Move over, kale. There are some new greens in town and they have just as many health benefits. Read on for the Co-op lowdown on leafy greens…
Spinach: Remember this old friend? Before the kale craze, spinach was the ‘it’ green. This vegetable is full of Vitamin C and helps protect against cancer. So versatile, spinach can be eaten raw or cooked. Use it in smoothies, salads, in soup, or sautéed in just about any other dish.
Collards: Full of fiber, calcium and iron, as well as other vitamins and nutrients, collard greens are typically thought of in Southern cooking. These greens are more versatile than you may think, and pair well with pork and other vegetables. Try it sliced thinly, raw and in a salad, or sauté with ham or bacon for added flavor.
Beet Greens: These are the things you usually cut off of beets and toss in the trash. Don’t! They are just as good as their root counterparts, and are full of good things. One serving of beet greens has 5 grams of fiber! Young beet greens can be eaten raw in salads, or you can toss them in with some cooked beets. They also pair well with garlic, goat cheese, bacon, etc.
Chard: With a stronger spinach-like flavor, chard packs vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin K, C, and E, and is full of potassium and magnesium. The stalks are edible too, but should be cooked separate since the leaves take a bit longer. Use them with pasta or in soups, and pickle the stalks for a little extra treat.
Watercress: Delicate and flowery, watercress offers more beta carotene than an apple, is packed with Vitamin K, boosts immunity, fights cancer and supports thyroid. Watercress makes for a beautiful salad, is great in sandwiches, can be pureed in soups and makes a wonderful pesto.
Mustard Greens: With a peppery kick, mustard greens offer detoxifying properties for your liver and blood, and have high levels of antioxidants. Because of the spicy flavor, most people enjoy these mixed with other greens. Add them to braises, curries and pastas.
Broccoli Rabe: One of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, it is packed with iron, potassium, calcium and fiber. This green is actually related to the turnip, not broccoli, and is often used in Italian and Chinese dishes for balance. Pairs well with chilies, garlic and sausage.
Bok Choy: A type of Chinese cabbage, bok choy is full of dietary fiber and protein, and has almost all essential vitamins and minerals. This sweet, mild green comes in two sizes. Baby bok choy can be cooked and served whole, while bok choy should be cut into smaller pieces. Stir fry it into your favorite dishes, or eat raw in salads and slaws.