Tuesday, 22 October 2013 21:57

The simple beauty of leafy green vegetables

There seems to be something as bit old-fashioned about cooking with leafy green vegetables. In our childhood many of us thought that eating leafy green vegetables was some sort of punishment. However, slowly but surely, kale, Swiss chard and beet leaves are conquering the modern kitchen as their nutritional value is making headlines.

 What are leafy green vegetables?

There are various leafy green vegetables but here we’ll talk about Kale, chard and    beet leaves. Kale especially has been lifted up to the ranks of super foods – it is high  in Vitamin C (a cup of kale provides more vitamin C than an orange), vitamin A and  K. A serving of cooked kale also provides 10% of our daily calcium needs.

Swiss chard could be considered a ‘kale light’ – it contains less calcium but is high in  potassium and magnesium.

Beet greens have a similar nutritional profile to chard and are also high in calcium,  vitamin E and in nitrate which helps blood flow in muscles.

How to cook your leafy green vegetables

Your leafy green vegetables can all be enjoyed raw (in which case they are a little bitter and thus ideal for mixing with other salads), sautéed, steamed, baked in combination with other ingredients or stir fried. Simply wash them well, trim off the toughest part of the stem and chop. The thicker parts of the stem  will need a bit more cooking than the leaves. For a simple and delicious main or side dish, stir-fry with onion and garlic and season with soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, or salt and/or top with sesame seeds.

Cooking Kale 101

Cooking Chard 101

Beet greens are cooked like chard

Some ways of using your leafy green vegetables

  • Mix various leafy green vegetables raw in a salad
  • In a minestrone
  • Sautéed with onion and garlic as a side dish
  • Mixed with rice, couscous, quinoa, potatoes or pasta as a main dish
  • In a lasagna, quiche, or frittata

Find 10 easy kale recipes here - the wonderful ideas include:

  • sautéed with apple and bacon (or use ham, chicken or tofu)
  • with butternut squash and mustard dressing
  • in a rice-dill-chili pilaf
  • with lentils and Tahini sauce
  • with broccoli and feta
  • Asian stir fry with red pepper and sesame seeds/oil
  • in a Cesar salad with egg, Parmesan, red onion, lime juice
  • with radicchio, oranges, walnuts
  • with potatoes and fennel bulb

    10-minute Kale frittata


        • 1 onion, chopped
        • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
        • 3 cups kale, rinsed and chopped
        • 5 eggs
        • Salt, pepper
        • Oil to sauté onions and garlic


        • Sauté onions for about 5 minutes in a heavy, ovenproof skillet
        • Add garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes
        • Add kale and continue cooking for another 5 minutes
        • Pour 5 whisked eggs (with salt & pepper) on top
        • Continue cooking for another 2 minutes without stirring

    Place skillet in oven (broil setting) and cook for 3-5 minutes until eggs are firm and top golden brown

    Kale chips

    A very readable selection recipes for leafy green vegetables with and without meat is presented in theLeafy Greens Cookbook

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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