FIVE EASY WAYS TO EAT MORE GREENS
Do you feel like you get enough leafy greens in your diet? If you look beyond spinach do you regularly eat a variety of greens? If you feel that this is an area of your diet that is sometimes lacking then you are not alone.
Leafy greens – I’m talking chard, kale, beetroot leaves and cabbage – are packed full of nutrients, a great source of fibre and support healthy gut bacteria too. Ideally we should be including plenty of different leafy greens in our diet every day. The reality is we often struggle to include a single portion. If you are stuck for inspiration on how to up your quota then read on.
I would say I eat a pretty healthy diet. Plenty of variety, lots of vegetables, berries and healthy fats. But I always feel like I should be eating more leafy greens. It’s not that I don’t like leafy greens. It’s not that I don’t eat them. It’s more that I need to make a conscious effort to include them in my meals. If I don’t make that effort then my beautiful rainbow chard will have wilted, my kale will be fading to yellow and my cabbage will be headed for the compost bin. For the past few months I’ve been making more of an effort to cook with leafy greens. Today I’m sharing with you my favourites.
Greens with Eggs (or tofu scramble)
It’s no accident that so many egg protein pots come with a side of spinach. Eggs and greens are a great combination. Unfortunately the small handful of spinach you get in a takeaway pot falls short of a portion.
Check out my recipe for quick wilted greens. This speedy way of preparing chard with garlic and butter or olive oil gives a much more substantial portion. It goes well with scrambled eggs or omelette. Vegans this is equally tasty with scrambled tofu or chickpea omelette).
Pesto is one of my fridge standbys. It makes a quick sauce for pasta, spread for sandwiches and adds a depth of flavour to soup, roast vegetables or tomato based risotto. It’s usually a favourite with children too. Moving away from basil pesto and adding in more greens is a great way of expanding the leaves in your diet. I sometimes make pesto with chard or beet leaves but my absolute favourite pesto is my salad bag pesto.
I spent years hating Brussel sprouts until I discovered that roasting gave them a whole new flavour. Roasting cabbage removes some of the bitterness and the vegetable takes on a whole new favour. It also pairs beautifully with a simple dressing of creamy tahini and lemon juice. This works particularly well with brussels and kalettes as the outer leaves quickly crisp.
If like me you are not a fan then I would urge you to give this simple recipe a try.
Massaged Kale Salad
OK, the first time I heard about massaging cabbage even I thought that was a step too far. Who has time to massage vegetables??? The thing is, kale is extremely good for you but it is also quite tough. This method of preparing kale softens the vegetable but provides texture to salad.
To massage the kale pull the softer leaves away from any woody or thick stalk. Put the kale into a large bowl and add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Rub the oil into the leaves for about 1 min until all leaves are evenly coated. Squeeze on the juice of half a lemon. Mix and leave to stand whilst you prepare the rest of your salad. This recipe is a great base to build from.
Season with Greens
If you are still not convinced by the idea of massaging kale then this last suggestion is the easiest of all. Take every opportunity to add leafy greens to curries, stews and stir fries. Most leafy greens only take a minute or two to wilt down.
Roughly chop a portion of spinach, pak choi, chard or cavalo nero whilst your food is cooking. At the point where you would season and add in any fresh herbs throw in the greens at the same time. If like me, you have to make an effort sometimes to include greens then getting into the habit of adding with seasoning can really help.
And if – like me – you buy a huge bunch of greens and then forget them, roughly chop and freeze as soon as possible. Most robust greens freeze well if you are planning to cook with them rather than eat raw. This makes it so easy to add to a one pot before you serve.
If you don’t have fresh greens to hand then consider another of my seasoning tips – sea greens. Seaweed flakes are a great addition to stews or stir fries. I have a range of different varieties but for an extra special flavour boost I use furikake (a blend of chilli flakes, seaweed flakes and white and black roasted sesame seeds).