Nutritious leafy greens star in main courses

July 17, 2013 

Rich in vitamins and fiber and low in calories and fat, leafy greens are finally being promoted from side-salad status to the main-course plate.

"The Leafy Greens Cookbook" features more than 100 recipes where greens play staring roles and offers an introduction to 20 varieties of greens. Besides listing what to look for when purchasing greens, the book lists which are highest in vitamins and nutrients.

Recipes include Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breast Wrapped in Bacon, Pork-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, Spinach and Potato Pierogies, Roasted Radicchio and Mushrooms with Pasta, Arugula Pesto, Kale Chips and Southern-Style Collards with Red Beans and Rice.

The American Cancer Society recommends eating 2 1/2 cups of vegetables with vibrant colors each day. In particular, cruciferous greens such as arugula, cabbage, brussels sprouts, watercress and broccoli rabe have been shown to have cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties.

The trade paper book retails for $15.95 from Ulysses Press.

This recipe for Watercress and Herb Sauce pairs well with seafood but it also goes well with chicken. It takes just 15 minutes to prepare.

Watercress and Herb Sauce over Salmon

Serves 4

2 cups packed watercress, large stems removed

10 large basil leaves

1 cup packed parsley

2 cloves garlic

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

½ cup water

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 pound salmon, cut into 4 pieces

Salt and pepper

2 scallions, diced (optional)

In a blender, combine the watercress, basil, parsley, garlic, ½ cup olive oil, water and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pat the salmon dry and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper.

In a skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil until it shimmers. Gently place the salmon in the pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, depending on thickness, on each side, or until desired doneness.

Plate each piece of salmon and top with watercress sauce. If desired, garnish with scallions.

The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week, and the cooked salmon for up to 3 days.

Endive and Apple Salad

The endive mellows with this acidic dressing and the sweetness of the apples.

Serves 4

Dressing:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

½ tablespoon orange juice

½ teaspoon honey

Dash of salt

Salad:

¼ cup unsalted pecans

2 small heads Belgian endive, chopped

1 cup packed arugula

1 medium Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced

¼ dried cherries or cranberries

1 ounce crumbled goat cheese (optional)

To make the dressing, whisk together the oil, vinegar, juice, and honey in a small bowl. Season with salt. In a small dry sauté pan over medium heat, toast the pecans, stirring constantly, until they're fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. remove from the heat and let cool. Mix together the endive, arugula, apple, and cherries or cranberries in a medium bowl. toss with the dressing. Top with the toasted pecans and goat cheese, if using.

Pomegranate-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans

A great side for Thanksgiving, this dish only takes about 15 minutes to prepare and is kid-friendly. The glaze is a little sweet and tangy, and the pecans offer a nice crunch.

Serves 4

1 cup pomegranate juice

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 small onion, diced

1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered

Salt and pepper

¼ cup chopped pecans

In a small pot, simmer the pomegranate juice and balsamic vinegar until it has reduced to ¼ cup. remove the reduction from the heat and stir in the honey. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil until it shimmers. add the onion and cook until it begins to become translucent, about 2 minutes. add the brussels sprouts and cook, stirring often, until they begin to soften and can be pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes.

In a small dry skillet, toast the pecans until they begin to turn golden and smell nutty, about 2 minutes. remove from the heat. pour the pomegranate reduction over the cooked brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and top with the toasted pecans.

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