Celebrate spring’s arrival with dark leafy greens. Here’s a yummy way to get the 2-cup portion of raw leafy greens (equaling 1 cup cooked) that helps us meet our daily 2.5-cup minimum of non-starchy vegetables as part of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention.
Once ignored as an inedible garnish on a plate, today, dark leafy greens are valued for their abundant vitamins and phytochemicals, including carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein that may ward off cancer and protect eye health. Some also provide calcium in a form that our bodies can absorb efficiently.
Raw, greens ranging from arugula to watercress can pack a salad with spice and crunch. But cooked greens have a silky texture you’ll love.
Kale, collards, chard, spinach and mustard greens are perfect for sautéing in a bit of olive oil or steaming. (Avoid simmering them for hours with fatty meats or processed meat like ham.) Flavor greens with garlic, herbs and/or fresh lemon juice. Use sautéed greens in an omelet or lightly steam and combine them with whole-grain pasta and Parmesan.
Just as beet greens are nutritious but often discarded, broccoli leaves are often overlooked. But they still contain all of the health-fortifying phytonutrients as the rest of this cruciferous vegetable.
This recipe for broccoli leaves also works with an equal amount of kale, chard or other leafy green. You can put them into a soup or stew, or serve them with beans, fish or poultry.
Braised Broccoli Leaves
- 1 bunch broccoli leaves (12-14 oz. with stalks or 1 bunch BroccoLeaf – a national brand)
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and each cut lengthwise into 5 slices
- 1/2 cup water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lay a leaf on work surface with stem toward you. Run tip of small, sharp knife down both sides of center vein, then lift the stem and vein away from the leaf and discard. Fold leaf in half lengthwise and set aside. Repeat, stacking stemmed leaves.
Stack 6 halves horizontally on work surface with curved side toward you. Roll leaves into a long tube. Using a large knife, cut leaves crosswise into 1/2-inch strips. There will be 6 to 7 cups.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, turning it several times, until it just begins to color, 1 to 2 minutes. Add greens and cook, stirring until they look shiny and dark and have collapsed, about 1 minute. Pour in 1/2 cup water. Spread greens over bottom of pan, cover tightly and cook 5 minutes. Uncover, and cook, stirring often, until all moisture has evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Off heat, season braised greens to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 57 calories, 3.5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 5 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein,
2 g dietary fiber, 24 mg sodium