Use Those Greens!
When you have a garden, you may be likely to have a lot of greens to use. Even 3 kale plants can produce a LOT of kale. One Swiss chard can grow to a giant size and you’ll be happily harvesting all summer and into the winter. But what to do with all those greens? You can donate to the food bank, which is a wonderful thing to do. But perhaps you’d like some ideas for working them into your own cooking. Many of us did not grow up using large amounts of greens. I never ate any kale until I grew it in my garden.
So here’s some ideas to help you eat those greens. Use the comment section below to add your favorite ways to use greens.
Salads – ok, that’s obvious.
Kale Chips – you can find recipes online for these. I think they taste like hay but a lot of people really like them.
Stir fry’s – many types of greens cook up wonderfully in a stir fry. Cook your favorite stir fry recipe and throw in a mixture of your greens – kale, swiss chard, bok choy, etc. They will cook down and blend in with the other flavors.
You can also stir fry just the greens. Heat some olive oil in a fry pan, and add some garlic and cut up greens. Stir and cook until greens are tender.
Steamed – use a steamer (you can buy a little one at the grocery store which fits in an existing pan).
Smoothies – the current favorite at our house. Use a blender, stick blender or one of the machines they sell specifically for these kind of drinks. Here’s our recipe:
Three cubes ice
Several strawberries (frozen is fine)
Handful of blueberries
½ cup of yogurt – strawberry or raspberry
Kale (as much as you can get in the container)
Handful of almonds
Enough apple juice to almost cover the contents
Optional – 1/3 banana or ¼ of avocado. The avocado doesn’t change the flavor but makes the drink very smooth and adds the “good fat” that your body needs.
Blend 30-60 seconds until smooth. Great for breakfast – gives you that whohoo! burst of energy that lasts till lunch.
Soups – greens are great in soup. They blend right in and are a good way to hide the greens if you have those who are not so in love with them.
Sausage and Chard Soup – 4 servings
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. Italian sausage (I like chicken sausage) cut into 1 inch slices
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
14 oz canned or fresh diced tomatoes
1 small bunch of Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped (you can also use some kale along with the Swiss chard)
1 can* cannellini beans, drained and rinsed – if you like a really thick soup use 2 cans.
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Cook onions and garlic in olive oil. Transfer to plate. Cook sausage until slightly brown. Stir in broth, add onions and garlic back in. Add rest of ingredients except for greens, parsley and parmesan. Cook at a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add in greens, stir until cooked (maybe 1 minute) and add fresh parsley. Serve topped with grated Parmesan if desired.
*You can cook your own beans ahead of time and freeze to use in recipes like this. Cheaper and better for you.
Spaghetti sauce – make the sauce a tomato/vegetable sauce. Mix in shredded carrots, zucchini, chopped greens, mushrooms and greens, along with your other ingredients. (Got fresh tomatoes? Use those instead of canned).