As a southern gal, born and raised, I grew up with everyone around me eating what we refer to as “greens.” This includes collard greens, mustard greens, kale, and swiss chard to name a few. At first glance, one would think that “greens” are difficult to cook, but really they are quite easy and quite delicious. I know that some of you are already imagining a wilted blob of some lettuce like substance on a plate, and thinking, how could that possibly taste good? Just bare with me please!
I didn’t always like greens.
Between the macaroni and cheese, the deviled eggs and the chicken and dumplings, there was simply no room on my plate for greens. It wasn’t until I discovered the ease of making greens and their versatility that I fell in love with them. Not to mention that they are very inexpensive and great for your body. This year, I have taken my love of greens to a whole new level by growing them in my garden. Using the skills my mother passed on to me, I have grown the most delicious lettuces and swiss chard. Swiss chard is one of my favorites because it’s just so darn beautiful! The variety I prefer has a bright green leaf and a hot pink stem. It is a hearty crop and is very easy to grow and harvest.
Swiss chard can be sautéed and added into just about anything. I have been known to chop it up (like an herb) and mix it into pasta sauces, curries and soups. I even like to mix it into rice, lentils and stuffings. These are great ways to get your kids to eat their greens without any fuss! All you have to do is remove the stem, chop them up and sauté them in a little bit of olive oil. Always be sure to season them with some salt and pepper.
Tip: For the more adventurous foodies, try adding in a little red chili sauce!
Now, for thicker greens like collards, you will need to boil them first to soften them up. Just like with the chard, you will need to remove the stems. The easiest way to slice them is by folding the leaf in half. Then start at the end and roll them up. You can then take your knife and start slicing the greens. Like you are slicing a sushi roll. I prefer to slice them in ½ inch wide strips.
- Place your greens in boiling water and boil them until they are fork tender and a dark green color.
Remember that they will cook down quite a bit, so cook more than you think you'll need!
- Next drain all the water from the greens and rinse them off.
- From here you can sauté them in a medium-hot pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper and Ta-Da! Done!
Tip: I enjoy mixing in some slice onions, garlic and even bacon for an added boost of flavor!
These days I just adore greens. I have learned that you have to teach your body to like new tastes. If you didn't grow up eating greens, you may want to try some of the mix-in ideas I mentioned above to get started. On your next shopping trip, make your way on over to that foreign area of the produce section and get familiar. Soon, "greens" will be a regular part of your family's diet! Get creative, have fun, don't give up! Go YOU!