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A Fresh Approach to Eating

With fall in full swing and the weather getting cooler, it is a great time of year to eat your greens whether you grow them yourself or find a local farmer or farmers’ market who has them! There are so many kinds to choose from with each one with its own distinct flavor and texture. These include chard, collards, spinach kale, arugula, beet, mustard, turnip and even the wild purslane, creasy greens.

Greens are rich in Vitamins K and A, potassium, and fiber. In addition, they are low in calories and each green has its own unique set of nutrition benefits.

In the fall, nothing pairs better with greens than winter squash, the orange and dark green just scream fall! I love this combination in soups, pizzas or mixed in a lasagna! Today, Below, is a risotto recipe that I think that you will enjoy.

Recipe for Eating Your Greens

Rissotto with roasted butternut squash and kale is one of my favorite ways to eat it.

Kale and Butternut Squash Risotto

Makes 4-6 servings

Arborio rice makes this dish soft, creamy and comforting! You will be adding broth to the rice a little bit at a time, this makes the grains soft and thickens the liquid!

1 bunch of kale stemmed and sliced thin.

1 medium, peeled and chopped butternut squash (chop in large pieces)

1 small onion, chopped

2 cup arborio rice

1- tablespoon olive oil

6-8 vegetable broth

1/2 cup white wine

1 teaspoon thyme

Salt to taste

Thirty minutes before starting the risotto, place chopped butternut squash on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil and roast for about 25 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees until starts to caramelize.

Warm the broth in a saucepan over low heat. It should be just barely steaming by the time you start the risotto. In a medium saucepan, begin sautéing onions until soft and then add the rice and let the oil coats each grain.

Begin adding broth 1 cup at a time until it is absorbed by the rice (do not let pan start sticking). Keep adding broth until rice grains become softened and is al dente. Pan will be fairly dry on the bottom.

Add the 1/2 cup of wine and let it absorb. Add the sliced kale and put the lid on until it cooks in the risotto. At the very end add parmesan cheese and toss at the end with the roasted butternut squash.

Here are a more ways for eating your greens


It is fairly mild but it may have a slightly bitter taste for some people. Try it mixed with other ingredients to tone down the bitterness.

Pesto Made From Arugula or Other Greens

4 cups local greens, washed stemmed, torn

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup hard cheese grated

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Recipe from Farm Fresh Nutrition

2. Kale

Has a mild cabbage flavor. Massaging it for a few minutes softens its texture for salads or smoothies. You can use kale to make the risotto along with some butternut squash from my recipe in this blog post for a delicious plant based, farm to table meal!

3. Collards

Have a strong taste and are sturdy to hold together for many cooked variations or even added to a salad. Here is a recipe using collards in a pasta sauce! It is quite tasty!

Pasta with Collard Greens and Onions

This makes a great vegetarian recipe!
One bunch collard greens, stemmed and washed.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, preferably a red onion, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced across the grain
Salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground pepper
8 to 12 ounces pasta, any shape
1/2 cup cooking water from the pasta
1 to 2 ounces grated local blue cheese
2 tablespoons of pecans

Slice collard greens into thin strips. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan with a large lid and add the onion. Cook until it is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes stirring often.

Add collard greens with salt and pepper until greens begin to soften and cook 5 more minutes. Add pinch of salt, red pepper flakes and garlic. Add 1/2 cup water, cover and continue to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the greens are tender.

Taste and adjust seasonings. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Bring the water in the pot to a boil and add the pasta. Before draining the pasta, ladle 1/2 cup of the cooking water from the pot into the frying pan with the collard greens and onions.

Drain the pasta and toss with the greens. Top each serving with blue cheese and pecans to taste.
Yield: 4 servings.

4. Arugula

Has a sweet, peppery flavor. It goes well in a salad or sauteed as a vegetable in salad. Try these using arugula to make one of my favorite holiday salads, the Fall Apple Salad

My favorite holiday salad uses apples!

5. Spinach

Beet Greens

The greens from beets have a sweet and mild flavor so they can be tolerated easily by most people. Here is a beet root and a salad that you can include the beat green.

Spinach Beet and Walnut Salad

spinach salad

6. Mustard Greens

These greens are the strongest tasting, they have a sharp, biting, peppery flavor. Try the greens sauteed in olive oil with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and shredded parmesan cheese.

7. Turnip Greens

Turnip greens are strong but slightly less strong than mustard greens. Turnip greens can work well in a soup that calls for greens! Here is one that mixes well with their flavor by an Asheville food blogger Julie Wunder Kale Tortellini Soup Substitute with Turnip Greens.

8. Lettuce

Although most of us are familiar with eating lettuce, try it in some new ways and eat some different varieties than your usual choice. Make some Asian wraps or a Taco Salad.

9. Purslane

This green often thought of as a yard pest is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Its flavor can be described as a lemony, peppery kick. It is usually picked when it is small and tender. It can be added to salads on a sandwich or stir fried. Here are some additional Purslane recipes.

10. Creasy Greens

This may be considered another garden weed but it is very nutritious and easy to add to your diet. Creasy greens can cook up and be as mild as spinach. When they are eating raw, they have a sweet but pungent taste. Here is a recipe using them for first time eaters: Creasy Green Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette.

11. Cabbage

Although, I think of cabbage and broccoli as Cole crops, they are green and leafy, so I did not want to leave them out. I love its sweet flavor and use it in so many things like salads, soups and stir fries. Check out my apple cabbage slaw for some really tasty eating.

12. Broccoli

Last but not least, let’s hear it for broccoli. These little trees can be sliced thin and sautéed for a broccoli mushroom melt or a stir fry. Eating it raw in salads is a great option also try this Thai Broccoli Salad.

Broccoli salad

Tips to Grow Your Greens

Here are a few tips for growing greens in cold weather
Here are some resources and growing tips for growing greens in the cold weather.

Get to Eating Your Greens

With so many greens, there is so little time, so get to eating your greens! It’s seasonal eating at its finest. As a registered dietitian nutritionist in Asheville, I love sharing quick healthy meal ideas using local produce that will improve your health. To find out a little more about me check out About Denise. As we get closer to the holiday season, I would love to work with you to help you through the challenges when it comes to eating.

If you are looking for additional fall recipes, check out these!

What greens do you like to eat? This post talks about all the ways to get your greens!
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