Take your tastebuds around the world!

Eat the rainbow. Have you heard this expression? It means to look at your plate like a canvas, and paint it with as many different jewel-toned vegetables and fruits as possible. The deep and varied color means nutrient-density, rich antioxidants and phytochemicals, which protect and repair our bodies from daily wear and tear.

Vegetables are ALWAYS a good idea! The thing is, even when we know something is good for us and that we should eat it, it’s not always that simple. I have learned that the only way we’re going to eat things that are good for us is if they taste great. So, how do you get to YUM? Let me show you with dark leafy greens, which are the tops when it comes to nutritional benefits. They are simple and quick to sauté and with the following tips they will be so delicious. You won’t say, “I should”, but “I want” to eat this!

Here are some tips to build balanced flavor when making sautéed greens:

  1. Always accompany greens with a healthy fat. The fat plays two important roles: carrier of flavor and as an aid to absorb the multitude of nutrients. The phytonutrients and fat-soluble vitamins (A and K) contained in dark leafy greens are best absorbed by the body via a tablespoon or two of healthy fats -- olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, and butter.
  2.  Aromatics. Onions, shallots and leeks add plenty of flavor on their own. Sauté stirring frequently for at least 2 minutes to unlock their sweetness. The longer you let them cook, the sweeter they will become, as their natural sugars begin to caramelize. You can simply use one of these aromatics and call it a day (see Basic Sautéed Greens). This is the foundation to more flavor and YUM! But why stop there?
  3. Herbs & Spices. Stir in dry spices, fresh ginger or garlic to the onions for about a minute. Fresh herbs should be added in the last minute or as a garnish. Spices and herbs are your passport to a host of cuisines that reach across the globe.
  4. A mountain of greens. Don’t be intimidated by the huge mound of greens in your pan! Use tongs to move them around the pan and they will melt down by at least half.
  5. Taste and Balance. Taste the cooked greens. Greens can be bitter, but that bitterness can be counterbalanced with something bright and acidic like a spritz of lemon juice or small splash of vinegar. Taste again. Do you need another pinch of salt to really bring out the flavor?
  6. Sweet. To fine tune that balance, a little sweet can help. That might be a few drops of grade A dark maple syrup (yes, as few as 3 or 4 drops will make a huge difference) or a garnish of chopped dates or raisins.
  7. Crunch. Wilted greens lose some texture as they reduce down, so adding toasted nuts or seeds before serving can bring that much needed and satisfying crunchy texture.

Use these tips with this month’s recipe, 6 Ways to Sauté Dark Leafy Greens! Let your taste buds travel and go get those greens!

Cook’s Notes:

Other flavorful ways to eat more greens:

Rebecca’s Kitchen: Eat the Rainbow