Sunday, March 25, 2012

Guide to "Greens"

Whoa two posts in two days! Crazyness.

I had an idea for this post today while making dinner.

I have been experimenting with different greens. And by greens I mean lettucey type things. About 2 years ago I didn't know the difference between swiss chard, kale, and had no idea what rapini now that I have had my fair share of these forgotten greens I thought I would share my knowledge.

Disclaimer: I am no food expert. This is just my general knowledge of greens from the interweb and personal experience.

Ok..from wikipedia
Leaf vegetables are typically low in calories, low in fat, high in protein per calorie, high in dietary fiber, high in iron and calcium, and very high in phytochemicals such as vitamin Ccarotenoids,luteinfolate as well as vitamin K.

To most of us, leafy greens mean lettuce (romaine, red, green) and spinach. One good tip I have heard is that the darker the leaf, the better it is. Therefore iceburg lettuce doesn't count as a leafy is pretty much like water...nutritionally void. I rarely eat iceberg lettuce, and when I do I feel like I am wasting my time. 

Moving on to the cooler greens. 

Other lettuces:
This is probably familiar territory for most people. Romaine is my favorite in Ceaser salad, and it can even be grilled, if you are allowed to have a BBQ..unlike me :(. I like red lettuce in a salad with lots of other veggies, and boston lettuce is good for lettuce wraps. I don't have much experience with arugula but it is delicious with goat cheese!

Next up is the most versitile (in my opinion) Spinach! 
I love spinach salads, and cooked spinach and even spinach in a blender hidden in a smoothie (like this from Real Food Katie's Way)!
Spinach is really good for you, and it tastes pretty good too! Spinach was as far as I got into the leafy greens until 2 years ago, when I first attempted to cook swiss chard...

I made a "diet soup" that involved swiss chard. It was disgusting. So gross that I had to beg Mike to try it again recently. I think the key with swiss chard is to not cook the stems. With most leafy greens the stems are really bitter, so they aren't the best to eat. 

I finally gave swiss chard another shot, and cooked it with this Moroccan inspired meal.
I simply removed the stems and sauteed it. When in doubt with leafy greens..just saut the heck out of them with lots of EVOO and garlic. That makes anything good. 

I don't really remember swiss chard, but it wasn't too bad, just not my favorite. 

And then there is Kale. 
It is the "healthy living" blog world's pet leafy green. It could be the mascot haha. Kale is really tasty. My favorite way to cook kale is to make kale chips. It can also be sauteed, or used straight in salad.

Just last week I tried rapini for the first time. I had heard about it from cooking shows, and thought it looked nifty, so I picked some up:

I didn't really like it at guinea pigs (Mike and his cousin who was in town visiting) had some, and both agreed it wasn't the best. But they were good sports. I rewarded them with brownies later.

And that brings us to tonight: Collard Greens
These were surprisingly really good! I boiled them, and then sauteed them. They tasted like a mild fiddle head, which in my opinion is awesome!

So there you have it, a mini summary of greens. I haven't included all of them, and some like dandelion greens I really want to try. 

I got a lot of the photos from, which is a good site with more information! I see a few I need to add to my list of things to try!

So I dare you, expand your tastebuds away from lettuce and spinach, and see what you think! 

Anyone else loving the greens? Anyone have success with Rapini??

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this post, Kaylee! I've never even heard of Rapini, but I discovered earlier on that I love kale. I blanched it in some boiling water and ate it with a pinch of salt, just like that. So good.