Edible leaves of plants may have different names. Casually we call them “pot-herbs”, and normally “salad greens”. But more officially, “leaf vegetables” is the worthiest name for them.
As culinary vegetables, these leafy greens include more than 1000 different species. Can you imagine a salad with this many ingredients?
Of course, most of them wouldn’t be enjoyed by us humans. That is because of the high fiber content. No one wants to munch on a pile of grass with clover and alfalfa. On the other hand, a good sauce might fix it. But let’s turn to more traditional ways of cooking the greens.
Our greens are not only for salads
Firstly, we need to face one thing: we don’t know what to do with our greens! More often than not, our poor leafy vegetables slowly wilt in a crisper drawer. We watch them die shyly, averting our eyes from them as we reach for another piece of chicken or a tomato.
But we must change our relationship. First of all, leafy vegetables are not only suitable for salads (though it’s admittedly one of the best options).
Take rocket as an example. It’s a great peppery, sharp addition to your lunch. But it can also be chopped and added straight to your creamy pasta or tomato bruschetta.
What about cabbage leaves? Usually, we chop, salt, and mix them with shredded carrots to get sauerkraut. But there’s so much more to it.
The famous Russian specialty
Not only can you add cabbage to soups or stews, but it can be stuffed. Let us introduce the famous Russian dish called golubtsi. Stuffed cabbage leaves with onion, rice, and mincemeat. It is served with hot sauce and sour cream.
This hot cabbage prep can knock you off with the flavour and taste.
Other leafy greens are waiting in your fridge
Another frequent guest on our fridge drawers is lettuce. There are different subspecies with thin, crisp, curled, or serrated leaves folded into a head. Mostly they are eaten raw but can be used in many other ways. Try to sauté them with olive oil and garlic. Or stir fry with sesame oil, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and spices.
Now it’s Kale’s turn. This green often appears in smoothies and chips. Kale has that aura of ‘greenness and rawness’. And one of the best ways to eat it is actually cooking it in a pan.
Cook the greens in some olive oil, sliced garlic, and red pepper flakes until the kale starts to wilt. At this stage, add the chicken stock and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Then pour a splash of cream into the hearty broth. That is truly one of the greatest ways to have your kale.