In the midst of winter, we are lucky to have some hearty veggies to stave off scurvy. Kale, cabbages, collard greens are the emerald gems of winter eats — packed full of vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber — and they are extremely versatile in the kitchen. From soups and salads to smoothies and stir-fries, these green goddesses have got your back.
Winter greens are an affordable option to stock your refrigerator shelves. A key budget tip: Use the whole vegetables — don’t discard the stems! Not only are the stems packed with fiber, but prepared the right way they can add a lot to your dishes instead of going in the compost bin. To quickly remove the stems, hold the stem with one hand and form a circle with your other thumb and fingers. Place your circled hand over the base of the kale/ collard green and move toward the top of the stem to “shuck” the greens right off! Finely chop the stems to be sautéed with your onions in a stir-fry or soup, or sprinkle over a salad.
It’s much easier to eat your greens when they are in your fridge ready to go. One good practice is to wash and prep your greens ahead of time. After washing and drying them (you can lay out to dry, or put them in your salad spinner), store in the crisper drawer in a plastic bag for the longest shelf life. Have a busy week? Pre-chop your greens and other veggies to easily throw in your meal.
Dark leafy greens are rich in magnesium, which increases serotonin levels and boosts your mood. A win for our dark Pacific Northwest winters! Grab your greens from a local farmer at the monthly winter Bellingham Farmers Market (third Saturdays in Feb-March, every Saturday April-Dec) for even more feel-good community prowess.
Smoothies: Smoothies are an easy way to get more greens in your diet. Try adding a handful of kale to a blueberry/banana smoothie for some extra nutrients without the taste. Add cabbage to a smoothie with apple, pear, ginger and lemon for a wintery cold-busting breakfast.
Wraps: Did you know collard greens work really well as an alternative wrap? Cut out the stem (don’t “shuck” in this case to maintain the shape of the leaf for the wrap), and place in a shallow pan of simmering water for 45 seconds. Fill with preferred ingredients (think goat cheese or hummus with veggies), and enjoy!
Soups: ‘Tis the season for all the warming foods. Pair your greens with some onions, garlic, and potato or winter squash, white beans or sausage for a comforting and healthy weeknight dinner.
Eggs & Greens: A go-to quick and delicious breakfast. Chiffonade your greens finely, for a nice effect. To do this, remove the stems, then stack greens. Roll up tightly and cut into thin strips perpendicular to the roll. Cook some onions and the greens stems in a little oil, salt and spices. Add the greens and sauté until wilted. Top with fried eggs cooked to your liking.
Salads: Another great prep-ahead meal. Chop finely, and massage greens in your favorite vinaigrette to wilt. Top with apples, toasted hazelnuts or your favorite salad toppings.
Some helpful blogs and resources for finding recipes for leafy greens: Nourishing Meals: an awesome blog (and two amazing books) from local nutritionist Alissa Segersten:
My New Roots: plant-based recipes for every season from blogger Sarah Britton (type kale in the blog search)
Whether you whip up a smoothie or make a killer stir-fry, getting more greens into your winter meals will make for a happier and healthier season. Get creative, try new flavors, and enjoy!
With spring just around the corner want some fresh Spring vegetable ideas?
Also check out our Nutrition section for more inspiration on staying healthy, trying new recipes or other tips!