As we march through Spring, past the asparagus and the strawberries, waiting patiently for zucchini canoes and tomato globes, we find ourselves in the months of greens. At our house, it begins with kale and spinach — those cold-hardiest of veggies. We often have an early crop of lettuce, too, thanks to our trusty cold frame.
This year, the Swiss chard and beet greens followed, along with a lovely mix of arugula and mustard and a new crop of lettuce that’s too small to amount to much as of yet.
Unlike the weeks of cucumbers or the months of tomatoes, though, each succession of greens moves through pretty quick. My husband and I are watching the fickle Spring weather — a few hot days and our kale all begins to bolt, a few cooler, rainy days and we buy ourselves a little time. We’re never sure how much of a harvest we’re going to get — once the greens start going, there’s nothing that can be done — but we’re trying to work it to our favor.
Last weekend we pulled out the Swiss chard. We brought several overstuffed bags into the fridge and we’ve been eating from them ever since: Swiss chard as the “lettuce” in our salads, sautéed chard with onions, garlic and cilantro in our quesadillas, chard on our homemade pizza and wilted chard stirred into our Alfredo-topped penne.
I know this isn’t how grocery-store shoppers eat. Folks create a menu, with an eye on sales flyers and what the weather will make appetizing and mixing up old standbys with new flavors. But when you’re eating out of your garden — or farmers market or from a CSA — your ingredients are dictated by factors outside of what you might feel like eating on any given night. Like, it’s kale week or arugula week or Swiss chard week. And every night, you will find a way to eat those foods.
Which, honestly, I really love. You can’t so much get in a cooking rut if someone is switching up what you’ve got to cook with each week or two, right? My quick dinner go-tos might be pretty standard — pasta, Mexican, homemade pizza, pork chops-plus, some kind of egg dish — but they’re always tasting new with a fresh lineup of starring veggies.
Truthfully, that’s one of my goals for this blog/newsletter: helping families find a way to eat what’s in their gardens or at their farmers markets or in their CSAs. If I share the recipes I’m making, then you might be empowered to eat more local food wherever you are.
So, in the spirit of making local eating easier, here are 10 links to my favorite kale-spinach-chard recipes. Whatever greens are growing where you are, hopefully these recipes will inspire you to eat them.
- Kale chips or sautéed kale
- Greens and roasted veggies
- Arugula salad
- Add spinach/kale/chard ribbons to this pasta salad
- Swap out the broccoli and celery for greens in this bulgar wheat salad
- Rice, tofu, greens and mushrooms make this a delicious one-dish meal
- Stir fries are great for subbing any veggie
- This Hoppin John is a great way to stir up some kale or chard
- Tips for how to add garden veggies and herbs to your pasta
- Spinach quiche, of course
Here’s hoping you have a glorious greens week, too!
Before I go, a quick head’s up about the next few weeks. I’ll take next week off from the newsletter and when I return a post to inspire your camping cuisine as summer gets under way.
You can also find this post at Virginia Bloggers Friday Favorites.