It’s a Green, Green World: Recipes for a Week’s Worth of Summer Greens

For seasonal eaters in cold climates, the green in the fields is looking pretty good after months of dreary brown and gray. But remember that saying about “too much of a good thing?” That’s what came to mind the last couple weeks at the Farmers Market and when picking up my CSA boxes. Lots and lots of green: spinach, lettuce, bok choy, mizuna, frisee and komatsuna. All gorgeous, all delectable, but all green and all leafy.

In the words of the positive thinkers, this is not a problem but a challenge. So this week will be devoted to some ways I’ve been having a little fun with the plentiful greens of the season:

  • adding some color
  • adding fast flavor
  • adding some texture
  • featuring it in a main dish,
  • cooking it a different way
  • adding substance with proteins or grains

See how the techniques work and you can make up other uses for all your greens.

Sunday’s One Dish Meal: Spinach and Sweet Potato Soft Shell Tacos

Makes 10-12 tostadas

Spinach has renewed appeal when paired with bright orange sweet potatoes and black beans. Make this colorful dish fast enough for weeknights by thinking ahead: Microwave or bake some sweet potatoes one night, but cook extra so you’re set for this dish a couple nights later.

  • 1 large red onion (or yellow), diced to about ½ “
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion and sauté about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

  • 2 tsp. minced garlic (fresh or bottled)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried leaf oregano

Stir into onions, in the order given, and cook just 3-4 minutes, stirring a couple times.

  • 2 med. cooked sweet potatoes (about 1 to 1½ lbs.), peeled and cut into roughly 1” cubes (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1 bunch spinach, stemmed and cut roughly into 2” squares (or 6 to 8-oz. bag pre-washed spinach)
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, undrained (or black soybeans, for a change)

Stir gently into onion mixture, in order given, and simmer on low heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring a few times and adding a little water or broth if necessary to prevent sticking. While filling simmers, assemble desired toppings and place in small bowls:

Optional Toppings:

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced avocado
  • Salsa
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (or goat chevre would be very nice)
  • Sour cream

When filling is done, wrap

  • 10-12 corn tortillas (preferably freshly made)

in a lightly dampened cloth napkin, cheese cloth or tea towel. Microwave 30-60 seconds until soft but not mushy. Serve immediately, placing a tortilla on each plate, topped by about ¾ cup filling. Roll or eat open-faced. Pass optional toppings at the table.

On the side: Plate of jicima sticks and baby carrots, sprinkled with fresh lime and chopped cilantro

Read on for Monday’s Red, White and Greens Stir Fry: Super Simple, Very Versatile


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