Enough is enough! Holiday bingeing has been a blast, and you've had more Christmas cookies than you care to think about. It's time to get yourself back on track -- and what better way to ring in the new year than with some healthy winter greens?
Leafy greens are a New Year's staple in the south, where they're said to represent a profitable new year. While we can see the resemblance between the big green leaves and America's famous greenbacks, there are a lot of even better reasons why you should be putting leafy greens on your table this New Year. Here are five of our favorites along with our favorite ways to prepare them -- get inspired by these tasty winter greens recipes!
1. Collard Greens
Collard greens are a Southern classic -- if there are greens on a Southern New Year's table, 9 times out of 10, it'll be collards. But why are the Southern states such a fan of this particular leafy green? Not only have they been around for centuries in the American South, but they're one of the healthiest green veggies out there. A good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber, they're also anti carcinogenic with diindolymethane and sulfuraphane; the former is also an antiviral and an antibacterial. What more could you ask for in flu season?
Our Favorite Collard Green Recipes:
- Southern-style collard greens, the standby classic
- 5-minute collard greens: move over kale salad -- there's a new quick and easy leafy green recipe in town
- Sautéed collard greens and garlic, with the added antifungal and antibacterial properties of garlic to boot
- Collard green gratin, turn these greens into a complete meal to feed the whole family
The darling of the vegetable world may have had its moment in the sun, but just because kale isn't quite as trendy as it was a few years ago is no reason to forget about this member of the brassica family! Kale is just as tasty raw as cooked, and of course has a host of health benefits, notably being high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium.
Our Favorite Kale Recipes
- Creamy vegetarian pasta with kale and butternut squash, for a tasty comfort food full of flavor and nutrients
- Protein-packed vegan lentil soup with kale, warming, rich in protein, and filled with vitamins
- Kale and portobello lasagna, a little bit unique and the perfect way for kale to make its kitchen comeback
Seaweed is far from merely a sushi wrapper -- wakame is a tasty, deep-sea treat that adds many much-needed minerals to the plate including magnesium, iodine, calcium, and iron, not to mention vitamins A, C, E, K, D, and B2. A health powerhouse and tasty to boot! Wakame is traditionally used in Japanese and Korean cuisine, but there are lots of different ways you can prepare it.
Our Favorite Wakame Recipes:
- Vegan bone broth for tasty, healthful, warming winter soups
- Wakame and cucumber salad, for a tasty lunchtime bento
- Soba noodles with shrimp and wakame: a tasty evening meal for the whole family
- Korean beef-seaweed soup, a post-pregnancy staple in traditional Korean food for replenishing vital vitamins and minerals
Who could forget the old standby, spinach? We love baby spinach in the spring, but in the winter, leafy green spinach is perfect for cooking into a myriad of dishes, always lending a bright green color and a minerally flavor. It's rich in vitamins A, C and K as well as magnesium, folate and iron.
- Baked squash and spinach salad for a warm, seasonal salad full of brightness and flavor
- Green power bliss smoothie makes a great breakfast or snack
- Fresh and seasonal spinach spanikopita are great for sneaking veggies onto picky plates
- Saag paneer: a spicy curry you'll want to double -- everyone will want seconds!
5. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens may not be familiar to all, but these pungent, peppery leaves are well worth a taste. A fellow cruciferous veggie along with kale and collards, mustard greens boast many of the same properties as these more familiar leafy greens, but they also have nearly as many glucosinates as Brussels sprouts.
- Simple sautéed mustard greens will teach you to recognized and appreciate their peppery flavor
- Indian-style mustard greens, featuring a unique combo of cornmeal, hot pepper and red onion. A flavorful dish!
- Spicy mustard green pesto -- the perfect stand-in for basil in cooler months
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