Importance of eating garden green vegetables

Published: Mar. 25, 2018 at 5:06 AM CDT
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Hy-Vee Dietitian Andrea Erickson discusses the importance of including green leafy vegetables in your daily diet and some creative ways to cook with them.

Eating greens is one of the best ways to help your body prevent disease due to the number and variety of vitamins and minerals they offer. Recommendation (average, source: USDA) for greens 1 ½ to 2 cups per week

Common types: Kale, collard greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and turnip greens. They are a staple in the Southern U.S. cuisine. Collards are the oldest leafy green within the cabbage family and were grown by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Cool-season crops but can be grown and harvested all year round.Commonly used as fall and winter vegetables because they grow best in cooler weather and can survive an occasional frosts.

Cooking greens

1.In a Dutch oven, Start with 1 tbsp. olive oil over low heat. Then add 3 minced garlic cloves and ½ cup chopped onion and sauté until tender. Add in 1 cup of red bell pepper chopped up and cook until tender (5-10 minutes). Next stir in 12 cups of chopped collard greens (or green of your choice) along with ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the greens are soft and tender (5-15 minutes).

a.Timing will depend on which greens you choose. Soft Swiss chard will be done first, the hardier greens such as kale and collards, will take longer.

Kale Chips


-1 medium size bunch of kale washed and dried very well

-2 tsp. olive oil

-Pinch or two of slat

-Pinch of garlic powder


1.Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.Wash and dry one bunch of kale, making sure the leaves are completely dry. If there's any moisture left on the leaves you'll end up with soggy kale chips.

3.Rip the leaves off the stems and away from the chewy veins of the kale and into chip-sized pieces.

4.Arrange the pieces of kale on an unlined baking sheet.

5.Drizzle the olive oil as evenly over the kale as possible. Using your hands, gently massage the oil into the kale leaves, making sure to massage the oil well into all the folds and onto the entire surface of each of the kale leaves. At first it may not seem that 2 teaspoons of oil will be enough but adding more oil will only add too much moisture. If you find you need a tiny bit more oil, add it one drop at a time.

6.Once you've finished massaging the kale, sprinkle a pinch or two of sea salt and a pinch of garlic powder over the kale and add the pan to your preheated oven.

7.Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pan, flipping any pieces that are starting to look crispy and bake for another 10-15 minutes, watching the pan closely for the last 7-8 minutes to prevent over browning.

8.Remove the pan from the oven and leave the kale chips on the pan for 3-5 minutes before serving to they can crisp up even more!

Green Smoothie


1 large handful raw greens such as spinach or kale (about 1 cup)

½ medium banana

1 cup frozen fruit

1 cup water or milk


1.Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add more water or milk if desired for a thinner smoothie.

Shrimp and Bok-Choy Stir-Fry


½ pound frozen shrimp, thawed

1 pound bok choy

1 tbsp. canola oil

1 clove garlic, finely minced

½ tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 ½ tbsp. water

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sesame oil

4 cups cooked brown rice


Cook rice according to package directions to make 4 cups.

Trim the end off the stem of the bok choy and separate the leaves.

Clean under running water.

Cut stem into 1" pieces, and the leaves into wide ribbons.

Finely mince garlic and grate fresh ginger.

Add canola oil, sesame oil, and ginger to a cold pan and heat on Medium high heat.

When the herbs become fragrant and just beginning to turn brown, add the stalks of the bok choy and the shrimp.

Toss very well to coat with the oil and cook until stalks are just beginning to get tender, and the shrimp has become pink (about 3 minutes).

Frittata bites with chard, sausage, and feta


Non stick vegetable oil spray

1 12-ounce bunch Swiss chard, stems and center ribs removed

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

8 ounces mild Italian sausage broken into 1 inch pieces

8 large eggs

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ½ ounces)

Fresh Italian parsley leaves


1.Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 8 x 8 x 2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add Swiss chard and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain. Finely chop chard, then place in kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Set chard aside.

2.Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to skillet and sauté until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add sausage and sauté until brown and cooked through, breaking up with fork, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

3.Whisk eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Add chard and cooled sausage mixture, then feta; stir to blend. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.

4.Bake frittata until set in center, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer baking dish to rack and cool frittata 15 to 20 minutes. Place platter atop dish with frittata. Using oven mitts, hold baking dish and platter firmly together and invert frittata onto platter; place another platter atop frittata and invert again so that frittata is right side up. Cut frittata into 20 pieces. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Place frittata pieces on rimmed baking sheet. Cover and chill. Rewarm in 325°F oven until heated through, about 10 minutes.

5.Transfer frittata pieces to platter. Garnish each piece with parsley; serve warm or at room temperature.