Insider’s Viewpoint: Winter Greens
Think summer is the only season to celebrate greens? Think again! Hearty winter greens are packed with nutrition and widely available in your local supermarket. Pick up some of these very versatile greens and add them to your plate today.
7 Versatile Winter Greens
The next time you prepare beets hang on to those greens! While we commonly discard them and only prepare the root of this uniquely delicious vegetable, the greens offer a variety of nutrients that we shouldn’t be passing up such as vitamins A and C. Look for firm, fresh greens still attached to the root. With a mild taste similar to kale, beet greens can be enjoyed raw in a salad, sautéed, braised or steamed.
Think parsley is just a garnish to add color and spice to your dish? Think again! Add a cup of parsley to your dish and you are turning that dish into a good source of iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, K and folate. Parsley can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, from a marinade or spice rub to an ingredient in just about any dish, sauce or dressing.
Mild tasting spinach is perfect for almost any dish. Rich in vitamins K, A, folate and potassium, spinach can be used to boost the nutrition of smoothies, eggs, wraps or soup or finely chopped and added to your next casserole, meat loaf or veggie patty.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers watercress a top “powerhouse vegetable.” Loaded with fiber, antioxidants and minerals, watercress offers 100% of the daily value for many of the nutrients we are seeking for our healthful diet. Use watercress in a variety of ways from a simple, yet flavorful addition to a sandwich or salad to sautéed, steamed or cooked in a variety of dishes.
Next time you are in the produce department, pick up some fresh, green, firm mustard greens. Packed with vitamin A, folic acid, potassium and calcium…and a peppery bite that will add unique flavor to your dish!
If you’re seeking potassium, look toward versatile endive. Endive adds a bitter crunch to salad and is a healthful (gluten free) alternative to crackers for a unique appetizer. Try it grilled or roasted to create a vegetarian side to round out your meal or even stuffed to become your meal!. This fiber-rich vegetable helps maintain proper digestion and promotes health with vitamins B, C and K as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and folate.
What may look like a weed in your lawn is actually a green loaded with vitamins A, C, K and B (B1, B2, B6) as well as minerals like calcium and iron, plus fiber. Look for crisp, flat leaves to add a peppery taste to your salad, soup or other dishes. Dandelion greens are enjoyed the most when they are paired and cooked well with a flavorful vinaigrette, garlic, and other desirable flavors and ingredients to diminish some of the bitterness.
Allison J. Stowell MS,RD,CDN