Our CSA offers a bountiful array of beautiful greens. Some members are thrilled about that, others are….not so sure. This email will tell you WHY greens are an ideal staple of the diet, and then HOW to enjoy them: with 7 easy and delicious recipes that have been favorites of ashram guests for many years--including young children.
WHY: HEALTH BENEFITS (Read the whole article and get more recipe ideas too!: http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/lowcarbsuperfoods/a/greensnutrition.htm )
Dark green leafy vegetables are, calorie for calorie, probably the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. They also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which protect our cells from damage and our eyes from age-related problems, among many other effects. Dark green leaves even contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats. Perhaps the star of these nutrients is Vitamin K. A cup of most cooked greens provides at least nine times the minimum recommended intake of Vitamin K, and even a couple of cups of dark salad greens usually provide the minimum all on their own.
Vitamin K: Regulates blood clotting ; Helps protect bones from osteoporosis ; May help prevent and possibly even reduce atherosclerosis by reducing calcium in arterial plaques ; May be a key regulator of inflammation, and may help protect us from inflammatory diseases including arthitis ; May help prevent diabetes.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, so make sure to put dressing on your salad, or cook your greens with oil.
Finally, they are almost carb-free! Which makes them essential for any low-sugar diet.
HOW: GREAT GREENS RECIPES
These recipes have all been chosen for one or more reasons: for being: quick; easy; using a LOT of greens; delicious; and keeping well. They are given here in increasing order of time/complexity but trust me, all are easy and can be made in from 10-30 mins (excluding baking time on the pies.)
Any and all greens will do. Stem, shred, put in pot, add some water, and boil; steam til done. Drain, then dress with vinaigrette below. Serve hot or cold. Kids love it!
Vinaigrette (Salad Dressing)
Sugar free: substitute stevia powder for honey. It is still very good!
2) CHIPS—Have you tried kale chips yet? Yes? Then guess what? Any green will do it! No? Then you must! They really are as tasty and satisfying as potato chips, but healthier. You can use an entire large bunch of greens this way in one fell swoop—and you’ll probably eat the whole thing right off the pan! You don’t need to take my word for it, google “chard” or “collard” chips. They also keep and travel well—so you don’t have to go a day without your greens.
Heat oven to 350. Shred any variety of dark leafy green over cookie sheet. Drizzle 1-2 T favorite oil (olive, coconut, and ghee are all great) over them and rub with hands to coat evenly. Then scatter 1 tsp salt and any other spices you like—garam masala is *amazing* so is cumin and cayenne. Then bake for 12 mins. Done!
3) SAUTEE – 3 STYLES
#1: Italian Style
Heat 1-3 T. olive oil, or other fat or oil of your choice in frying pan. Add ½-1 tsp. cumin seed, ½ tsp. turmeric (opt’l), and 3-4 cloves chopped garlic. Fry til fragrant, add chopped greens—any kind, whatever amount you wish to make (remember they all reduce a lot when cooking) and sprinkle over them ¼-1/2 tsp salt. Stir fry 1-2 mins, then add one or two tsps water, cover, cook about 3 minutes. Turn off heat, allow to sit an additional few minutes to finish. If desired, add heavy cream or coconut cream.
#2: Indian Style with Lemon —This is a hit with people who never liked kale or other greens before.
Heat 1-3 T ghee, coconut, or preferred oil or fat in frying pan. Add: ½ tsp black mustard seed, 1 tsp cumin seed,1/4-1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp coriander, ½ tsp ginger, and if desired, ¼ tsp cinnamon and a few grains cayenne. Fry til mustard seeds pop. Add as many chopped greens as you like (as above). Stir well til greens are coated with spices and wilty. Now, add the juice of half a lemon or lime. Cover, reduce heat, cook less than five minutes more. Now, add about 1 tsp of your choice sweetner: maple syrup, honey, molasses, or a few drops brown stevia liquid. Enjoy!
#3: Indian Style with Cream or Coconut Milk: based on Yamuna Devi’s recipe.
This can be vegan by substituting the dairy for Coconut milk. It is exquisite either way. Don’t be intimidated by the seemingly long ingredients list. If you once buy a bottle of each of these Indian spices, everything you make will taste great, and all you need to do is shake a little into the pot! or, if you don’t have it, leave it out.
• Cayenne pepper - 1/8 teaspoon
• Ground coriander - ½ table spoon
• Freshly ground pepper - ¼ teaspoon
• Freshly grated nutmeg - 1/8 teaspoon
• Turmeric - ¼ teaspoon
• Garam masala - 1 teaspoon
• Water - 3 tablespoons
• asafetida powder (hing) - 1/8 teaspoon
• Fresh greens, trimmed, washed and coarsely chopped - 2 pounds
• Salt - 1 teaspoon
1. Combine the cayenne, coriander, black pepper, nutmeg, turmeric and garam masala in a small bowl, add the water, and mix well. Melt the ghee or butter in a 5-quart/liter nonstick pan over moderate heat. Add the asafetida and let it sizzle for a few seconds, then pour in the spice mixture. Fry for about 2 minutes.
2. Pack in the greens and sprinkle with the salt. Cover and reduce the heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, then turn the leaves over so that the uncooked for an additional layer on the top change places with the cooked leaves underneath. Cook for an additional few minutes.
4) QUICHE WITH GREENS –TWO VERSIONS: a) LACTO-OVO & b) VEGAN
Quiche can absorb a *lot* of greens—up to two large bunches—so if you already have a favorite recipe, I suggest putting them in. Again, even little kids like this! It makes them less noticeable for folks who don’t love them. If you haven’t made quiche yet, give it a try. It is satisfying, almost universally loved, and stores very well—even frozen. Am giving two versions below: one lacto-ovo, the other vegan.
NOTE: For both recipes, I use my favorite home made spice blend, made ahead of time and stored in a jar for use in virtually everything! It is the mix referred to in the ingredients’ list and is made of powdered: (amounts are approximate:)
Curry powder— 1.5 T
a) Lacto-Ovo: This first lacto-ovo version is based on one in Molly Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook. Attached please see the best crust recipe have yet found. (Again, easy and good!)
1 (9 inch) pie crusts (see attached)
1 1/2 cups grated cheese, any kind
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 large bunches greens, shredded
½-1 tsp salt (we like Celtic sea salt)
Spice Blend (see Note above)
Egg Custard Ingredients
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
Pinch paprika or nutmeg
Cover bottom of crust with cheese. In a frying pan, melt butter and saute onions until soft and translucent.
Add all the spices, mix well, then add greens, and salt. Saute for 5 more minutes or until cooked through.
Spoon veggies over cheese in pie crust.
In a medium bowl, beat all of the custard ingredients together until thoroughly mixed. Pour custard over veggies layer. Sprinkle paprika or nutmeg over the top and cook in a 375* oven for 40-45 minutes, til the center is not jiggly. Remove from oven, allow to set, serve warm, hot, or cold, or freeze for later.
b) Vegan: This is from John Robbins book Diet for a Small Planet. Any greens may be substituted for the spinach.
1- 9 inch Pie Crust
1 lb firm tofu, crumbled
¼ c brown rice vinegar
1t onion powder or bouillion cube or use a1 med onion and sauté in pan
1-2 tsps spice blend (see note above)
1t sea salt
½ t dry mustard
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. chopped greens
1 T tamari
¼ c tightly packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 large tomato, sliced (opt’l but nice)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Put the tofu, rice vinegar, onion powder, salt, and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and tamari and cook until the mushrooms are browned, about 6 minutes. Add the spinach, cover and cook until the spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring often, until the excess moisture has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add to the tofu mixture, along with the basil, and stir to mix.
Pour into the baked pie crust. Arrange the tomato slices, overlapping in a circle, on top. Bake until the top is lightly browned and the filling seems firm in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.