Eat Your Greens!
Eat Your Greens!
Leafy green vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, you can find them at the market all year long, and they’re delicious! There are many types of leafy veggies including kale, collards, turnip greens, swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, bok choy, and beet greens (cook the beets too!). Making a resolution to eat your greens is an easy way to amp up the nutrient density of your diet while shedding some of your holiday excess.
Not sure what to do with greens? Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy them: My favorite trick is to load up on greens at the farmer’s market, bring them straight home and into my sink, and wash them immediately. I remove the fibrous stem and rib (just pull!) and throw them in boiling water for 5 minutes. After pouring off the boiling water, I do a quick saute with onion, garlic, or shallot, and toss the wilted greens in to evaporate the last of the cooking liquid. You can keep the cooked greens for a week in your refrigerator to add to soups, beans or pasta or to eat as a side dish. If prepping the greens seems like too much trouble, many markets offer pre-washed greens… so easy!!
Last weekend I needed a healthy breakfast to sustain my energy through an all day mat workshop at Vintage Pilates. I sautéed some spinach in a skillet & set it aside. Then, in the same skillet, I basted an egg in olive oil. Voila! Beautiful, healthy breakfast in under 5 minutes.
Instead of pasta………
A bed of greens can substitute for pasta or bread, if you are a no gluten kind of person. Even if you aren’t, it’s delicious and much more nutrient dense than refined grains.
Adding raw kale, parsley, or spinach to your morning smoothie is an effortless way to add nutrients & fiber to your morning meal.
Here is a recipe for one of my favorite breakfast dishes, which, again, can be cooked ahead of time and rewarmed for a quick breakfast. Make a big batch!
Breakfast Greens and Quinoa
1) Prepare quinoa: rinse quinoa in a fine strainer before cooking. This is an important step because the seed has a bitter coating which is good for keeping the birds away while it’s growing, but not good tasting. Fortunately a thorough rinse will remove the bitter residue. I’ve read that most quinoa sold in the U.S. has had the bitter resins (called saponins) washed off. But rinsing it off is always a good idea.
2 ) Add 2 cups of quinoa to 3 and 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. For a light, fluffy batch of quinoa, keep the pan covered and cook as slowly as possible. It usually takes about 30 minutes.
3) Remove from heat and keep covered for five minutes or so. It is possible to cook quinoa faster on higher heat, but you will likely end up with gloppy mush. This has happened to me many times; it’s not worth it.
4 ) Separately, wash and cut once bunch of Swiss chard or kale in small pieces and lightly steam. I don’t take the stems out, I just cut them up very small, because I find they hold a lot of flavor.
5 ) Add the steamed greens to the cooked quinoa along with the following dressing, which I usually make in advance: 1/3 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/2 of a finely chopped red onion which has been marinating in the dressing for at least an hour.
This quinoa dish is served for breakfast at the Esalen Institute, a retreat center and hot springs built into the cliffs of Big Sur, California. A warm bowl of Quinoa Delight for breakfast is a great way to start the day.
Melanie Petri began searching for a practical application for her life-long love of science as a biology major at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. She began studying to become a Registered Dietitian upon learning that dietetics was a perfect marriage of science and cooking arts and studied exercise physiology as a secondary interest. Continuing her studies, she received a Master’s Degree in nutrition. Later in life she found her second love, Pilates, and was teacher certified at the Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado. She has taught in Hermosa Beach for over ten years and continues training at Vintage Pilates in Los Angeles.
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