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January 20, 2012 at 4:48 PMComments: 4 Faves: 0

Leafy Green Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a Snack!

By Jessica Corwin MPH RDN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Dietitian's Dish Blog Series

We have all heard that we should eat more leafy greens, but how often are you told HOW to eat leafy greens? Outside of the traditional salad, what other ways do you incorporate these incredible disease fighters into your diet?

If you are drawing a blank, you have come to the right place!

Greens are frequently touted as a super-food as they are chock-full of folate, magnesium, calcium, vitamin K, carotenoids, and other incredible nutrients known to fight disease and inflammation. Truly, any chance you get to add greens to your meals, you are doing body good by filling it with the green goodness found in spinach, kale, swiss chard, turnip greens, or watercress.

To help you get started, here are a few tips and tricks to include more of these veggies in your day, whether breakfast, lunch, snack, or dinner. These quick and simple recipes are aimed to open your mind (and taste buds) to the surprisingly delicious taste of this nutritious food.

Breakfast: Mean Green Smoothie

You could pay $5 for it at your local health food digs OR you could make it yourself for a fraction of the price!

Ingredients: 5 ice cubes, ½ cup water, 4 oz. blueberry yogurt, 1 banana, cut into chunks, Handful of berries, Handful of spinach, 1 TBSP ground flax seed (optional), 2 TBSP wheat germ (optional)

Instructions: 1. In a blender, add ice and water first, then continue with remaining ingredients. 2. Blend, serve, and enjoy this quick and easy meal on the go, knowing that you already managed to squeeze in 3 servings of fruits and veggies for the day!

Lunch: Fresh Cottage Salad

Both your eyes and your tastebuds will delight in this colorful bowl!

Ingredients: 2 cups baby kale (or whatever leafy green you have on hand), ¼ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped, ½ cup fresh berries or ¼ cup dried fruit, 2 TBSP goat cheese crumbles, 2 TBSP white balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp honey

Instructions: 1.Combine greens, nuts, and berries. Toss. 2.Top with cheese, vinegar, honey, and enjoy!

Dinner: Pasta Fresca Con Spinaci

A surprising and delightful twist on a classic favorite. It's a whole family pleaser!

Ingredients (Serves 6): 1 box whole grain rotini pasta,1 large can Italian diced tomatoes, 1 container of fresh spinach leaves, 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, 1 cup Feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, to taste (optional)

Instructions: 1. Prepare noodles according to package directions. 2.In a large sauté pan, add cooked pasta, tomatoes, and spinach over medium low heat. Cook until spinach has wilted and ingredients are heated through. Top with feta cheese. (Parmesan can be added to individual servings if desired).  3.Serve and enjoy!

Snack: Salt and Pepper Kale Chips

Kale chips satisfy cravings for salt and crisp - without hurting your diet!

Ingredients (Serves 4): 1 bunch (about 6 ounces) kale, 1 TBSP olive oil, Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions: 1.Preheat oven to 300°F. Wash kale under cool running water; rinse and dry well. Remove the stems and tough center ribs. 2. Cut into chip-size pieces and place into a large Tupperware bowl with a lid. Add olive oil and a light sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices you would like to try. Cover container and shake until oil and seasonings have been evenly distributed. 3. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool. 4. Serve on a platter to share with the whole family!

Cook one up and let me know what you think! OR better yet, I would love to hear your own favorite meal ideas for squeezing in more greens into your diet! We can all help to inspire one another. :)

Photo Credit:

David Ramalho, Choconancy1, DoubleGrande, cproppe, Christaface

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4 Comments

  • I LOVE spinach!

    I've found almost any little bit of leftovers can be made into a substantial work lunch with the addition of a good portion of frozen spinach!

    Little bit of left over cooked peppers, onions and tomatoes from burritos last night + frozen spinach & sriracha = mexican greens

    Cup of leftover oil and herb pasta with peas + frozen spinach & veggie broth= delicious soup

    Fastest easiest lunch to put together: frozen spinach + black beans + tofu cubes + salsa

    When I have a bit more time, I mix frozen spinach in with egg - so it's about half and half - and I cook that up to use as "meat" in a sandwich or wrap.

    :)

  • Kale chips are the best! I recently got a juicer, and I'm planning to give it a workout tonight. Maybe I'll throw some kale in the mix :)

  • Laura, good luck with your juicer! I'm sticking with smoothies for now as I just can't get over the loss of that good-for-you fiber found with juicers. What is the first recipe you are going to try? Were you, like so many others, inspired by some of the incredible documentaries out there?

    Erin, fabulous recipe ideas! I have only tried a twist of your 'fastest easiest lunch', though I also add in corn kernels as I am a HUGE fan of corn with Mexican dishes. Thanks for sharing! I am also a big spinach fan and if you ever pop in for a visit, you will surely find these nutritious greens in both freezer and fridge :)

  • Kale chips are great! I'd never heard of kale until this year (Sad, I know!). I bought my first one and decided to make some kale chips. They were delicious. :)

    That green smoothie looks great too, I will have to try it! Thanks for another great blog, Jessica.

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