Ways to Add Dark Leafy Greens to Your Diet

Plate of Greens & Bacon

Greens are not always the easiest things to cook with.  They can be bitter, coarse in texture, and strong in flavor, and these qualities aren't the easiest to deal with.  They are also packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and each leaf holds exactly what mom said was good for health.  They are worth dealing with, and having a handful of recipes in one's repertoire can make them easier to deal with all around.

Kale and white bean soup is an Italian favorite.  Sauteing Canadian bacon and onions in a little olive oil, adding chopped kale, chicken stock, and a can of white beans, this simple-to-make soup tackles kale's difficult texture and tendency towards bitterness by smoothing it out with white beans and the sweetness of onion.  It is excellent for a late fall warm up meal, as kale gets sweeter the later in the season it is harvested.

Bok Choy makes a lovely salad when it is paired with something to give it sweetness, such as fruit like mandarin oranges.  It has a somewhat sharper flavor than ordinary cabbage, but it has a finer and more delicate texture.  It also makes excellent stir fries.

Beets are lovely paired with their own greens, and make a lovely salad.  Beet greens are packed with iron, calcium, and magnesium, among other things.  They need simply be washed thoroughly and peeled.  Classic pairings are with feta, or goat cheese.  Beets add sweetness to an otherwise dull salad.

Southern style mustard greens or collards make a great addition to the greens lineup.  Heartier, and coarser, they require a bit more cooking.  Health conscious cooks use Canadian bacon instead of ordinary bacon or ham to reap the benefits of the pork flavor without adding a huge dose of fat.  Sauteed onion adds sweetness to this traditional dish, and vinegar cuts the earthy flavors and brightens up the dish.


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