Greens recipes, please!
September 28, 2010 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Fellow mefites, I need your recipes for greens! My freezer overfloweth, as do the fields.

As is my custom, I signed up with a CSA this year. This particular CSA includes a number of U-pick options if you go to the actual farm to pick up your share, and it's only 15 minutes or so from my house, so I always do. One of the U-pick options is cooking greens; the stated allowed amounts for these is "roughly a bunch that you can hold in both hands, every week."

Well, up here in Seattle, it was a great year for greens. (Terrible year for corn, mind you, but a GREAT year for greens.) The double-handful rule fast turned into a market-basket-full rule, and then into an armload rule, and now they are basically telling people to cut as much as they want. Last week I cut an entire laundry basket full of chard and kale, and they thanked me as I left. Some of them I eat fresh, some of them I rough-chop and freeze raw, some of them I steam and then freeze.

I have probably two or three months' worth of greens stored in the freezer right now, depending on how often I eat them; I would like to eat them frequently, because first of all hey, free food! But also, dark green leafy vegetables are really good for you, I like the way I feel when I eat lots of them, plus I couldn't get a lot more local without growing them myself.

Here's the problem: I have eight, maybe a dozen recipes that involve cooked greens in quantity. They are all delicious, but I am suspecting that I will need more variety if I'm going to be eating these all winter long. This is where I need you! What fabulous thing do you make with dark green leafy vegetables? I have access to rainbow chard, collards, mustard greens, SEVERAL kinds of kale, and something called "Vita-Green," which I think is a cross between collards and bok choy. The share ends in mid-November, but I can keep going back to the fields to cut more until the rains rot them out, which last year was in mid-January for the Siberian kale. So recipes that involve fresh greens are also welcome, though the majority of my greens will be frozen either raw or cooked.

Thank you in advance!
posted by KathrynT to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
juice them! green smoothies with apple juice = nectar, and doesn't your area have quite an abundance of apples around now?
posted by lakersfan1222 at 6:46 PM on September 28, 2010

Do you eat meat? I too have an overabundance of kale, so I made a batch of this today, and then some kale chips with the leftover raw kale.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:06 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I eat EVERYTHING. Uh, except fruit juice -- carb-moderated diet for insulin resistance. How much apple juice goes into one of those smoothies, though?
posted by KathrynT at 7:07 PM on September 28, 2010

Best answer: In a big deep pot fry up a couple of strips of bacon. When crisp, remove the bacon, leave the bacon fat, toss in an onion chopped roughly, and a few cloves of garlic minced. Chop the bacon and throw it back in. Toss in some minced hot pepper if you like that. Cook until the onions are transparent. Then fill the pot with greens and cook, tossing regularly, until the greens are all wilted. Add a few spoonfuls of soy sauce or balsamic vinegar, and a handful of cherry tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes. Maybe some toasted sesame seeds. Put the lid on the pot, turn the heat to low, cook for 15-20 minutes. Longer if you like the greens well-done, shorter if you don't mind them a little crunchy.
posted by beagle at 7:18 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

I love to quickly wilt chard in olive oil and toss it in pasta. I add pretty much all kinds of different veggies in there.

Oh and I like to dump a ton of greens in fritattas or the like.

Most any other kind of greens, I just cook them southern style, in bacon fat and simmered for hours.
posted by advicepig at 7:24 PM on September 28, 2010

Best answer: I would have said Colcannon immediately if not for the insulin resistance, however--does your diet allow for sweet potatoes? those go well with greens too and it would be a great variation on the standard mashed-potato colcannon. Greens also pair really well with winter squashes, so consider them as a base for those things.

One of my favorite things to do with greens involves blanching them in the water from pasta, then draining them and tossing them with that pasta before serving with sauce, or roasted vegetables--again, your specific dietary needs might not allow for pasta but perhaps there's a pasta sub that does work for you, and one of my favorite things about this trick is that I end up eating a lot of greens and less noodle.

I've never had kale chips around long enough to know whether they store well, but maybe someone else can answer to that. They are just too delicious for me not to eat up all at once.

Greens also float really well in soups of all sorts, especially the hearty root-veg, sausage-laden soups that work so well in the winter months.
posted by padraigin at 7:32 PM on September 28, 2010

Best answer: There's this soup I absolutely love. Saute sliced potatoes, sausage, onions, garlic. Add stock and white wine. Cook till everything's done, add a bunch of kale (I use fresh but frozen would probably work). I MIGHT have TECHNICALLY stolen the basic recipe from a dish I had at Olive Garden, but who cares? It's awesome.

I had a great dish last night in a restaurant which I think was just greens sauted with preserved fish in black bean sauce. You could probably find canned fish in bean sauce at a Chinese market. If you're interested I could go back and try to find out what it was called, but I doubt you'd need many more ingredients beyond greens + can of fish.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:34 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Serve them blanched as a base for turkey meatballs and tomato sauce. A great substitute for pasta, especially if you are on a carb restricted diet. Best part is you can make a big bunch of meatballs and store them in the freezer as well.

My friend also gave me a great easy recipe for greens (I've used kale, but chard would work as well). Cut up sausage of your choice (I use 2 turkey andouille sausages) and saute in a large flat sided saute pan with a lid. When the sausage is cooked, take it out, add some olive oil to the pan, toss in the greens and cover the pan until they are almost wilted. Add a can of cannelli beans and the cooked sausage and heat until warm. Serve with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice (just squeeze a quarter of a lemon over the mix). It's great, filling, tasty, and a really quick meal. Slicing and cooking the sausage is the most time consuming part.

Kale is also great in soups. I just saw a recipe (but can't recall where) for a squash soup (used pureed acorn or butternut), kale, and bacon. Google Portuguese Kale Soup for a hearty soup made with chicken broth, kale, a wide variety of beans, and a spicy sausage (you might not be able to find linguica, but chorizo is a really close substitute).

Now I've made myself hungry! Sadly no one in the DC area is giving away Kale.
posted by kaybdc at 7:41 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh and thanks oinopaponton, I am so making those kale chips this weekend!
posted by kaybdc at 7:42 PM on September 28, 2010

Response by poster: Kaybdc, I'm eating a big bowl (beanless, though) of that portuguese kale soup right now. Made with linguica, no less. It is so fricking good.

Padraigin, it sure does allow for sweet potatoes -- in fact, it allows for nearly anything, as long as I'm careful about portion size. What's your favorite Colcannon recipe? Maybe I can modify it, or just balance my day out so that's where my carbs come from that day.

People keep talking about kale chips, and for some reason I keep handwaving that away as just not my thing, but from talking to all you people it seems like I'm missing out. so it sounds like that's going to be dialed up pretty soon, too.

these all look lovely. . . please keep them coming!
posted by KathrynT at 7:48 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you can get paneer cheese (or if you're feeling adventurous you can make it) sag paneer can be made w/ any mixed cooked greens. Here's a recipe.
posted by JulianDay at 7:56 PM on September 28, 2010

First of all, jealous.

Without checking, I'll first recommend 101 Cookbooks - I feel like leafy greens and grainy grains are her thing.

If might help if we knew what you were making now? But I love chard with white beans and sausage and lots of garlic and if that sounds like something you aren't already making, just say so. I also like to stick a little chard (especially the crunchy stems I often discard in other recipes) in fried rice, but that won't help you much in quantity.
posted by maryr at 8:01 PM on September 28, 2010

Best answer: I cook all greens like so: Heat a blop of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Throw in a sliced clove of garlic. Sautee briefly--don't let it brown! Then add about a cup of water to which you have added some salt, say 1/8 - 1/4 tsp. Bring to boil, then throw in chopped greens. Cover & let them cook down to desired level of sogginess. Delicious! Works with collards, spinach, kale, chard, mustard and beet greens...everything this side of kelp!
posted by scratch at 8:04 PM on September 28, 2010

This is called "black and white salad" because the author makes it with (white) cannellini beans, but I've made it with black beans as well. It's pretty flexible - the main thing is kale + garlic + black or white beans + tomatoes. Garlic and kale is a marriage made in heaven.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:04 PM on September 28, 2010

I make this recipe with Tuscan/lacinato kale and fresh ricotta, and it brings down the house every time. And then I spent the next hour confirming that YES, the kale really is raw. I swear.

We throw greens into tomato sauce all the time. It provides a lot of depth, and now I'm sorry when we don't have greens in the sauce.

I also cook greens on the grill in foil packets. Paint the packets with olive oil, throw some garlic and lemon and herbs in with the greens. They cook fast and pick up some smoke from the grill.

I make a sort of cheater variation of sarson ka saag with my mustard greens.

I've saved a bunch of mustard green stems to use in stock this winter.
posted by desuetude at 8:59 PM on September 28, 2010

Response by poster: The things I'm making now:

the kale soup;
a kale and brown rice gratin;
a thing with Italian sausage, black beans, tomatoes, cumin, and collards;
greens wilted in a pan that's cooked sausage, deglazed with balsamic vinegar;
saag (which I actually haven't made in ages, but should, because I can totally get paneer now);
Bangladesh-style stir-fried mixed greens;
a southeast asian thing that's fish stir-fried with loads of fresh ginger and greens;
a vinegar-wilted raw kale salad;
chicken florentine made with chard.

I've never used mustard greens in stock. How do they turn out?
posted by KathrynT at 9:12 PM on September 28, 2010

One of my absolute favourite easy winter dinners is this, which i've made with kale and with spinach, but i'm sure would work with whatever you have:

Short version: layer sliced potato, cooked greens, and a friend egg.
Long version:
- Slice up a potato, put it on a cookie sheet, and bake. (This is optional, omit it if you are trying to avoid carbs or just aren't very hungry. But its good!) It'll take 10-15 min to get golden and cooked.
- While that's baking, either sautee some greens in skillet (with a bit of garlic, if you like), or, braise the greens with a bit of chicken stock.
- When the potato and greens are cooked, put the potato slices on plate, mound the greens on top
- In the pan where the greens were cooking, fry up an egg. Put the egg on top of the greens. Sprinkle it all with salt and pepper. Add a bit of parmesan if you like. Its DELICIOUS.

I also tend to make a lot of omelettes/frittatas/scrambled eggs with greens.
posted by Kololo at 9:15 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've been wanting to collect my favorite greens recipe for a while so thank you for the motivation! If you haven't already seen it, here is a comment of mine from a previous similar thread for Red Lentil, Orzo, and Swiss Chard soup. I have since discovered that that soup tastes a lot richer if you use about a tablespoon of soy sauce instead of salt.

This recipe for Kale and White Bean Stew is another favorite of mine.

In this Mollie Katzen book there is a recipe for garlicky greens over soft polenta. It is basically greens (I like Kale) lightly sauteed with fresh garlic added near the end of cooking and then served over a polenta very similar to this one but with up to a cup of strong cheese.

In my opinion, slightly braised and then frozen collards hold up very well. I freeze them in one meal portions and then make a simpler version of this recipe when I need a really easy side dish. When I want to make it really simple, I follow the basic method but only use onions, collards, and salt and then add a little bit of apple cider vinegar after cooking.

Finally, here is a recipe for Kale and Red Lentil stew with Indian spices that I have been meaning to type up for a while.

1 cup red lentils
1/3 cup white rice
6 cups veggie broth
1 chopped onion
3 minced garlic cloves
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garam masala
large bowl of kale, destemmed and sliced or chopped
2 carrots, diced

Begin cooking rice, lentils, and stock in a large pot.

Saute onion, garlic, and carrots until onion is almost translucent. Add spices and cook another minute. Add tomatoes and cook another minute or two. Combine with rice and lentils and cook until rice and lentils are done. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add kale and cook until wilted.
posted by horses, of courses at 9:19 PM on September 28, 2010 [4 favorites]

Ooo, I almost forgot about this recipe for Giant Chipotle White Beans. I prefer it with feta cheese and I recommend doubling the amount of tomatoes or it comes out too dry. I also think that it only needs about half a cup of breadcrumbs.

Now I have greens on the brain and will probably come up with a few more recipes that I have forgotten.
posted by horses, of courses at 9:27 PM on September 28, 2010

Augh! My wife is giving away all her best sekrits!
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:28 PM on September 28, 2010

I've never used mustard greens in stock. How do they turn out?

Dunno yet. I was bitching about wasting the mustard green stems and my chef-friend pointed out that they're great in stock (in moderation.) They're in my freezer awaiting the muggy warmth to dissipate before I turn the oven on again.
posted by desuetude at 9:46 PM on September 28, 2010

Kale chopped into thin, nearly pasta-like strands and tossed with rice vinegar and sesame oil. Add some toasted sesame seeds if you got em. Let it sit for a few hours and the kale will 'soften' a little. Or if you use young leaves you can eat it right away. We also love steamed greens with rice vinegar and sesame oil drizzled over them.

(You could get together with the mefite who recently asked what to do with a surplus of tequila... that would be a fun party)
posted by palacewalls at 11:30 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Uhhh.... to clarify, that recipe is for uncooked kale.
posted by palacewalls at 11:31 PM on September 28, 2010

Crispy kale. I serve it as an appetizer, a side dish, use it as a garnish. I have made preschoolers enthusiastic about eating kale. It's like potato chips made out of leafy vegetable. Invest in a handful of really good salt to crumble over it as it comes out of the oven. Crispy kale. Dead simple. Try it.

And if you're still buried in greens and there's a few bunches of parsley in the mix, try making some salsa verde. I use the sub-recipe in this Epicurious recipe, and I vary the herbs and celery leaves with whatever I've got handy - beet greens, sauteed kale, arugula, on the one hand, sage or rosemary or basil or thyme on the other. The only essential ingredient honestly seems to be the anchovies. There's very little that we cook chez gompa that doesn't seem to get better with a dollop of salsa verde.
posted by gompa at 12:39 AM on September 29, 2010

You can use fresh kale or collard leaves as a wrapper for all sorts of fillings (e.g. rice+ground beef).
posted by leigh1 at 12:56 AM on September 29, 2010

Extract chlorophyll for Pasta Verde!
posted by leigh1 at 2:11 AM on September 29, 2010

Boiled kale with fried eggs and toast is pretty much my favorite winter meal ever. So good! I promise, boiling kale is great, not gross.

Madhur Jaffrey has a bunch of good recipes for greens in World Vegetarian. I particularly like chickpeas and swiss chard, but I frequently make it with kale. This looks like a pretty close approximation of her recipe.

Lucky you! It's been a terrible summer for greens in DC.
posted by min at 4:48 AM on September 29, 2010

We eat massive, MASSIVE amounts of greens at our house, and one of our more unusual favorites is this collard green pesto. I imagine many many variations are possible.
posted by juliapangolin at 5:51 PM on September 29, 2010

Only adds a couple of more recipes but the blog The Sweet Beet has a post on The extraordinary power of kale.
posted by kaybdc at 6:30 AM on September 30, 2010

Min, funny, that orangette recipe is exactly where i got the inspiration for braised kale with fried eggs and potato slices. Even better than molly's original, i think!
posted by Kololo at 3:49 PM on September 30, 2010

Response by poster: Y'all, thank you. I marked some best answers, but really, they'er all stupendous. Believe it or not, I wish now that I had frozen MORE greens. . . the share doesn't open again until May, and I'm down to about a month's worth of chard. I have saag paneer cooking right now with spinach, chard, and mustard greens, and I just ate a bite and nearly swooned.
posted by KathrynT at 6:59 PM on February 17, 2011

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