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My Favorite, Not so Basic, Greens to Eat

When it comes to leafy greens, most of us rely on the basics like romaine, leaf lettuce and spinach week after week - and while all of these provide health benefits, there is a huge selection of leafy greens in the produce aisle that you could potentially be missing! Shaking things up can help keep things fun and interesting in the kitchen while also diversifying your nutrient intake.

We’ve all heard that it’s important to eat those green vegetables and we have to say, that age-old recommendation has merit! Leafy green vegetables are a total nutrition powerhouse providing plant-based calcium, iron and magnesium, plus vitamins A, C and K (vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting and bone health).

If you don’t like the taste of one variety, chances are you can find an alternative. It might also be a matter of preparation method, so don’t hesitate to do some experimenting. Here are some of my favorites along with simple ways you can try incorporating them into your regular rotation:


Swapping arugula for romaine is a great way to spice up a salad (literally!). This leafy green has a peppery bite and delicate texture. It pairs perfectly with a light citrus vinaigrette and some shaved parmesan cheese (aka - the ultimate no hassle dinner side salad). Arugula is a cruciferous vegetable, like its cousins broccoli and cauliflower, and therefore has added disease-preventative effects.

Lacinato Kale

You might already be familiar with traditional “curly” kale that has become a grocery store staple in recent years. Lacinato or “dino” kale is the one that has a long flat leaf with a bumpy texture and newer to the scene. Add it to your favorite soup or stew near the end of cooking time for a pop of bright green color and an extra element of texture. Cooking kale mellows its bitter flavor, so a quick sauté in some olive oil with a bit of lemon juice is a delicious way to enjoy this nutrient powerhouse.

Swiss Chard

This leafy green typically has a gorgeous bright pink or yellow stem. They are beautiful growing in gardens or large pots; I plant them every year! The stems are full of nutrition so chop them and sauté first with some onion and garlic for an amazing side dish [we’ve been known to add in some chickpeas for a plant-focused meal.] The leaves are delicate like spinach and cook up quickly. The first time I had chard, was at a lovely breakfast café in Portland, OR served with fried eggs, roasted beets, and a cup of steamy, dark French Roast coffee. I’ve loved chard ever since!

Bok Choy

Bok Choy is a type of Chinese cabbage with a bright white stem surrounded by dark green leaves. It’s most commonly used in Asian cuisines including stir-fries and soups like ramen, but feel free to add it to salads and slaws. My family loves this simple recipe:

Sweet and Crunchy Bok Choy


  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil or coconut oil

  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 Tablespoon ginger root, peeled and minced

  • 2 bunches bok choy, rinsed and chopped

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut aminos (or tamari)

  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1/3 cup cashews, chopped

Optional protein toppings: baked tofu, cooked sliced chicken, garbanzo beans

Tip: Napa Cabbage can be used in place of bok choy


  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.

  2. Sautee garlic and ginger for 1 minute.

  3. Add Bok choy and stir fry for 3-5 minutes.

  4. Lower heat and add coconut aminos, toasted sesame oil, and optional protein.

  5. Top with cashews. Serve and enjoy!

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