When you think of which vegetables belong in a stir-fry or stew, chances are your mind conjures up images of carrots and onions but leaves out any sort of leafy green. But it's time that changed. Some greens, such as lettuce, aren't suited to warm dishes, but many others, such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard and bok choy, do very well in hot meals. Because the cooking time is less than other, denser vegetables, simply add them closer to the end of the recipe. If you're making a stir-fry, for instance, toss shredded kale or spinach leaves into the mix a couple of minutes before the dish is done. The leaves will wilt within a minute or two and make a flavourful addition to the dish.
The wide array of leafy greens at the grocery store can seem a little overwhelming at times. When you're staring at a dozen heads of lettuce, Swiss chard, bok choy and others that all look more or less the same, picking out the one you want and knowing what to do with it isn't always easy. That's why starting your journey into understanding leafy greens is most easily accomplished by initially incorporating them as sides. Just about any leafy green can be sauteed in a little bit of oil or steamed and sprinkled with spices for an easy side dish. This is a great way to test out different options and see what appeals to your taste buds. You might find kale a little tough but that spinach is just right. Or you might find spinach too bland, but the slight bitterness of Swiss chard is exactly to your liking. You have nothing to lose and a whole lot of nutritional benefits to gain by whipping up leafy greens as your next side dish.
If you're having a hard time getting on board with the taste or texture of leafy greens, then mixing them into your food in a subtle way is your best bet. And nothing masks the taste of veggies quite as well as a sweet smoothie. Toss a frozen banana, 1 cup of frozen berries and 2 cups of liquid such as water or almond milk in a blender, and then add as many leafy greens as your taste buds can handle. Start with a cup of something relatively neutral in taste, such as spinach, and then work your way up to 2 cups' worth of a stronger green, such as kale, when you're ready. Somer at Vedged Out has all kinds of green smoothie recipes worth trying out.
How do you sneak more leafy greens into your diet? Leave your ideas in the comments below!
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