Nutrition: Greens, the Nutritional Jackpot

by Jeanine Calabria
Nutritional experts advise that parents may have to present a food to a child seven times before the child will accept the new food. I have to say that this same logic also may apply to adults. I have eaten “greens” all my life with little enthusiasm. I knew they were good for me, in fact even believed they were essential to my health since they are loaded with iron, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants. Yet, I had never really enjoyed them. Committed to finding a dish with greens that I could enjoy, I learned there are basically two ways to prepare them: flash sauté them until they barely wilt or slow cook them, usually with a salt pork, to lessen their bitter quality. Cooking them for several hours left them so mushy that I was repulsed by the texture. I settled on using the sauté method with olive oil and garlic, and they were palatable. However, I still wasn’t motivated to make greens a staple.
Last year I changed my tune. I experimented until I came up with a dish that I call Greens with Beans, a dish that I can’t get enough of. Twenty minutes of actual cooking time with an incredible mélange of herbs, veggies, and broth make this dish a nutritional jackpot. Because I like greens prepared this way so much, I make a huge pot and ration out a little every day with my meals. Much to the amusement of my family, I even like them for breakfast with poached eggs!
I hope you will enjoy this colorful, flavorful dish. Let me know how you like it and how you change it to suit your palate. Bon appétit!

Greens with Beans

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, sliced thin
6 cloves garlic, chopped small
1 bunch of greens cut into 1-inch strips (beet greens are beautiful mixed with spinach, but any greens work, including collard, kale, chard, or dandelion)
juice of one lemon
1 bay leaf
14 oz vegetable broth
1 28-oz can of tomatoes, diced, including juice
1 15-oz can of cannelloni beans, drained
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried, ground chipotle pepper or, for less spice, smoked paprika (I prefer Penzeys Spices)
fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

1. Heat oil; add leeks, garlic, and greens. Cook for 5 minutes, just until the greens begin to wilt.
2. Add tomatoes (with their juice) and all other ingredients except the beans. Cook for 15 minutes.
3. Add the drained beans and, if you want, a cup of fresh, chopped parsley. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Serve with rice and you have a complete meal.

For more recipes, read Jeanine’s blog by clicking here.

©Circle of Life Partners™

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