Eat your greens: A guide to leafy green veggies

Eat your greens: A guide to leafy green veggies



Eat your greens: A guide to leafy green veggies

Greens are not only for the salad bowl. There’s a variety of hearty leaves to chop, sauté, steam and bake up into flavourful new dishes. Here’s a quick introduction to what’s on today’s market shelves.

Baby bok choy
These small heads of bok choy have mild crunchy stems and spinachlike leaves that are more tender than the larger variety.

A trademarked cross between broccoli and Chinese kale, this is a slender stalk topped with tiny buds that resemble little broccoli florets. It is sweet, delicate, more tender and less fibrous than broccoli.

Curly endive
Curly endive grows in a voluminous loose head with lacy leaves that curl at the tip. The inner leaves are more tender and milder than the slightly bitter outer leaves.

Escarole has broad, slightly curved, pale sturdy leaves and mild slightly bitter flavour.

Kale and collard
Collard has wide, heavy, long-stemmed flat leaves. Kale has long stems with curly-edged leaves. Both members of the cabbage family, collard and kale are interchangeable in cooking. Collard has earthy flavour, while kale has a sharper, more pronounced cabbage taste.

With thin stalks, serrated leaves and some stems with clusters of floral buds, rapini (also known as broccoli rabe) tastes slightly bitter and is very tender.

Savoy cabbage
This cabbage has a loose, full head of dark to pale green crinkled leaves and a milder flavour than ordinary cabbage.

Swiss chard
With broad glossy leaves, Swiss chard has wide stems that are usually white or red but sometimes yellow, pink or multicolour. When cooked, the leaves are similar in flavour to spinach but more sour.

Cleaning your greens
Leafy greens can be quite gritty. To clean, plunge them into plenty of cold water. Swirl around to loosen and remove any grit; let stand for one minute. Lift greens out of water and drain. Repeat two or three times, depending on amount of sand and grit. Then use a salad spinner to dry them.

See next page for 7 new recipes!Blanched greens
Young greens are generally more tender and cook faster than mature greens. These are just guidelines to leave a bit of crunch.

Cover and cook in large pot of boiling salted water as in chart. Drain and chill in cold water; drain again and squeeze out liquid. Pat dry. (Make-ahead: Wrap in towel and refrigerate in resealable bag for up to 24 hours.)

Step 1: Greens Step 2: Preparation Step 3: Minutes
1 lb (500 g) baby bok choy (about 10 heads) Halve lengthwise 3 to 6 minutes
1 lb (500 g) kale (about 1 bunch) Discard tough stems and ribs; coarsely chop leaves 3 to 5 minutes
1-1/2 lb (750 g) Swiss chard (about 1-1/2 bunches) Discard bottom 1 inch (2.5 cm) of stems; coarsely chop remaining stems and leaves 2 to 4 minutes
2 lb (1 kg) collard greens (about 2 bunches) Discard tough stems and ribs; coarsely chop leaves 8 to 12 minutes
1 lb (500 g) rapini (about 1 bunch) Discard bottom 1/4-inch (5 mm) stalks 4 to 5 minutes
1 lb (500 g) Broccolini (about 2 bunches) Discard bottom 1/4-inch (5 mm) stalks 4 to 5 minutes

Rapini Ricotta Calzones
Mild ricotta and garlicky bitter rapini make an exceptionally delicious filling. Be sure to drain the ricotta well and squeeze out all moisture from the rapini to prevent the filling from becoming too wet.

Gemelli with Kale, Sage and Potatoes
Hearty ingredients make a simple and satisfying dish. Pancetta (Italian bacon) and Fontina cheese perk up the flavour. For a vegetarian version, omit the Pancetta and replace chicken stock with vegetable stock.

Tuscan Bean and Escarole Soup with Parmesan Croutons

The slight bitterness of escarole in this hearty all-season soup balances the sweet richness of carrots, tomatoes and beans. If you can't find escarole, curly endive is a good substitute. It adds a touch of bitterness and needs just a minute or two more cooking.

Swiss Chard Tart
Feta, mint and Swiss chard meld into a tasty trio. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature as a brunch tart or vegetarian main course.

Savoy Cabbage Gratin
This makes a savoury autumn side dish alongside Bavarian-style sausages or roast turkey. It's also hearty enough to be a vegetarian main course accompanied by crusty bread and a salad.

Spinach Energizer
This delicious vegetable cocktail is packed with the power of spinach.

Braised Greens with Garlic
Braised greens complement rich meaty dishes, such as stewed shanks, barbecued ribs or roasts. Pick your greens and use the chart for amounts and cooking times. This recipe is fantastic using any one you choose.

Read more: 8 healthy comfort foods


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Eat your greens: A guide to leafy green veggies