Ask Addie: With all these greens, why does kale get all the love?

Swiss chard is one of many leafy greens you can saute or serve raw. Photo by Clare Miers.
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Swiss chard is one of many leafy greens you can saute or serve raw. Photo by Clare Miers.

Note: This post is part of an occasional Q&A series called Ask Addie. Have a question about food? Email me at abroyles@statesman.com or ask me on social media.

Swiss chard is one of many leafy greens you can saute or serve raw. Photo by Clare Miers.

Swiss chard is one of many leafy greens you can saute or serve raw. Photo by Clare Miers.

As of late, as I wander the produce aisles at my grocery, I have noticed an ocean of kale that continues to expand, and seemingly at the expense of other types of greens. Mustard, collard and — my beloved — turnip greens are increasingly difficult to find. They may seem old-fashioned and staid, but surely they are nutritionally competitive with the trendy kale, and I submit that their gustatory value easily surpasses that of kale, which I think must admit to inadequacy without the support of any condiment. But that is just my opinion.

Anyway, I thought I might suggest that you might consider reminding your readers of the pleasures of these forgotten treasures, and thereby cause my grocer to make them more readily available to me.

Thank you and best regards,
Charles Whitley

I have also noticed kale overflowing from the product section these days, even though it’s the middle of summer and kale is technically out of season.

Because of its incredible popularity, you can now buy kale bagged, bunched or shredded and ready for salad fixings just about any month of the year. The other greens you mentioned are more prolific in stores during the cold weather months, but if you can find other dark greens right now, you can use them in place of kale in just about any recipe that calls for the Trendy Green instead of Your Favorite Green.

Kale doesn’t have as much calcium and iron as mustard and collard greens and Swiss chard, but to be honest, if you’re eating leafy, hearty greens like these, it doesn’t really matter which has more antioxidants or minerals or protein than the others. All of them are going to provide much-needed nutrients and fiber in your diet that you won’t get from lighter salad greens, such as lettuce.

To incorporate more of these dark greens into your salads or sautés, start with a little and slowly incorporate more as you get used to the taste. You might need more sauces and spices at first, too, to help your palate adjust to their often intense, earthy taste, but you can’t start liking them unless you start trying.

Personally, I’m looking forward to getting chard, kale and collard seeds sprouting this month, so I can plant them in my newly revived vegetable garden as soon as the triple digits cease. Unlike the hot summer months when I can’t keep anything edible alive, during fall and winter, I don’t have to buy any greens — salad or dark — because they are so easy and economical to grow.

Collard Greens with Roasted Peanuts from Whole Foods Market. Photo from Whole Foods.

Collard Greens with Roasted Peanuts from Whole Foods Market. Photo from Whole Foods.

Collard Greens with Roasted Peanuts

Roasted peanuts add a rich and toasted note to these pan-sautéed collard greens, made with red onions, garlic and dried chiles.

2 small dried chiles, such as arbol chiles, stemmed, or 1/2 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 bunches collard greens (about 1 1/4 lb. total), ribs removed, leaves chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
3/4 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
Hot sauce, such as Tabasco (optional)

In a large, deep skillet, toast chiles over medium-high heat until a shade darker and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add oil, onion and garlic; cook, stirring often while breaking open chiles with a wooden spoon. Once chiles are golden brown and softened, about 6 to 8 minutes, add collard greens in batches; toss gently, and then cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together broth, peanut butter and salt. Uncover the skillet, reduce heat to medium, stir in broth mixture and continue to cook, tossing often, until greens are tender and very wilted, about 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat and toss with peanuts. Serve with hot sauce to dash over the top, if you like. Serves six.

— From Whole Foods Market


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