I absolutely love my colorful salads and green smoothies, but as chilly weather creeps in, so do my cravings for warm and hearty winter-friendly meals.
Since I want to be sure to nourish my body with the healing nutrients and antioxidants that are abundant in green vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, chard, arugula, asparagus, and watercress, I make sure to find creative ways to get my daily dose of greens during sweater season. Here are a few of my favorite greens-packed meals to help me stay cozy on brisk autumn days and cold wintery nights.
Green soups are basically the cold-weather version of green smoothies. The options are virtually endless! Whether you fancy creamy asparagus, fresh spinach, or bold broccoli, it is easy to pack tons of greens into a warm and steamy cup of soup. All you have to do is steam or sauté your greens, along with aromatic vegetables like onions, garlic, celery, or carrots, until soft and then blend until smooth with an immersion blender or a high-powered blender like a BlendTec or Vitamix. You can keep it simple or spice it up by adding lemon, cayenne, chickpeas, and brown rice like in this delicious recipe from Cookie and Kate.
Greens-Stuffed Grilled Sandwich
Either as an accompaniment to your soup or all on its own, a toasty sandwich is the perfect vehicle for a hefty helping of nutrient-rich greens. I love to pile cucumbers, avocado, sprouts, and arugula onto a piece of gluten-free or sprouted grain toast, but if you’re in the mood for something a little more decadent, you can have your greens and lots of flavor, too, with this green goddess grilled cheese recipe courtesy of Tastespotting. It packs a double dose of greens by including fresh spinach and a fresh pesto sauce full of kale and parsley.
Helpful hint: If you’re short on time, skip the freshly made pesto and simply mix a teaspoon of spirulina or your favorite greens powder into your condiment of choice to create an antioxidant-rich sandwich spread!
Sauteed or Roasted Greens
One of the easiest ways to get your greens in is to simply sauté or roast them. One of my favorite ways to get my kale fix is to add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a bunch of kale that has been ribbed, cut, washed, and dried. I toss it with whatever spices I’m in the mood for — garlic, sea salt, and cayenne add a nice touch of warming heat — and then either sauté it in a skillet for several minutes or roast it in the oven like Ina Garten, does.
Heartier cruciferous greens like broccoli and brussels sprouts can be prepared the same way. Just increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and roast for 15 or 40 minutes, respectively, to make a scrumptious dish that will nourish your friends and family during those holiday season gatherings.
So keep calm, stay warm, and don’t let the cold weather keep you from eating your greens.
Photo credit: Sophie Jaffe