Looking to eat leafy greens outside of just a salad? Here are our top delicious recipes that load on the leafy greens, from soup to curry to pizza to hummus.
It’s winter and we’re focusing on adding immunity-boosting dark leafy greens in every way we can: spinach, kale, chard, and arugula. And guess what? You don’t just need to eat salad to eat your leafy greens. We’ve made a habit of throwing handfuls of leafy greens into soups, stews, pizzas, sandwiches, you name it! After our latest recipe featuring leafy greens (quinoa fried rice), we decided to provide a few more examples of recipes that put our leafy greens obsession into practice. While salads and nourish bowls are perfect ways to get your leafy greens, we try to get creative by loading them in any place we can. Here are our favorite ways to eat leafy greens, outside of a salad!
Most fried rice recipes don’t feature baby kale, spinach and chard, but this one does! Here we’ve used quinoa as an alternative to the traditional rice, and loaded in the expected fried rice flavors: garlic, ginger, and soy. It’s a hearty and unexpected way to eat leafy greens.
Usually Alex and I throw handfuls of leafy greens into pasta and stir for a minute or so until it wilts down. Here’s a fancier way to add leafy greens to pasta: as vegetarian meatballs! This one is a recipe from one of our favorite cookbook authors, Izy Hossack. We made and photographed this recipe from her book The Savvy Cook in the summer, so we added some beautiful tomatoes. Now that it’s winter, we’d make it without the tomatoes for a cozy, wintery vibe.
One of our most popular recipes to date, grilled cheese might not qualify as hardcore health food. However, if you’re in the mood for one, why not throw in some nutritious leafy greens? This sandwich is a take on the popular dip and tastes just as good (or better). Made at home with quality ingredients, it has a big leg up on takeout or processed options.
Stews and soups are our favorite place to eat leafy greens. You can throw a handful of leafy greens into almost any soup to add beautiful color and nutrients. This stew is one of our most popular and a big favorite in our family. It features Tuscan kale, but you could also substitute handfuls of spinach or other baby greens. Another delicious option: our Tuscan Soup with White Beans that tastes like liquid pizza.
A natural place to eat leafy greens are smoothies; they go down easy when combined with some natural sweetness! Alex and I are obsessed with this sweet-tart green apple smoothie and make it all the time. In fact, we don’t have a lot of other favorite green smoothies, so this one gets a lot of play time in our house. It’s quick and easy to whip up, and full of nutrients.
When I said we throw handfuls of leafy greens in soups and stews: I’m not kidding. We do it all the time. And a curry is just another variation on the theme! This intriguingly-spiced curry is full of nourishing vegetables and gets rave reviews from readers. We added spinach for a pop of green color and additional nutrients. It wilts down in no time.
Yes, you can absolutely eat leafy greens while dipping into your favorite dip! This green hummus is a tasty way to get more leafy greens: dip it with pita wedges or other green veggies. And side benefit: a reader mentioned that she uses this as an alternative to guacamole since she has an avocado allergy. Genius!
Casseroles are another way to eat leafy greens: they wilt into the texture and add nutrients without eaters even realizing it! This casserole is a play on the popular dip (another riff on Number 3), instead adding red rice as a nourishing whole grain. It’s a cozy main dish that we love making in the cooler months.
Throwing handfuls of leafy greens into quiches and frittatas is another great way to eat your greens. This spinach quiche is from our friend Andrea’s cookbook Dishing Up the Dirt. It features a naturally-gluten free almond crust that’s packed with flavor. This recipe gets rave reviews from everyone who’s tried it out: it’s perfect for an elegant brunch or cozy dinner.
And finally, pizza. These naan pizzas are actually vegan, spread with hummus and drizzled with a tahini miso sauce. The toppings: nutrient-dense kale, along with some broccoli, green onion, artichoke, and radish. They’re visually stunning and bursting with flavor: a healthier take on the traditional gooey pizza.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.