10 Things to Do with All Those Greens in Your CSA

I don’t actually have a regular CSA  this year

kaleIn the past I’ve had a weekly CSA share, and I heartily recommend them to everyone. This year, I can’t quite swing it because of A) my glamorous freelance life (aka, money is tight), and B) my glorious garden. If you’re looking for a great way to bring organic veggies into your life while supporting local business, a CSA share cannot be beat.

It’s no secret that we’re supposed to eat our greens. They supply us with vitamins, and calcium, and folate, and fiber. They protect against some kinds of cancer. They’re good stuff…but sometimes we end up with a lot of them.

I currently have two swiss chard plants, and four red kale plants. Since I cut off the leaves I need and leave the plants growing, I basically have…unlimited chard and kale. While this is a vegan fantasy, it’s also a lot of greens.

So what to do with them? Here are ten, that’s right, ten of my favorite ways to use greens. Again, I mostly use chard and kale, but most ideas are adaptable to spinach, collards, whatever you’ve got around.

  1. Smoothies- Toss a few leaves in, or make it a complete green monster!
  2. Saute- This is what I do more often than not. Tear greens into bite-sized pieces. Saute some garlic and fresh ginger (let’s say 1 clove and a teaspoon, respectively, but who really knows?) in a little oil. Throw in the greens, cook until wilted and soft. Add a good shake of tamari or shoyu and a spoonful of sesame seeds.
  3. Soup- You can fit an astonishing amount of greenery into a pot of minestrone or lentil soup. I’m also looking hungrily at this old-timey kale and potato soup recipe.
  4. Raw- I am actually not thrilled with raw greens, however, I can manage massaged kale in a salad. It’s exactly what it sounds like–tear up kale in bite-sized pieces, add to a balsamic vinaigrette (I don’t think oil-free would be good here) and then…massage it. Squish it around, beat it up a little, rub the oil into it for about two minutes. The texture will change, and suddenly, I will be able to eat it. Add other veggies as desired, I’m fond of sweet potato or butternut squash.
  5. Colcannon-If left to my own devices, I could eat colcannon all winter long. It hits all the right comfort notes–my mom used to make it, it’s Irish in origin, and potatoes feature prominently. It’s also thrifty and delicious. Recipes vary, but basically, stir some kale (or chard, or spinach, I guess) and chopped onion into mashed potatoes, grease a skillet, fill the skillet with the potato mixture, salt and pepper it, and bake it until lightly browned.
  6. Greens and beans–Saute greens with onion and garlic to taste. Throw in a cup or two of cooked navy beans or cannelloni beans, or really, whatever bean you like. Serve over rice or potatoes or pasta.
  7. Steamed– So simple and so reminiscent of old-time hippy vegetarian restaurants. Lightly steam the greens. The ultimate simplicity is to serve with a little vinegar (rice wine is nice) or a squeeze of lemon juice. Fancier takes include adding a dressing like tahini or peanut sauce. For that ultimate “I am a vegetarian in the 70’s” feel, add a bowl of brown rice and baked tofu.
  8.  Greens and tomatoes–Greens and tomatoes are best friends, because the tomatoes Vitamin C makes the iron in the greens easier to absorb (non-vegans probably don’t care about this). Also because they taste good together. Saute your greens with the requisite onion and garlic, add a can of diced tomatoes, and you’re done. Or you can add something proteiny–seitan slices are good here, tofu probably is too.
  9. Chips–This one’s really just for kale, ideally the green curly kind. You can use lacinato, but it will not be the same. Wash the kale, pat it dry, tear into bite-sized pieces. Toss with a little olive oil and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Or just salt and pepper. Or cumin and chile. Whatever you like. Spread them on a greased cookie sheet, or one with parchment paper, and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, or until crispy. Eat like potato chips.
  10. Wrap things in it–If you like raw greens, you may find they make good wrappers in place of tortillas, spring roll wrappers and the like.

What do you do with your greens?

 

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