Happy St. Patty’s Day: Going for the Green!

Its true, when people say “Happy St. Patty’s Day!” many people think of green, shamrocks, and leprechauns.  This St. Patrick’s Day, I challenge you to go for the green and load up on cruciferous veggies!

Many people may know of cruciferous veggies as kale, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, but in actuality they include many more green veggies than you may think.  What better way to “go for the greens” on St. Patty’s Day, then to learn a bit more about these wonderful, diverse and flavorful veggies.

Overall cruciferous veggies are good sources of fiber, and many contain vitamins K, C, and E, folate, potassium, calcium and many cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory carotenoids.

Let’s take a look at some of my favorite green veggies and a new recipe featuring some yummy greens:

photo credit: Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos Thrifty Market, Palm Bay FL via photopin (license)

Broccoli

Both the stalks and florets of broccoli are nutritious and edible.  When broccoli is cooked, some of its health-promoting nutrients (such as carotenoids) are concentrated.  To get the most benefit from broccoli, it should be steamed or microwaved instead of boiled.

 

 

 

photo credit: Caro Wallis Eat Your Greens via photopin (license)

Brussels Sprouts

These little beauties are excellent sources of fiber and folate.  To minimize their tendency to have a bitter taste, roast or braise them with some olive oil and a dash of sea salt and pepper.  If you prefer to add a little bit of sweetness to their flavor, drizzle them with some honey or maple syrup.

 

 

 

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Kale 

This is a nutrient powerhouse green and chock full of fiber and vitamin K.  In fact, 1 cup cooked kale has the highest level of vitamin K among all foods.  Be sure to select dark green colored bunches and avoid bunches with yellowing or brown leaves.

 

 

 

 

photo credit: gregverdino Bok Choy via photopin (license)

Bok Choy

One of my favorites for stir-fry, bok choy is calcium rich in both the green leaves and white stalks.  It also does well in soups.  Its texture adds a nice crunch to salads.  Be sure to enjoy this green in various ways to boost your intake of vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, iron, potassium and manganese.

 

 

 

 

Arugula

If you are looking to add a peppery taste to your salads, consider adding arugula. This is a powerhouse green because it is a good source for vitamins A, C, and K, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese. This is a popular green added to salad blends or pizzas.  Be sure to look for bright, crisp green leaves when purchasing arugula from the store.  This green also does well in sautes.

 

 

 

 

Mustard Greens

These hearty leaves are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K.  Since their flavor is quite strong, many people prefer them cooked.  Some great ways to cook mustard greens is with splash of olive oil while sauteing or braising the leaves.  Add a bit of chicken broth and garlic and you will have a tasty and flavorful side to your main entrée.  These greens also do well in curries and soups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: wayneandwax funny cabbage via photopin (license)

Cabbage

The most commonly known cabbage is green cabbage, but it also comes in purple-red or crinkle textured (Napa) varieties. This green is a good source of fiber, thiamine, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked.  When cabbage is fermented, such as in sauerkraut, it actually provides probiotic benefits for your gut flora.

 

 

 

For a refreshing meal on St. Patty’s Day that is high in anti-inflammatory nutrients and chock full of greens, try out this delicious salad with salmon.

Sweet Citrus Salmon Salad

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of arugula and baby kale spring mix greens
  • 8 to 10 ounces wild-caught or canned salmon, cooked
  • 1 cucumber, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 large avocado chopped into small pieces
  • Juice of 1 medium orange.
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • Sea salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. Flake salmon into a medium bowl (if using canned salmon, drain any excess water before flaking it)
  2. Stir in cucumber, avocado, orange juice, basil, and salt
  3. Place 1 cup of salmon mixture on top of 2 cups of arugula and baby kale spring mix greens
  4. Enjoy!

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