We all know dark leafy greens like kale, chard, spinach, collards, and the like are super good for you. Packed with vitamins and minerals (although it varies with soil quality and method of farming – choose organic), they should be a staple in your diet, right?
Not necessarily! A lot of us do not find them very palatable, especially our little ones! And like any vegetable, sometimes the preparation time gets us down. So today I’ve prepared some quick tips for you to save yourself some time, and sneak those greens into unsuspecting places!
If you are steaming your leafy greens, it’s known that a bit of nutrients are lost in the water. This is not to say you shouldn’t steam them, a lot of leafy green vegetables contain “anti nutrients”, or compounds that interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients, especially when raw. Cooking them reduces these in most cases. After LIGHT cooking (your veggies should still be green when you have done cooking them – they shouldn’t be that yucky brown green tinge), the great vitamins and minerals in these green veggies will be more available to you.
But some of the nutrients may also have been lost in the water! My solution for this? Cook your greens on top of your pot of pasta, rice, noodles, quinoa, or the like – the carbs will suck in the lost nutrients as they absorb the reservoir water.
As I don’t find a limp steamed leaf of kale or chard very appetizing (and neither does my two year old), I usually do something else with it after I’ve steamed it. I will steam a whole head of whichever green (sometimes a few), and then puree and freeze serving size portions. When I want to add them to something, I take a serving out of the freezer and thaw in the sink in warm water (I would advise you against microwaving for many reasons, but primarily because you will then cook your already precooked greens further and remove more nutrients).
Some examples of how I use my pureed greens are:
1) In pasta sauces / curries
2) Mixed with beans in a burrito
3) As a spread on a sandwich
5) Mixed in with guacamole or salsa
6) Mixed in with apple sauce for a snack (my son gobbles down his “green apple sauce” like a champ).
In this form, the greens really don’t contribute a ton of flavour to whatever you are adding them to, so they can be nicely disguised!
TRICK 3: FREEZE A HEAD OF KALE
The third trick I have for your leafy greens is simply to freeze an entire (washed & prepped) raw head of kale in a bag with something to absorb the moisture like a cloth. You can then later rip off a handful and crumble in into whatever you are cooking – this is a great option if you want some uncooked kale to add to your dish but you don’t have the time to chop or shred it up. I haven’t tried this with other leafy greens, but I’ve been told kale is this best for this.
Next up: My recipe for kale chips: my personal favorite recipe for greens! Forthcoming in the next few days 🙂