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 about cooking dark leafy greens, 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.
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 in so you can learn more about why cooking with dark leafy greens is so beneficial, especially as we age.
Why begin cooking with dark leafy greens?
Dark leafy greens like kale are packed with nutrients!
Dark leafy greens have been prepped and eaten by humans for centuries. So naturally over the years we’ve developed many ways of cooking with them to reap all of the benefits these vegetables have to offer. Today, the vegetables we call "dark leafy greens" are not only rich in micronutrient content, but are more distinct in variety than what our ancestors were used to. With the help of the right spices and vegetables to suit your tastes, you’re sure to find a combination you’ll love. These versatile vegetables come packed with nutritional value, and contribute to a variety of beneficial health effects.
Should you cook leafy greens?
Although dark leafy greens can be enjoyed raw in dishes like soups, salads and wraps, I find that carefully cooking and seasoning your greens will bring out the most flavor. Maybe I'm just not a huge fan of raw kale. But there is also some concern over whether we should each them raw too much. According to Health Line, those 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.
Despite the intimidation cooking with dark leafy greens may bring, it will reward you with a healthy and nutritious dish that can be full of flavor. So if you’ve ever recalled a botched cooked greens recipe from your childhood, it's time to give greens another chance. Additionally, it’s great to explore the many varieties of dark leafy greens available to cook and experiment with flavoring. When cooked right, I'm pretty sure that you'll find them delicious.
With today’s food habits, many people struggle with finding balanced nutrition. Especially during the pandemic, it can be challenging to make healthy dishes for the whole family to enjoy. Adding in more dark leafy greens is a great way to add in more nutritional bang for your buck!
What Are The Health Benefits of Leafy Greens?
Although baked goods are comforting, your body will thank you for getting your green on too! As you learn about improving your vitamin and mineral intake, keep reading to learn how cooking dark leafy greens such as kale or bok choy is an excellent low calorie choice that’s not only good for your body, but can taste better than you imagine.
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 and type 2 diabetes management. The consumption of dark leafy greens even helps to improve your immune system as 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.
What types of greens should I be cooking with?
With the varieties of leafy greens and spices available at your local grocery store, the options for cooking dark leafy vegetables are limitless by today’s standards, making this recipe a great idea to try even if you weren’t interested in eating cooked greens growing up. Your taste buds may surprise you!
For this cooking recipe, broccoli, kale and bok choy were chosen to use due to their availability and distinct leafy greens status. There are so many more varieties to choose from that would taste just as amazing, so feel free to get creative!
Some other common dark, leafy greens you can buy at your local grocery store are collard greens, spinach, and arugula. Here's a handy printable Dark Leafy Greens guide so you can see what all of these leafy greens look like and find out more about each one. 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.
I also want to mention that shopping locally for your ingredients supports your community and ensures the freshest ingredients possible for you. With all that in mind, enjoy a great way to eat your green vegetables. Check out the video below to see Christine in action making this crisp, refreshing dish!Print
Mixed green sauté is a great healthy recipe to make for lunch, as a dinner side, or even as a quick main dish for the whole family on busier days. Cooking leafy greens is also a surprisingly simple task to learn. It’s also a great skill to use to surprise and amaze friends and family with your newfound, nutritious cooking skills. After you learn the basics,customizing your dish with your favorite seasonings and greens allow you to get creative, explore flavor combinations, and love the recipe even more!
Everyone is different, so don’t forget to take you and your own family’s preferences into account when searching for the perfect dark leafy greens to cook with. After a while, you will definitely want to decide which types are your favorites! Similarly to the vegetable selection, there are countless combinations of seasonings to try too, so you’ll never get bored of cooking your greens, and can always add a new spin or flavor combination to the recipe!
Regardless of the reasoning, nearly everyone can benefit from eating more dark leafy vegetables. Exploring new recipes and ways to do so helps keep the excitement in healthy eating! Cooking dark, leafy vegetables can be a intimidating at first, but once it’s fully mastered, they are sure to please both your own palate and your family’s!
Finally, I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about dark, leafy greens, how they’re excellent for maintaining your physical health and how to get started in learning to cook them through a simple but delicious recipe.
Have you discovered any other great dark leafy greens cooking combinations recently, or have any neat cooking tips for leafy greens of your own?
We'd love to know in the comments!