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Greens don’t have to be boring!

November 12, 2011

What is the one superfood that is extremely low in calories, loaded with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium and even some protein? Kale! Too bad the western diet overlooks greens because they nurture yet cleanse our bodies with micro-minerals that you can’t get with any other foods. Michael Pollan, author of “In Defense of Food” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” is my food hero. There is a particular chapter the first book where he talks about the importance of greens, as an amazing source of not only vitamins and minerals, but of omega 3s as well. He says that humans can live on greens alone because they contain so much nutrition. He also talks about how our ancestors knew just what foods to combine to make sure the nutrients are absorbed that much better by our bodies. Braised greens are a perfect example of how my Middle Eastern ancestors knew best. In this case, the bitter greens like kale, a rich source of iron, are paired with lemon juice. The vitamin C in the lemons assists with iron absorption, and takes out the bitterness of the greens.

Almond crusted cod on a bed of French lentils and sauteed kale and onions

The traditional way to prepare greens the Middle Eastern style  is simply to chop and sauté an onion in olive oil until translucent. I also like to use garlic flavored olive oil for extra flavor. Add the chopped kale (or whatever other green you prefer, like chard or mustard greens) a little water, and stir until wilted. Season the greens with a little salt. Then add the juice of one lemon on the top and they are ready to serve. The greens make a delicious filling in pita bread paired with hummus or feta cheese, or as a side dish with fish or chicken. You can also mix these greens with pasta and parmesan cheese for a main course. In the photo above, I mixed the greens with some precooked French lentils I picked up from the produce section of Trader Joe’s. Then I added some almond meal crusted cod on top, and dinner is done!

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