Leafy Greens Different Ways

By Laura Miller | February 1, 2022
Image by kumpolstock
by Laura Miller
February 1, 2022

My husband and I differ in our preferences of leafy green vegetables. He leans toward those with a bitter flavor, while I prefer sweet ones. Luckily, there are many types of leafy greens we can grow in our garden. And believe me, I’ve tried many of them.

My Favorite Green Leafy Veggies to Grow

As a child, salad was a must-have side dish every night at dinner. And during the gardening season, my parents would grow a range of lettuce varieties from the very sweet to the bitter. I’m sure this is how my distaste for bitter types of green leafy vegetables got its start. 

Never quite being able to discern the torn up bitter leaflets of lettuce from the sweet ones turned every mouthful of salad into a game of flavor roulette. The young child that was me relished the end of lettuce season and the return of store-bought iceberg.

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve outgrown the flavorless heads of iceberg. For years, my favorite lettuce variety was Romaine. These dark green leafy veggies were sweet and crunchy. They fulfilled all my lettuce needs from salads to sandwich toppings. 

Awesome Salad Kits

This all changed with the commercial production of chopped salad kits. Who knew that salads made with fresh cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts and chicory would not only be super convenient, but a delicious break from the standard lettuce-based salad.

These kits were an immediate hit with me. Suddenly, I was adding various types of leafy greens to my own homemade salads. No leafy green veggies were off limits. Even ones that I’d never liked, such as Endive or those I’d always despised, like kale. If it was edible, it went in the salad. 

Then I made another fascinating discovery.

Another Use for Leafy Green Vegetables

After my husband’s transplant surgery, he was put on a drug regimen designed to reduce his immune response and thwart rejection of this new organ. Along with a mile-long list of medications, he was given specific dietary instructions. 

For the first six months, fresh types of green leafy vegetables were off-limits due to possible contamination by organisms like E coli. But it didn’t take long for me to miss my leafy green veggies. At first, I would simply make a salad kit for myself and hubby would have a cooked veggie. I didn’t feel guilty knowing full well that he had never been much of a salad fan in the past.

Yet, the heart always wants what it can’t have. Soon even hubby was lamenting the no-fresh-leafy-green-vegetables rule. Not wanting to rub it in, I too gave up fresh leafy green veggies. Not wanting the last remaining salad kit to go to waste, I cut open the bag and stir-fried the greens for dinner. Discarding the dressing, I sprinkled the enclosed salad toppings on the cooked veggies before serving and WOW!

I’m not sure why I was surprised how delicious cooked leafy green veggies could be. Perhaps because I had never previously mixed and chopped such a variety of greens for pan-frying. Perhaps, it was the flavorful crunch of the seeds, crouton and dried fruit topping. But one thing is for sure.

Whenever we open our minds to new ways of preparing different types of green leafy vegetables, we open the door to amazing new flavor palates. And that’s certainly less boring than a lettuce-based salad for dinner every night.

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