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Don’t Overlook These 3 Green Leafies

When it comes to greens, the two adjectives to keep in mind are dark and leafy. Green leafies are the most concentrated source of nutrition compared head to head and calorie to calorie with most any food in your diet. It’s the dark color that provides the clues that phytonutrients called flavonoids are close by, and flavonoids have disease fighting properties in spades.

We know from many sources, including Dr. James Joseph’s The Color Code that eating a diet rich in vibrant colors offers outstanding protection against disease. Dark, leafy greens have cancer-protective properties, are found to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and have great value for those with type 2 diabetes. Putting dark, leafy greens on your plate means not only are you getting important phytonutrients, you’ll be getting a wealth of beneficial nutrients such as vitamin K, iron, and calcium. Best of all, greens comes in a low calorie package.

If your goal is to eat like a caveman  consider this: our cave dwelling ancestors would graze all day on greens, regularly taking in six pounds of leaves per day! It makes getting our 3 cups a day seem a little more achievable. It’s especially easy if you seek out variety. Noticing lots of lettuce on your plate? Is broccoli a mainstay that’s a getting a little too reliable? Get some greens with more gusto! Start by giving these emerald envoys of excellent health a chance.

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli rabe (rhymes with bob) may have the broccoli moniker but it’s really a turnip. Despite its clusters of broccoli-like flowers among its spiky leaves, it hails from the turnip family and has a flavor to prove it.  Broccoli rabe is an extremely nutritious vegetable that is high in phytochemicals that help the body defend itself against some cancers, and it has the deep green color that we look for when we eat across the colors of the rainbow.

Broccoli rabe is remarkably versatile, too. Its distinctive taste makes it perfect for certain pairings, particularly salty, sweet or acidic foods. Garlic is a popular pairing as is sausage, olives, and tangy veggies like tomatoes and vinegars. It makes a nice addition to many meat and seafood dishes, and even makes brings out the beauty of a pizza.

For truly ingratiating rabe, start here:
Broccoli Rabe And Mushroom Frittata With Grape Tomato Salsa
Broccoli Rabe, Fennel, And Hot Sausage Pizza

Beet Greens

Beet greens are a beloved veggie-top all by themselves, and as part of the beet, they provide a nutritious twofer: you’ll be extracting two dishes from one veggie, and get maximum economical benefit. Mild and sweet, thanks to their natural sugars, they appeal to almost everyone, including kids that may balk at more daring greens.

Beet greens pass the fabulous food test because they are nutritious, delicious, and can be part of your diet in many capacities, including a simple sauté in olive oil, or tossed in a fresh salad. Some beet greens found in grocery stores can be tough and fibrous, so blanching in hot water is required. For use uncooked, consider removing the center, tougher ribs of the leaves and just eat the outer leaves. At farmer’s markets or packaged especially for salads, every inch of the beet green is generally tender and lovely.

Enjoy beet greens with goat cheese, an early summer favorite.
Try them cooked as a side dish.
Delve into this unique beet green pasta.


When you hear the term “leafy greens”, think kale. Kale is a beloved green that may remind you of cabbage. In fact, kale is part of the cabbage family, and is sometimes even referred to as “black cabbage”.  You know what that dark hue means: it’s packed with vitamins, fiber, calcium and iron and it has huge antioxidant capacity. It’s also a low-calorie way to get big nutrients.

You may be familiar with the supermarket’s curly kale that features ruffled leaves, but you’ll enjoy seeking out some other possibilities at farmer’s markets in an array of blackish, plum-red and purplish colors. Flavors range from somewhat bitter to sweet, so find one you like. It will be worth it for punch of nutrition it packs.

Because this green can be a bit tougher than others, it’s not a good choice for tossing in a salad, but it’s perfect for a soup or a stir fry. Kale can also be simmered for long periods (yielding a delicious liquor for sipping or sopping with bread) or blanched and sautéed in olive oil. Try kale in omelets, or braised or sautéed with onions and garlic. And if you can’t put it on pizza (you can!), then hey, what’s the point?

Get started with Roasted Kale, and go green with Kale Pesto.

Happy Eating!

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