Healthy and Delicious Spring Greens

Flavorful, garden-fresh spring greens pack a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, and with minimal calories.

| April/May 2012

  • The young, tender leaves of arugula are delicately sweet, with a buttery-smooth texture and subtle peppery taste accented by nutty undertones.
    Photo by CGissemann
  • Similar to a cross between chard and spinach, beet greens have a sweet, mild flavor, cook quickly and offer a wide range of culinary versatility.
    Photo by Zigzag Mountain Art
  • Asian greens is a group of tasty greens that vary from buttery to crisp and mild to spicy.
    Photo by Elena Elisseeva
  • A cabbage-family member, collards are mild and somewhat buttery in texture, with fan-like leaves broader than kale.
    Photo by Vinicius Tupinamba
  • A close cousin to the sunflower, dandelions are somewhat bitter, similar to escarole or chicory.
    Photo by DUSAN ZIDAR
  • The flavor of kale, a relative to cabbage, has a slightly bitter taste with a pinch of peppery qualities.
    Photo by MnemosyneM
  • An integral part of Southern cuisine, mustard greens have a pungent and peppery edge, with flavor accents of horseradish and mustard.
    Photo by design56
  • Spinach, with its subtle, rich flavor and buttery texture, requires little preparation and can be steamed or sautéed in a matter of minutes.
    Photo by Komar Maria
  • Whether used fresh in salads, cooked in soups, mixed into stir-fries, served as side dishes or enjoyed as part of a main course, make spring greens a regular part of your diet.
    Photo by pav197lin
  • The beautiful vegetable chard has large, thick green leaves, colored veins, and stalks that vary in color from white, red, yellow or orange.
    Photo by sarsmis

From mellow to pungent, fresh and flavorful leafy spring greens are rising to superstar status as some of the most nutritionally packed powerhouse foods of the vegetable world. Calorie for calorie, these leafy vegetables are some of the most vitamin-rich foods available.

Healthy Spring Recipes

Vegetarian Lasagna with Spinach Recipe
Arugula and Asian Greens Salad with Bacon Dressing Recipe
Homemade Minestrone Soup Recipe
Asparagus, Mustard Greens and Kale Stir-Fry Recipe
Simple Spring Greens and Radish Sauté Recipe
Mango Spinach Salad Recipe 

For tips on how to grow spring greens, see Fresh Clips: Growing Salad Greens.

Greens such as kale, chard and spinach contain a cornucopia of vitamins and minerals that include vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium. “Greens offer plenty of calcium along with a balanced mineral support (magnesium, potassium and zinc) that can be tolerated by anyone,” says Jaclyn Chasse, N.D., owner/director of Northeast Integrative Medicine in New Hampshire.

Leafy spring greens also contain dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids along with an arsenal of phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. And while they pack in the nutrition, they do so with precious few calories: raw greens contain 10 to 25 calories per cup; cooked greens have 20 to 50 calories per cup, depending on the type of green. They are a calorie bargain, so you can eat lots with no worries.

Whether used fresh in salads, cooked in soups, mixed into stir-fries, served as side dishes or enjoyed as part of a main course, make greens a regular part of your diet. A few minutes is all you need to transform these leaves into a tasty dish worthy of a place at your dining table.

4/25/2013 7:24:54 AM

The article on spring greens is great, but my favorite use for Kale isn't mentioned-fresh juice.  For a newbie to juicing, try three organic apples, 6-8 stalks of Kale and one unpeeled organic lemon.  Refreshing, delicious and packed with good stuff for you! Sunshine in a glass.

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