How To Eat More Leafy Greens

Green leafy vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and feature heavily in my detox program. I love how easy they are to use in all kinds of dishes, as well as all the different varieties. It's great to visit friends and family abroad and discover the types of green leafies available in their parts of the world. Where here in South West London, our local farmer's market usually sells about 4 different varieties of cabbage, spinach and perhaps some Swiss chard, over in New England in the States, you can get all of those plus dandelion greens, collards, mustard greens, etc etc etc. If we're lucky, we can find some bok choy and tatsoi, and in the summer of course we'll get rocket (aka arugula), lamb's lettuce (aka mache), and watercress. That's a lot of greens!

So, how do you incorporate all that leafy goodness into your daily meals? Here's some suggestions:

  • Green Smoothies. The sneakiest way to incorporate these veggies into your diet. Spinach is the default because its leaves are soft and sweet enough that the flavor won't overpower any of the other ingredients in the smoothie.
  • Salads. A no-brainer. But try stepping out of the lettuce department and into something a bit more daring. A massaged kale salad can be a wonderful thing and really forces you to practice chewing (something we tend to forget about when we're hurrying through our meals).
  • Stir Fries. One of the easiest meals to cook for yourself just got healthier - adding in a few leaves at the last minute takes no time. They wilt down so fast in a hot skillet that you'd barely notice they're there. Try it next time you break out your wok.
  • Soups. In much the same way that they can hide inside a smoothie, greens can go undetected in all sorts of soup. Of course, you can really go for it and prepare a totally green soup. Or you can simply stir through some shredded kale at the last minute.
  • Wraps. For the more robust leafy greens, like collards and dinosaur kale, try using them as a wrap instead of a tortilla or pita bread. Best of all, they provide a crunchy edge to the wrap, making them a perfect compliment to softer fillings.
  • Curries. One of my favorite simple Indian curry dishes, dal, always tastes better with a handful of spinach stirred through. So simple to do!
  • Pesto. While basil is the classic leaf in pesto, you can create all sorts of alternatives using different herbs and green veggies. My spinach and walnut pesto is delicious, or you could try making a version using either parsley, mint, or cilantro. Plenty of options and all fantastically green.
One more idea is to use the leaves that grow with the vegetables themselves. I've noticed purple sprouting broccoli making an appearance at our local farmer's market already (usually starts showing up in February), and while the broccoli heads are quite small, the leaves are huge!

So I prepared this simply sauteed dish using the purple broccoli, leaves and all. You could make this using any leafy greens you like - the flavors are divine.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli with red onion and lemon zest

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Keywords: saute side gluten-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wheat free winter spring