In the short days of winter, dark leafy greens are at their best: celebrate the beauty of kale, collard greens, chard and more in nutrient-packed dishes.
Dark leafy greens are particularly rich in vitamins A, C and K. Collards, mustard greens and escarole are also excellent sources of folate, important for women of child-bearing age. You may have avoided these nutritious greens in the past because of their bitter reputations, but when you pair them with judicious amounts of intensely flavorful ingredients—like feta cheese, bacon and walnuts—it is easy to balance their bitterness. Now is the time to celebrate the dark side this winter and welcome these beautiful greens into your kitchen.
Most winter greens are sold in bunches—the exception is escarole, which grows in a lettucelike head. Look for fresh, crisp, brightly colored greens; avoid those that are wilted or blemished. Wash greens well as dirt likes to hide in their nooks and crannies. Fill your sink with lots of cold water and let them soak for a bit, give them a swish, then dry them in a salad spinner. Though all of the stems are edible, we prefer to use only chard and beet stems, discarding the tough stems of collards, kale and mustard greens. If you do choose to use the stems, keep them separate when prepping and cook them for 3 to 5 minutes longer than the leaves.