Nutrition Articles

Getting Your Greens

Tasty Ways to Prepare Good-for-You Greens

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Bok Choy
Similar to chard, bok choy is made up of large leaves and succulent stalks. The stalks cook pretty quickly compared to other greens, so the leaves and stalks can be cooked together. Try adding chopped bok choy to a stir-fry, or sauté in olive oil and minced fresh garlic until tender. Try these recipes with bok choy: Beet Greens
These are the leaves that grow from beets. They can be cooked much like chard and bok choy.

Collard Greens
These big, flat, matte leaves take much longer to cook than other greens, and if they aren’t fresh, they can be very bitter. Raw collards are almost always bitter. The stems and tough ribs aren’t edible, so the leaves must be torn or cut away. Try boiling them for 10 minutes, and then braising them in garlic butter and some of their cooking water, covered, for 30 minutes, salting to taste. Try these recipes for collard greens: Turnip Greens
These have curlier leaves than collards, but the handling instructions for turnip greens are the same as collards. Try these turnip greens recipes: Broccoli Rabe
Peel the tough lower stalks of this Italian vegetable, and then boil until almost tender. Drain and sauté in garlic butter or olive oil. These recipes include broccoli rabe: Mustard Greens
The curly leaves of mustard greens look like light-green kale (see below), but taste nothing alike. Mustard greens have a spicy, horseradish-mustard flavor and can be very pungent. Remove the stems and tough ribs, and boil for one minute before sautéing in garlic butter or olive oil until tender. Try this recipe that contains mustard greens: Kale
Kale is versatile and its mild flavor goes well in soups and hearty stews. Just rip the leaves away from the stems, tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces, and toss them into the stew when there is five minutes of cooking time left. Steamed kale can be eaten as a side vegetable. To steam, rip the leaves away and discard the stalks. Steam leaves for 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Drizzle with a scant amount of toasted sesame oil and soy sauce. Try these kale recipes:
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • I'm definitely a GRITS, and if you go to any local "soul food" eatery, or any local's home for supper, you'll eventually be served collards, cooked with ham hocks, fat back or a ham bone, chopped stems and all, and cooked with salt and pepper until very tender (hours!l). You can eat them your way, but our way, with a little hot pepper vinegar and fresh corn bread is a Southern staple! - 9/30/2015 9:23:29 AM
  • I eat collard greens frequently and always eat the stems unless tough and just chop finely and then sauté in olive oil. Very tasty and very quick. No clue why they would need simmering for 30 minutes unless someone likes grey, mushy leaves.

    Same with rapini. I chop them roughly and sauté them in olive oil. I don't bother with steaming them before hand. They cook very fast.

    - 1/27/2015 7:32:06 PM
    My favorite way to eat spinach, chard, beet greens is just lightly steamed, and tossed with butter and salt, delicious. Tougher greens are good, braised for hours with bacon. - 9/30/2014 3:07:06 PM
    Best opening sentence EVER. Made me laugh.
    - 2/7/2014 1:27:43 PM
  • Educational article! The recipes sound yummy. I never tried these greens before because all of them (even dandelion greens, which people pay companies to destroy from their lawns here!) cost a bundle. I figured if I cooked them wrong I would be wasting money. Will try the recipes! - 2/7/2014 6:05:22 AM
  • This article is a great resource, I never knew how healthy greens can be. - 8/1/2013 8:37:57 AM
  • I grew up in the South. All the greens mentioned in the article are my favs. They were a staple in my family's garden and I grow them in the spring, fall and winter. I also set aside a few plants just to produce seeds for the next growing season. I prefer to eat them raw are lightly steamed. A greens and fresh basil leaf salad is hard to beat anytime of the year. - 9/28/2012 7:12:02 PM
  • I recently at a u-pick farm got cauliflower. Instead of throwing away the leaves, I used them like kale - rolling them up, slicing thinly and then placing in lemon juice to break down the fibers. So excellent and completely free food. - 7/19/2012 9:51:50 PM
  • Afresh new look at greens - 7/19/2012 4:19:36 AM
  • I enjoyed this article and will pick up some greens for sunday dinner. The greens I enjoy most are kale and collards.

    One of my fav recipes I found on spark is Collards cooked in the slow cooker. These were definately a keeper and they don't turn out wilted of nutrients.

    ail.asp?recipe=446375 - 7/21/2011 11:09:29 AM
  • Kale chips are the best! - 1/16/2011 12:18:51 AM
  • I think the trick to eating greens and LOVING them is to get very fresh greens. The longer they sit they "self-destruct" and lose their complex sweet/savory flavors. If the greens are more then 4 days old, they start to taste bitter (to me).

    I am lucky to be a veggie farmer, so i have tasted the freshest greens and they are light years better then greens I have kept in the my fridge for a week. Please, if you think you don't like greens just give them one more chance. Go to a farmers market, buy a mild green like Swiss chard and cook it the day you buy it. - 1/10/2011 2:13:52 PM
    Kale is my favorite. I always have it in my garden, it reseeds itself if you leave a plant or to to over winter and flower and set seeds the next year. - 11/8/2010 5:50:47 PM
  • Love, love, love greens!!! There is life and nutrition in them!!! This summer I have been growing Swiss chard in two pots on my deck. Yesterday I stir-fried some chopped leaves and stems and then beat an egg and poured it on top, along with a little shredded cheese, to make an omelet. YUM! Tonight I had stir-fried bok choy with some garlic, onion, mushrooms, yellow peppers, tomatoes, and beans - a great vegetarian entree. - 8/19/2010 9:18:26 PM
  • Kale is wonderful. I like to make a salad from the leaves and then I cut off the little budding leaves that are left on the stalk to put in soup. Combine that in with a few other chopped veggies, add a chopped/ground meat of your choice, throw in some rice (maybe some beans), and let it stew. It's cheap and super tasty!

    By the way, kale turns bluish when it's cooked. Pretty cool stuff. - 8/19/2010 2:24:22 PM

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