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  • Marie Belzile-Davidson, MS, RDN, LD

Five Greens to Eat Now!

It is finally fall! In the greater Cleveland area, it seems like summer clocked out RIGHT at the official start of fall. While the leaves are turning and the weather is cooler, this is still a time of harvest. Many green vegetables are still in season past summer/into fall. So while soups, stews, and all the warm hearty foods are starting to make their seasonal comeback, do not forget to add in some leafy greens.

Most of us are familiar with classic greens like spinach and romaine lettuce, but there is a massive selection of leafy greens to choose from. Eating a variety of plants not only keeps meals and snacks interesting, but also helps provide our bodies with the many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients they need. Here is just a small sample of the micronutrients you can get from eating a variety of leafy greens: calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

Here is another bonus about eating a variety of leafy greens - not all leafy greens taste the same. If you have had one kind and thought, eh, that flavor is not for me, do not discount all other leafy greens. They each have their own unique flavor and can serve a variety of purposes in meals and snacks.

Here are a few not-so-common leafy greens and easy ways you can start incorporating them into your fall feasts.


Want an easy way to spice up a salad? Swap arugula for romaine. This leafy green offers a subtle peppery flavor and soft texture. It pairs nicely with a light citrus vinaigrette and holds up well with other additions like your favorite protein, nuts, and roasted root vegetables. Arugula is part of the cruciferous family (other members include broccoli and cauliflower) so it can provide some of the disease-preventing properties that this family of plants is famous for.

The recipes below include:

  • Non-Dairy Arugula Pesto

  • Fall Wild Rice Salad with Arugula

  • Roasted Squash Salad with Lime Dressing

Arugula Recipes
Download PDF • 675KB

Lacinato Kale

This variety of kale goes by many names - Italian kale, dinosaur kale Tuscan kale, etc. Unlike traditional kale that is crimped, this variety has long flat leaves with a bumpy texture. It holds up well to cooking so do not be afraid to add it to your favorite soup or stew to add some color and texture. Cooking the kale mellows the slightly bitter flavor it has so this can be an easy way to help picky eaters try something new. You can also quickly sauté it with some olive oil and lemon juice for an easy side dish. You can use this variety of kale in place of traditional kale in any recipe.

The recipes below include:

  • Garlicky Kale with Chickpeas

  • Tuscan Kale Stew

  • Kale Sweet Potato Curry

Kale Recipes
Download PDF • 418KB

Swiss Chard

This leafy green is not just green, it typically has vibrant pink or yellow stems. The large size of the leaves means they can work well as a swap for tortillas when making a hummus and vegetable wrap (or whatever other kind of wrap you like). You can also chop it up and sauté it with olive oil, diced onions, and minced garlic for a savory side dish. The stems are edible and filled with nutrients (including fiber) so chop them up and add them to whatever dish you add the leaves to.

The recipes below include:

  • Swiss chard Frittata

  • Peruvian Chickpea and Chard Stew

  • Italian Tempeh "Sausage" with Chard and Beans

Chard Recipes
Download PDF • 496KB


Here is another member of the cruciferous family. This leafy green features long stems with small, circular leaves. Watercress is more delicate than some other leafy greens so while it may not hold up well to cooking in stews, it makes a great sandwich topper or salad. It has a bright, peppery taste that dose not require much more than a bit of vinegar and olive oil for dressing. Watercress is not a common ingredient in a lot of recipes but that does not mean you need to shy away from it - use it as a substitute in any recipe that calls for raw or lightly cooked leafy greens, including the ones below.

The recipes below include:

  • Sheet Pan Dijon Salmon with Watercress

  • Brown Rice Pasta with Arugula and Garlic (sub in watercress)

  • Chicken Paillard with Arugula (sub in watercress)

Watercress Recipes
Download PDF • 501KB

Bok Choy

This leafy green is a type of Chinese cabbage. It comes in little bundles of bright white stems that transition into dark green leaves. It is commonly used in Asian cuisine and goes well in recipes like stir-fries and ramen. Bok choy is more versatile than that though - you can also use it in salads and slaws. A quick way to prepare it is quartering each bok choy bundle, placing the pieces on a lined sheet pan, tossing it all with some avocado oil, grated ginger, and salt, then popping it in the oven at 350 F until it has softened.

The recipes below include:

  • Quick Lemon Ginger Bok Choy

  • Apple Bok Choy Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

  • Sheet Pan Wasabi Salmon, Bok Choy, and Cabbage

Bok Choy Recipes
Download PDF • 472KB

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