Divas on a Dime: A quick guide to cooking super greens

When it comes to enjoying your greens, salad greens are just the beginning. There are many delectable greens that are amazingly flavorful and so packed with nutrition, they’re super greens. They can be steamed, sautéed, braised, added to soups, pastas, quiche, blended into pesto or eaten raw.

With all these greens below; rinse them well, as they can be sandy.

Beet Greens – Next time you buy beets, trim off the scarlet stems and the green leaves but don’t throw them away! They’re earthy, sweet and delicious. Cut the stems and leaves into two-inch pieces. Simmer the stems for a few minutes then add the greens for 3-5 minutes, drain well. You can dress them with a little olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and devour. Or sauté the cooked greens in coconut oil and garlic for a treat. Substitute beet greens in any recipe calling for spinach.

Collard Greens – A staple in Southern cuisine, hearty collard greens are delicious braised for hours with onion and ham hock or sautéed quickly in olive oil, they also make great raw slaw. Remove and discard the stems and ribs, then boil the leaves for 15 minutes in salted water. Drain the collards well, then sauté with olive oil and minced garlic. Drizzle with mild vinegar or lemon.

Kale – This nutritional powerhouse green can be sautéed, added to soups or enjoyed raw in salads. Or make kale chips by baking bite-sized pieces of kale in the oven at 350°F for 20 minutes or until crisp. Dress with just a little olive oil or cooking spray. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Mustard Greens – This spicy, peppery green adds a piquant tang to salads, sautés, casseroles and soups. Remove and discard the ribs before cooking. Please note that the longer mustard greens cook, the milder the flavor becomes.

Swiss Chard – A relative of the beet, this versatile green is mild enough for salads, tender enough for wilting in soup, and hardy enough to use in casseroles and quiche. To sauté; chop and cook the stems a few minutes before adding the leaves. Season with parmesan and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

How much do I buy? When greens are cooked, they shrink dramatically, so always buy more than it appears you need. Purchase at least one-half pound of raw greens for each serving.

How do I store them? Have you ever bought greens only to have them turn to slime in the crisper drawer of the fridge? You’ll be much more likely to cook your greens if you prep them in advance. Before you put them in the fridge, thoroughly wash and dry them, strip the stems from the leaves and place the leaves in a zip-top bag with dry paper towels. They’ll keep fresh for several days. Some greens are more fragile than others so use the tender greens first, (like spinach, chard, beet greens) and save the heartier greens (like kale and collards) for later.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some good hearty greens and make that bagged salad green with envy.

Fabulous Food by Patti Diamond from “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” – www.divasonadime.com Join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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