Eat your Greens

By Elizabeth Atia

So, because you were mightily inspired by my last blog post Ten Reasons Why You Should Subscribe to a Veg Box, you went out and signed up with your local grower. You may be feeling quite virtuous. 

Now, you’re facing your first delivery and you’re wondering how exactly you’re going to get all that green stuff inside you. Especially the leafy stuff. After all, there’s only so much salad one can eat in a week!

And how come the fridge is suddenly so full?

If your veg box is anything like mine, it might contain a bag of salad greens, rainbow chard, kale, spinach, pak choi and/or spicy Chinese greens.All in the same delivery.This is in addition to the carrots, beetroot, potatoes, garlic, broccoli, beans, kohlrabi, celeriac, courgettes, etc. 

During the peak growing season, I’ve learned that in order to get through all these leafy greens before the next lot arrives a week later, it means I have to eat half a bag of greens twice a day, at least. 

That’s a lot of greens (for me). 

Leafy green vegetables, especially the dark ones, are an excellent source of fibre, folate and carotenoids. They also contain vitamins C and K and the minerals iron and calcium. They act as antioxidants in the body and offer numerous health benefits. It’s recommended that we eat quite a bit of them.

To get these greens in me,I’ll quite often throw half a bagful into my favourite curry or stir-fry.Leafy greens, when cooked, shrink down to a fraction of their uncooked weight, so it’s a lot easier to incorporate them into recipes. It saves a whole lot of chewing too, when you cook them.

Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry

Saag aloo, a spinach and potato curry, is also one of my favourites.I’ve been known to eat a hefty portion of kale for breakfast in this Puy Lentils, Poached Egg & Paprika-spiked Yogurt Breakfast.

Leftover roast chicken, lamb or beef is sometimes finely diced and reheated in a little butter along with sliced boiled new potatoes before being mixed with a half a bag of greens for an effortless one-pan midweek dinner too.

I sometimes like to add a spinach and ricotta layer to this Easy Beef Lasagne Recipe. Simply wilt your bag of spinach (approximately 100 grams) in a large saucepan with a little splash of water to stop it from sticking. Cook over a medium low heat just until the leaves have wilted and then drain in a colander. 

Tip: you could reserve the nutritious cooking water for adding to the pasta sauce, if you wished. 

Leave the spinach to cool and then chop it finely. 

Tip: freeze your chopped, wilted spinach in ice cube trays for later.

In a bowl, combine the chopped, cooled spinach, 170 grams of ricotta cheese, 1 small beaten free-range egg and a generous grating of Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. 

Chorizo ravioli

Alternatively, you could use this filling to make your own ravioli filling.

Another of our family favourite ways to use up a bag of kale is in a kale and almond pesto recipe. This recipe freezes and defrosts well too, so you can divide it up into individual portions for a later date.

Kale & Almond Pesto

INGREDIENTS

100 grams fresh kale leaves – approximately 150 gram starting weight, before de-stalking

30 grams of fresh basil leaves 

100 grams raw almonds 

1 large garlic clove

1 lemon – juice and zest

30 grams grated Parmesan cheese or a vegetarian equivalent

a good pinch of sea salt

200 ml olive oil – use a good quality one for the best flavour

METHOD

Soak the almonds for an hour or so to soften them up a bit. Discard the soaking water. Pop everything into a blender and blend until coarsely mixed.

Serve on pasta, or grilled meats, or dollop on top of your lasagna – use as you would your usual pesto.

Elizabeth Atia

Mum, daydream adventurer, ex-pat Canadian & quite possibly Britain's most northerly award-winning food blogger. Calls Shetland home. https://www.elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk/

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