Yes, sautéed spinach is fabulous. Kale chips are fun. A crisp Romaine salad is especially refreshing on a hot day. But the health benefits of leafy greens are numerous, and to eat more of them you’ll have to think outside the produce box and get creative with those nutrient-dense leafy greens. Check out these tips for a variety of greens, including bok choy, mustard greens, chard, kale, spinach and beet greens.
• Add chopped or sliced greens to spring and summer soups for the last 30 seconds of cooking.
• Drizzle warm balsamic vinaigrette over green leaves to wilt (warm the vinaigrette in the microwave).
• Fill steamed leaves with fresh mozzarella cheese and slices of fresh tomato or roasted red peppers and roll up; drizzle with olive oil before serving.
• Stuff leafy greens into breakfast sandwiches (egg, cheese and ham with whole grain bread, bagels or pita pockets).
• Top whole-grain tortillas with tomato sauce, shredded greens and shredded mozzarella cheese; bake in a 400 degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes; top with Parmesan cheese just before serving.
• Add chopped greens to cheese fillings for lasagna, baked ziti and homemade ravioli, or stir the leaves into tomato sauce and warm for a few minutes before serving.
• Add chopped greens to scrambled eggs, omelets and quiches.
• Stir chopped greens into fried rice dishes for the last few minutes of cooking.
• Add chopped leaves (and the stalks of bok choy) to Asian-inspired stir fries.
• Stuff greens into whole roasting chickens before cooking.
• Add chopped greens to braising liquids for chicken, beef and pork for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
• Add shredded greens to cole slaw mixes.
• Nestle shredded greens into tacos instead of lettuce.
• Stuff softened spring roll wrappers with shredded greens, rice, shredded carrots, green onions and cilantro before rolling up; serve with soy sauce for dunking.
• Pound chicken breasts until 1/2-inch thick; spread herbed cheese over chicken and top with chopped greens; roll up, secure with a toothpick or two and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.