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I know I’m a Southern girl, but I have never liked sauteed greens. Collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, yadda yadda yadda — I’ve always found them to be too mushy. But ’tis the season for nice, hearty greens, and while I’ve enjoyed adding them to soups and stews all winter, it does get old.

I’ve been staring at a large bunch of chard in my fridge for a few days and decided to attempt my own version of sauteed greens. I also had some beets with their greensĀ  still attached, and while I’d never tried beet greens, I’d heard that they cook up much like chard or kale so I thought I’d toss them into the pile.

The result? Delicious, even for a long-time sauteed-green hater like myself! The secret is to not cook them too long (I still don’t think I’m ever going to eat plain braised greens) and serve them atop a bed of a hearty whole grain, like quinoa or brown rice, which adds texture. To make this a main meal, I added a link of sliced homemade vegan sausage, but it would still make a tasty side without it. You could also add regular Italian sausage for a non-veggie version.

Italian-style greens with vegan sausage

1 lb hearty greens, such as chard, beet greens, or collards
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup diced onion
1 tsp fennel seed
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
1 link vegan sausage, thinly sliced

Rinse greens really, really well (they hide a lot of dirt) and remove tough stalks. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add onion and cook for five minutes, until almost translucent. Add fennel, red pepper, and garlic, and sautee for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. You want the garlic to just begin to brown.

Add greens, salt, and pepper and sautee 2-3 minutes, just until greens begin to soften. Add broth and sausage, stir well, and cook for 5-7 more minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked off and the greens are tender but not mushy.

Makes about 2 servings.

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