How Do You Cook Greens?

by Mary
(Virginia)

Question:


I have been steaming them and then sautéing them, but then they have a weird texture. What am I doing wrong? How do you cook greens?

~Mary




Answer:

I love greens, so I loved answering this question. I could eat kale three meals a day, every day of the year. And there are tons of other great greens out there like collard greens, spinach, chard, arugula, mustard greens, beet greens, turnip greens, and endless varieties of each.

Dark, leafy greens are absolutely packed with vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients, and they even have small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. They are extremely beneficial in protecting us from cell damage, protecting our eyes, regulating our blood pressure, improving our blood's ability to clot, reducing inflammation, and they help prevent diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

They basically should have their own category in your mind; vegetables, dark leafy greens, fruits, legumes, grains, etc. If it's at all possible, try to eat dark leafy greens every single day, in one form or another.

There are tons of different ways to prepare greens, and I recommend experimenting to find your favorite. To start, I can tell you that if you like the flavor of food sautéed, perhaps with some olive oil and garlic, you do not need to steam the greens first. You would most definitely be overcooking them by doing that, and it would give you a weird rubbery texture.

To sauté, all you need to do is rinse your greens, give them a rough chop, and toss them into a sauce pan that has been preheated to medium. If you like garlic, first put about a tablespoon of oil in your pan and throw in some minced garlic (how much is up to you and how Italian you are), let it cook for about a minute, until fragrant, and then put in the greens. Depending on how delicate the green is, they will need anywhere from 1-5 minutes to soften up.

I personally love raw greens. You can eat them in obvious ways, like as in mixed green salads with other vegetables, beans, nuts, and topped with a nice vinaigrette dressing. I always make my own dressings because I want complete control of the ingredients, and really, I think they taste so much better.

You could also try massaging the raw greens to soften them up, and then putting your favorite dressing on top. To massage, rinse your greens, give them a rough chop, and then sprinkle a bit of oil on top of the pile, and go to work kneading the leaves. You will hear the fibers crack and the leaves will darken and look as though you've put them in the steamer. Massaging the greens makes them softer and easier to digest without taking away any of the vital nutrients in the actual leaves.

You can also try getting your daily dose of greens by juicing them or putting them into smoothies. My sister had a tough time with the texture of greens when she was pregnant, so she basically drank her greens everyday. Green smoothies are amazing, and typically look scarier than they actually are. I usually can't even taste the frozen spinach I throw in mine, and you can get really creative and add lots of other fruits as well. If you are pregnant as well, you should definitely find ways to get greens into your diet.

I've also really enjoyed dehydrated greens, in the form of kale chips. If you have a dehydrator, you're probably really familiar with the method for making them, but you can basically put any spice you like on top and dehydrate them until they are crispy. I believe you can use your oven in a similar way by putting them in on a low temperature for a really long time. Check our good friend google about that.

I hope this helps give you some ideas on how to cook greens.

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Saute with water
by: Anonymous

Hello Frank,

You can actually saute by using water, this is what I do. I don't cook with oil but I saute with water in all my stove cooked dishes. Just put a small amount of water in your pan, allow the water to heat up, to a boil, add you onion/garlic/whatever. The idea is to generate steam, letting the steam do the sauteing. When you have added your item to the pan, lower to a medium heat and you may find that you have to keep adding more (small amounts) water until your item is sauted to your preference. I also cover my pan occassionally to help the steam along.


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VEGAN WANTING TO COOK GREENS BETTER
by: FRANK Bibbo

I try to eat greens every day, I go shopping at a chinese food market and find they have a variety of green vegetables. Some names I am not familiar with, but as long as they are green I buy and eat them. hopefully, they all have similar health benefits,
I find by steaming them, they taste good and can actually taste the vegetables. Also I don't use oil in any of my cooking, therefore without oil its hard to saute them.

Do you have any suggestions as to how I can make them tasty by cooking garlic in a pan.

thank you

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