I am always encouraging my patients to eat more dark leafy green vegetables, one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can ingest. Many of us did not grow up eating leafy greens and some even find a big batch of kale or red chard a bit intimidating! What do you do with all that stuff? And why is it so important for me to eat?
Leafy greens contain a potent mixture of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many of the nutrients in spinach, kale, chard, collards, dandelion and other greens are also quite bio-available to us, meaning we can actually absorb and use those nutrients right away. And many of the plant-based substances in these colorful veggies protect us from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The other thing about leafy greens is that they are high in fiber, which we can all use!
But how to cook these exuberant vegetables? Here’s my favorite way which takes about 10 minutes. Remember the sturdy leaves cook way down, so start with a big ‘ole bunch of kale and hope there are leftovers! Can be yummy cold the next day, thrown in an omelet or mixed in a salad. When my family is home, I can barely make enough, my 3 college-aged kids will gobble up just about as much as I make.
I should also add that kale is one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed or little starts. You can plant in a pot in your kitchen or in a hanging planter on your porch. But try to use a deep container as they grow tall and need space for the roots. We have it in our temperate zone kitchen garden; it must be easy to grow as I have no green thumb! It often winters over and some of us have been known to go out in winter boots and a big parka & pick kale right out of the snow!
- One batch hearty dark green kale, perhaps 10-15 big leaves
- One onion
- Olive oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- Lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
Rinse the kale to remove any dirt.
Cut the leaves off the central stem and chop it up good.
Warm the olive oil in a skillet with a lid, or a taller pot if you are making more.
Sauté the garlic until soft, add the onions, cook on a low heat until the onions are clear.
Add the chopped kale and two tablespoons of water. Cover.
Cook until the leaves wilt—about 3-4 minutes, try not to overcook.
Drizzle with a little more olive oil.
Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the whole pot or a tablespoon or so of the vinegar.
Sprinkle a wee bit of salt on the whole operation & serve!