One of the things I like best about growing up is changing tastes. When I was little, I had an on-off relationships with most vegetables, notably mushrooms. I loved them one week, and hated them the next. With growing up comes changing ideas of what tastes good, and I love it. I can be more creative, try different ingredients and recipes, and cook things that are good for me at which I would have turned up my nose years ago.
One of those things is kale. Since I worked on a CSA farm and tried Kale Chips for the first time, I have been looking for more ways to use this power green more often. One excellent option is in soup, like the Olive Garden copycat of Zuppa Toscana I made. Delicious and packed with healthy ingredients.
So as I had recently purchased more kale at Sprouts Farmers Market, along with some golden beets and fresh garlic heads, I decided to try another kale classic: Italian Sauteed Greens. I’m sure this is yet another popular side dish with a long and debated over past. But basically it’s garlic and olive oil with various greens sauteed lightly, and usually a tangy dressing like vinegar or lemon juice added. Also it is sometimes spicy, but since I’m a wuss I did not add hot peppers or hot pepper flakes. Feel free to if you love heartburn.
1 bunch kale, cut into small strips
1 bunch beet leaves, in small strips
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
1/4 cup sour liquid (I used banana pepper liquid and 3 tbsp lemon juice, you can also use any type of vinegar)
Sprinkle of sea salt
3-4 banana pepper or hot pepper rings
Step 1: Dice up your garlic into bits. You can use a garlic press or chopper if you want.
Step 2: Saute the garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil 4-5 minutes, you should be able to smell it.
Step 3: Cut the greens into thin strips. Add to the pan, and cover tightly. Let it steam in the garlic oil for 10-15 minutes, or until fully wilted.
These greens were so vibrant and lovely even before cooking! All that heart-healthy nutrient-packed deliciousness…
Step 4: Add your sour notes, lemon juice and banana peppers. Stir, cover, and saute another 5-10 minutes.
Banana pepper rings are a new love of mine. I put them on tuna sandwiches, on pizza, into my greens… they’re awesome. And lemon juice is a necessity for life.
Step 5: Once wilted and everything is combined, move to plate and garnish as you like.
I added a little sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese and some sea salt. It was the most perfect balance, and the tart juices took away a lot of the harsh bitterness most people don’t like about greens.
These greens were tangy and delicious, and if you enjoy spicy food would go great with some hot peppers. I also had some cottage cheese on the side, to complete a whole, light lunch. It’s filling without feeling stuffed, and ridiculously good for you.
What’s your favorite way to cook greens?