posted June 14, 2022
Summer is upon us, my favorite time of year for frosty, frothy, bright green smoothies or juices, and colorful, crunchy, mixed green salads. Yum! There’s no shortage of different options: kale, spinach, collard greens, watercress, beet greens, turnip greens, and chard, just to name a few. But sometimes you want to mix it up, right? And a salad or smoothie just isn’t going to cut it.
Love them a lot, or just a little, there’s no denying that leafy greens are an incredible source of nourishment. The more variety we eat, the better. They’re bursting with nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K, magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, and folate, and don’t forget all the fiber and antioxidants.
So here you have it: 12 fun and fabulous ways to get in those leafy greens, even for dessert. These are just ideas. I guarantee, a simple internet search will yield a variety of drool-worthy recipes in each category.
1. Savory Oat Bake
Switch up your breakfast or brunch and make savory oats instead of sweet! The basics, start by mixing up a bunch of oats with some veggie broth, diced tomatoes, and handfuls of leafy green veggies of choice. Add spices you love, nooch (nutritional yeast), and a sprinkle of vegan parm on top. Then bake it up and serve with toppings of choice. I love salsa and avocado. Delish!
2. Green Muffins or Cupcakes
What?! Have a regular muffin or cupcake recipe that you enjoy? Green it up by adding pureed steamed greens with the wet ingredients of your recipe and proceed as usual.
3. Kale Chips
Yes, yes, we all love a handful of potato chips with our favorite grilled veggie burger. But switch it up and choose kale chips instead!
4. Greener Guacamole
Elevate that already green dip with added nutrients from whatever greens you have on hand. You’ll need to blend it up versus fork-mash it, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
Yes, basil is a leafy green vegetable (did you know?) and it mixes delightfully well with other leafy greens. So go ahead and experiment! Sub another green for half of the basil in your regular pesto recipe. Go wild!
6. Sauces and Soups
This is probably the simplest way to add leafy greens to your meals. Make this pact with yourself, “I will never make a sauce or soup and not add a handful of greens.” Pasta sauces, exotic sauces, stews, chili, and soups of any kind all get leveled up with handfuls of leafy greens.
7. Nice Cream
If you have a hearty blender, whip up dessert treats that nobody will know are filled with green leafy goodness. Play around with about a cup of almond milk, 3-4 cups of ice cubes, a squirt or two of sweetener (agave is great), dribble of almond or coconut extract, a big scoop of avocado, some vanilla powder or vanilla protein powder, and several big handfuls of spinach. Blend it up and put into container to firm up in freezer.
8. Bowl Base
What do I mean by bowl base? Any time you’re creating your favorite grain bowl (or plate), line it with leafy greens before you add your other ingredients. It’ll soon become a habit you’ll not want to break.
There’s no casserole that a few extra handfuls of leafy green veggies won’t go well in. Toss in the greens and mix up as usual.
Ok, I know I said no smoothies, but a smoothie poured into a popsicle mold is no longer a smoothie—it’s a popsicle!
Yes, brownies. Kale (or spinach) brownies are your best bet. Scrumptious! Blend up a few packed cups of greens to add to other wet ingredients and proceed as usual.
I personally love a good tortilla. And I love to stuff it full of leafy greens with some tofu, hummus, and any other veggies. Or forego the tortilla and use the greens as the wrap itself. Collards and mustard greens are great for this.
And…that’s a wrap!
Carol Ray is a Main Street Vegan Academy Master Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator passionate about helping vegans, plant-based eaters, and the veg-curious gain freedom from unhelpful, long-held beliefs that result in problematic eating and alcohol issues.
A Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach with advanced specialization in Emotional Eating Psychology, she uses an anti-diet approach to help clients find their ideal weight. She is also a This Naked Mind Life Coach and Positive Intelligence Mental Fitness Coach, and completed the T. Colin Campbell Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition.
Carol integrates mental fitness into individual and group coaching so clients can train and grow mental muscles in the same way we go to the gym to train our physical muscles!