Nutrition Bites

Cooking with Greens – Tips & Tricks

By Kelsie White

Cooking with Greens – Tips & Tricks

Nutrition Bites | Week 18

Welcome to Week 18 of Nutrition Bites. This week we are going to focus on the topic of cooking with greens. I am going to discuss the benefits of greens, the different types, ways to use them, cooking tips and then a few of my favorite recipes. Let’s dig in!

Benefits of Greens 

There are so many reasons to include greens in your diet. First of all, they are low in calories and high in nutrients, making them “nutrient-dense.” They are a great source of insoluble fiber, as well as packed with many vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, C, E, K, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. They also contain anti-oxidants and are considered to be an anti-inflammatory food. Dark leafy green vegetables also contain a compound called nitrate, known to help lower blood pressure. For more information on nitrates, check out our article here.

Get to Know Your Greens 

The first step in adding more greens to your diet is to become familiar with the different varieties and the ways that they can be used. Here are a few of the most common greens, some characteristics, and how they are best prepared:

  • Spinach: mild in flavor, very versatile and can be enjoyed raw or cooked.
  • Kale: wide variety of uses. Has a bitter taste that will mellow out with cooking. Can also be eaten raw, but massage with olive oil or use a softer variety.
  • Collard greens: dense and bitter, best if cooked.
  • Swiss chard: sweet and crisp.
  • Mustard greens: the spiciest green.
  • Arugula: has a peppery flavor.
  • Bok choy: can be enjoyed cooked or raw.
Wash and Prep Your Greens

Once you have selected your greens, the next step is to wash and prep them for ease of use and to allow them to keep longer in the fridge. Here are a few steps to follow:

  • Remove any leaves that are starting to go bad.
  • Chop greens if desired.
  • Submerge in cold, clean water for about 5 minutes.
  • Let dry completely before storing in the refrigerator.
  • Store in a container lined with paper towels in the fridge.
  • If you can’t use them up fast enough, throw them into the freezer to add to smoothies or soups!
Ways to Use Greens 

Greens are one of the most versatile foods out there. They can be used fresh, frozen, cooked or raw. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Salads
  • Power bowls
  • Smoothies
  • Tofu scrambles
  • Pizza toppings
  • Sandwiches
  • Burritos
  • Lettuce wraps
  • Soups
  • Stir fry
  • Kale chips
  • Sautéed
  • Blended into sauces
  • Pesto
Cooking Tips

If you want to expand your horizons and eat more than just raw greens, I have a few tips for you to try out while cooking your greens. First is to blanche the greens to remove some of the bitter flavors. This means dropping the greens into a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes, and then immediately submerging them in ice water. I would also recommend using seasonings or low-sodium vegetable broth for cooking to add more flavor. It is also important not to overcook greens, as they can become very mushy. Alternatively, you can also try microwaving or steaming your greens. For more cooking tips, check out this video from

Favorite Recipes

I enjoy using greens in many ways, but I wanted share a few simple recipes that are delicious. The first is for Kale Pesto by the Minimalist Baker. This is a great way to sneak some more kale into your life. Next is a recipe for Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps from Emilie Eats, a favorite recipe in my household. Last is a simple but yummy recipe for Collard Greens from Cookie and Kate.

Weekly Challenge

I hope that after reading this you feel inspired to add some more greens to your meals. This week, I want to challenge you to mix it up and try using a different type of greens. Enjoy!

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