cooking and seasoning most greens brings out the most flavor. And they also have a nice tender texture. Maybe I'm just not a fan of too much raw kale. But there's also some concern over whether we should each them raw too often. According to Health Line, people with thyroid issues should be careful due to compounds found in raw kale.
Don't get me wrong, I love a nice well-marinated kale salad here and there. And if you absolutely love raw kale I'm just suggesting mixing it up a little. Have some raw and have some cooked, for variety.
How do you cook dark leafy greens?
There are a variety of cooking methods you can use when cooking kale, collards and other leafy greens. Here are some common cooking styles:
- Baked into chips
- Add to soups
- Creamed (ie: creamed spinach)
If you're new to cooking dark leafy green vegetables, you might be intimidated. But once you get the hang of it, you'll enjoy the process. It can be fun to explore the many varieties of dark leafy greens. When cooked right, you'll find them delicious. Trust me!
With today’s busy lifestyle, you may struggle with finding balanced nutrition. And if you're it can be a challenge to make healthy dishes that the whole family will enjoy. But adding in more dark leafy greens is a great way to add extra nutrition. So it's worth giving it a try to add them to your menus.
Dark Leafy Greens Benefits
Your body will thank you for getting your green on! Eating dark leafy greens benefits the body in a multitude of ways. A few examples of these are:
- Healthy weight management
- Cardiovascular disease prevention
- Enhanced bone health
- Type 2 diabetes management
Dark leafy greens are also a rich source of beta-carotene and vitamin A. You might wonder why you don't see the beta-carotene in green vegetables like you do in orange vegetables. But leave a bunch of kale sitting on the counter for a few days and see what color it turns. It's the beta-carotene coming out!
Finally, studies show that eating only one serving of dark leafy greens a day as you age is associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline. It can even aid in the onset of dementia later on in life.
Examples of Dark Leafy Greens
With the varieties of leafy greens available at your local grocery store, the options are limitless. You'll find:
- Green kale
- Purple kale
- Dino kale
- Bok choy
- Baby bok choy
- Mustard greens
- Collard greens
- Turnip Greens
I created a handy printable Dark Leafy Greens list for you so you can see what each one looks like. To print, click on this blue text: Dark Leafy Greens Printable Guide. Or, to view online click on the image below and it will open up into another window for viewing.
Where to Buy Your Greens
Check your local farmer's market to see what green vegetables they have. Shopping locally supports your community and ensures fresh ingredients. You can also find them at health food stores and regular grocery stores as well.
My Favorite Mixed Green Sauté.
For this recipe, I chose broccoli, kale and bok choy. But my recipes are flexible, so feel free to substitute other greens. Mixed green sauté is the perfect healthy recipe to make for lunch or as a dinner side.
Cooking Dark, Leafy Greens to Suit You
After you learn the basic cooking methods, you can flavor your greens with your favorite seasonings. Get creative and explore different combinations!
Everyone is different, so don’t forget to take you and your own family’s preferences into account when cooking dark leafy greens. Maybe you enjoy a bit of spice like crushed red pepper. Or you might like garlic and ginger to add a nice touch. Garlic and balsamic vinegar are great if you enjoy Italian flavors.
I hope you enjoyed learning about dark, leafy greens. They’re excellent for maintaining your health. Here's my recipe to get you started with a simple but delicious recipe.Print
Mixed Greens Sauté
- Yield: Makes 4 Servings 1x
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 scallions, sliced
- Pinch sea salt
- 5 leaves kale
- 1 small head broccoli
- Tamari soy sauce
- Deglazing liquid: Either water, vegetable broth, white wine or miring rice wine
- 1 small head bok choy
- Wash and slice all of your vegetables. Heat a skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add the sesame oil, scallions and garlic. Stir lightly and add a pinch of sea salt.
- Cook for several minutes, then add the kale and broccoli on top. Add a splash of soy sauce and a few tablespoons of your deglazing liquid. Cover and let steam for 3 minutes. Add the bok choy and another splash of water and soy sauce.
- Cover and steam another 2 to 3 minutes, or until desired tenderness. Serve hot.
Have you discovered any other great dark leafy greens cooking combinations?
I'd love to know in the comments!