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Cooking with Greens

Note:  Greens are one of the healthiest sources of nutrients and  antioxidants.
Some like spinach can be steamed; others, like kale, are tougher and should be cooked slowly in a little water or chicken soup.  Serve with a tad of butter or olive oil and lemon juice, herbal vinegar, Nuoc Cham , Vinaigrette, or  Hollandaise Sauce.  They can be stir fried to preserve both the nutrients and freshness in cooking.   Include them in Minestroni or as a Strudel or Calzone filling.   Vegetarians can use them with some beans in tacos, casseroles, sandwich wraps . . . and the list goes on.

If the greens are store-bought or the leaves are large, the entire stem should be
removed, especially from the stronger varieties (mustard, collard, kale, or escarole).
The first two recipes are good for tougher varieties, but you can substitute sweet greens
(spinach, Swiss chard) if you prefer. Mom ("Ralph") Dorrington adds anchovies to kale
while cooking.

Martha Stewart fries onions and garlic, mixes in some chard chiffonade, and adds cooked rigatone or penne pasta. She tosses the mixture with olive oil and balsamic vinegar; and, tops with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Her Sauteed Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts sound good, too (11/00 magazine).

Swiss chard and spinach make a hearty addition to Chicken Enchiladas, Enchilada Casserole, and Lasagna

Greens are a frequent accompaniment in our home with fish dishes.  Moosewood Restaurant combines them with black-eyed peas, bulgur, or pasta for a hearty one-dish meal or also as a side dish for fish. 

See also Spinach Feta Pie and Spinach Dishes.

Kale with Onion Maple Vinaigrette

Note: The vinaigrette is taken from a Shaker recipe that is used to dress mesclun
greens. Swiss chard or collard greens can be substituted.

For the kale:
2 lbs kale, cut away from tougher stems and sliced into 1/2" strips
2 white onions, chopped
1/4 cp white vinegar, or to taste
3 T sugar, or to taste
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the vinaigrette:
1 1/2 cp vegetable oil
1/2 cp maple syup, preferably dark amber or Grade B
1 small white onion, peeled and chopped
1 T dried basil

1. Blend vinaigrette ingredients first for 5 minutes. Refrigerate, covered, for a
minimum of one hour.
2. Saute onions in oil about 5 minutes, till tender.
3. Add greens in batches and cook till wilted, about 2-3 minutes if they are young and till fork- tender if they are older and tougher.
4. Season and add vinaigrette, tossing gently.
5. Cook on low heat till tender, about 20 minutes.

        Cooking in the Shaker Spirit, James Haller, Jeffrey Paige

Linguine With Lentils

Note:  The combination  of greens, pasta, and lentils is popular among cookbook authors.  This recipe is adapted from Sunset Complete Vegetarian Cookbook, which calls for Swis chard.    Their recipe does not use the stems, but chard is so soft that the stems can only add texture and, possibly, fiber and nutrients, so this cook opts to include them.   The Savory Way, Deborah Madison, 1990, has a similar recipe but uses Neufchatel cheese.   She is a good source of recipes for cooking with greens, since all her recipes are vegetarian.

3 cps chicken or vegetable broth
1 cp lentils

2 lb Swiss chard, cut into chiffonade
1/2 cp  onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced

2 T olive oil
1/2-1 t red pepper flakes

10-12 oz linguine
6 oz Gruyere cheese, diced

1. Bring broth to boil in large pan. Add lentils and cumin. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer till lentils are tender (about 30 minutes).
2. Bring pasta water to a boil while preparing other ingredients.
3.  Chiffonade chard into 1/4" strips and set aside.
4. Combine oil, carrot, onion, garlic, and pepper flakes into a pan and simmer till onions are lightly browned and carrots somewhat softened.
5. Add chard and cook, stirring, till leaves are limp.
6. Cook pasta according to directions.
7. Add lentil mixture and cheese to pasta and mix lightly.