|Sep. 9th, 2014 09:53 am VeganMofo 2014 #7 - Great greens|
Greens are one of the foods I've included a lot more in my diet in recent years. Unlike just about every other food, there's virtually no disagreement amongst doctors and nutritionists that green vegetables are healthy for everyone and should be included regularly in the diet. Some people who know this but don't like greens try to hide them by blending them into smoothies with fruit or in other ways. But I feature them prominently in the dish.
Overcooked greens is one reason some people don't like the taste. For greens like kale, chard, and collards, I generally steam or sauté them for no more than five minutes. I always remove the stems from kale and collards (and save the kale stems to make vegetable broth), but for chard they can be included in the dish, as in the Happy Herbivore Rainbow Greens recipe pictured above. (It's not online, but available in one of my favorite cookbooks, Everyday Happy Herbivore.)
My volunteer work in gardening has also increased my respect for greens. When we harvest a lot of chard at Alemany Farm, I take a little bit home and often cook it for dinner that very evening. The taste of freshly-harvested chard, sauteéd until just wilted, is incredible. Kale is an even more frequent part of our meals; boyziggy particularly loves it.
I'm glad that through my food justice work I can make greens and other fresh produce available to more people who might not otherwise be able to afford it. It's a serious misconception that poor people - disproportionately people of color - eat a lot of junk food because they don't want anything better. The truth is that, because of food subsidies and other reasons, it's cheaper to buy fast-food meals than to eat healthfully in the US. We've had over 200 people lined up at our Free Farm Stand for our weekly sharings, and they eagerly take the fresh vegetables and fruits we offer, grown in local gardens and/or donated from farmers markets.
This produce, plus inexpensive whole grains and beans, can make very nutritious meals. That's why I've been offering links to vegan recipes alongside my information on ethical veganism at the farm stand. The recipes I share are all freely available online, and feature produce that we frequently share at the farm stand, including kale and other greens. We're revising the web site now, but I hope to have a page up with links to these recipes soon.