Cooking Healthy with Winter Greens

Q. I would like to eat more greens, but I don’t know how to cook them or make them taste good. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Greens are my favorite vegetable to cook and eat. Especially the winter greens such as kale and collard greens. Their hardiness lends well to dishes that are slow cooked with root vegetables and meat. They hold up well in soups, and because winter is their natural growing season they are extra compatible with eating in cold weather months. They have a warming affect on your body. They add a delicious source of nutrients to many meals.

They can also be made with a slight Asian or Mediterranean flavoring if you prefer, and they are very quick and easy to prepare. I like my greens usually with just a bit of fresh lemon juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, which is the traditional Mediterranean style. It really brings out the natural flavor of the greens.

Q. How do I cook them?

A. I have found that for most greens, not just kale and collards, but also spinach and Swiss chard it is best to eat them cooked. Because they contain oxalic acid, some people have sensitivity to oxalic acid and they should be boiled or steamed. If boiling the greens, it is best to have lightly salted water boiling before adding the greens. Also, remove the greens after just a few minutes of cooking before they start to oxidize and turn brown. With a little salt in the water, it helps them to retain their bright green color. For steaming it is the same principle. Use lightly salted water and steam for just a few minutes. For exact cooking time and instructions for each green refer to our preparation cooking tips under Good Tasting Healthy Recipes. We have a list of cooking videos with exact instructions of cooking each green.

For more substantial and innovative ways to add these winter greens to your diet try our recipes such as:

This page was updated on: 2002-11-21 18:48:15
© 2002 The George Mateljan Foundation