Green leafy vegetables are a key part of a healthy diet. They are rich in essential vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants and fiber. The nutrients provided by dark leafies help support the immune system, help balance hormones and reduce the risk of both cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The picture above is me (OK, a younger me) posing in front of the "man-eating kale" growing in my Seattle garden. If you look closely you can see that I have both the standard curly kale, as well as less common "dino" kale, swiss chard and a brussels sprout plant in the background. The kale would get so big over the winter that I often decorated it with Christmas lights. You can see, not only is it incredibly nutritious, but it can make a gorgeous landscaping plant. Sigh, I really love kale.
Green leafies have fallen by the wayside in most American diets, so many people do not have experience with them. The two main keys to preparing dark green leafies are that they are lightly cooked (or wilted) and adding an acid (vinegar, citrus, tomato) to bind the bitter components that many people find unpalatable.
Here is my favorite recipe for cooking kale. I consider this recipe a Pacific Northwest staple.
2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1-2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs soy sauce or tamari
1 – 2 Tbs water
2 bunches of kale rinsed and chopped into 1-2 inch squares
1 Tbs gomasio or
1 Tbs sesame seeds
Heat large skillet 1 min on med heat
Add 1 Tbs olive oil to warmed skillet
Add chopped garlic and sauté lightly 30 seconds
Add chopped kale and water, stir to coat with oil until kale turns bright green, but before it wilts completely
Cover skillet and allow to steam / sauté for 1-2 min
Add balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, stir, cook 30 seconds longer