For a long time, I thought that the “dark, leafy greens” experts kept recommending included lettuces like green leaf and romaine. Then, one day, I discovered the truth.
And I died a little inside.
Kale, mustard greens, collard greens, and chard make up that group of super-foods. I’m a pretty adventurous eater, a lover of vegetables, but my heart did not leap at the prospect of kale. Nevertheless, I dutifully bought the offending vegetation and prepared it the best way I knew how.
I vowed never to do it again.
Then I had a brilliant idea. I tripped down to Whole Foods. “Who would know how to prepare better kale than Whole Foods?” I thought. I bought a pint-sized portion.
First bite–a little bitter.
Second bite–what is that terrible aftertaste?
Third bite–shuddering, revulsion.
I threw down my spoon. Kale and I clearly did not have a future together. I felt so vehement about this that I shared my frustration with my roommate. “Susan,” I bitterly reported, “I just can’t do it. I can’t do kale. I know it’s healthy. I know I need to eat it. But I can’t.” So much for my liver detox efforts.
Fast-forward two years: I was now a lot sicker and a lot more desperate. I was consuming one of the world’s most restricted diets (at least, it felt that way), and more vegetational variety was starting to sound heavenly. Besides, my naturopath confirmed that dark, leafy greens are invaluable in achieving true health and wellness.
Again, I timidly approached the kale at the grocery store. In remembrance of my previous dismal failure, I looked up some recipes this time. Success! Kale, it turns out, is delicious. Who knew?
What did I do wrong before? I have no idea. I think now that maybe I just got a bad bunch. What did Whole Foods do wrong? Good grief! I have no idea, but that was some bad kale. The good news is that kale really is fabulous when you prepare it well. I now love, love, LOVE it. It has become a staple in our diets, and my husband and I eat some kind of dark, leafy greens almost every day. Currently, during their peak growing season, I can buy them for $1 a bunch every Saturday at our farmers’ market.
If you, like me, have ever struggled to find a place in your diet for those dark, leafy greens, stay tuned. I’m going to share some of my favorite ways to prepare these nutritional superstars over the next few days. No, these aren’t earth-shattering ideas; they’re all very simple. But if you’re stuck scratching your head over a pile of collard greens or kale, these humble recipes just might help jump-start your own creativity.