This tasty green side dish packs a powerful punch of nutrients!
Cut the carbs and serve up these easy sautéed greens as a starch substitute. Topped with your favorite protein/sauce combo, this can easily become a new habit. Or, just serve this low-carb dish as a healthy side. Regardless of how and when you eat them, incorporating dark green vegetables into your daily diet is one of the best decisions you can make for your body. Many varieties of greens are available in our markets, but the most popular greens right now are spinach, kale, chard, mustard, turnips, and collard greens.
The Health Benefits Of Greens
Dark leafy greens contain an abundance of vitamins not normally found in other food groups. One serving of kale contains 300% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin K. In addition to maintaining bone density, Vitamin K fights inflammation with the power of a super-hero. Inflammation is the enemy which causes asthma, arthritis, and many problems associated with the gut.
In addition to fighting inflammation, dark leafy greens are fantastic immunity builders. When you eat a lot of greens, you literally block cancer from developing and plaque from growing on your brain. Furthermore, greens are low in calories, carbohydrates, sodium, and cholesterol. A serving of sautéed greens provides enough nutrition for a light lunch or can act as an ample starch substitute. If you’ve taken in too much fat or sweets, greens make a great equalizer.
How To Do Easy Sauteed Greens
Our easy method of brightening color and flavor relies on the good old saute over very high heat. The trick to making vibrant tasty greens is to not let them get soggy. Most importantly, your pan needs to be wide enough to hold a large amount of greens in one level layer. Too many greens packed into a tight space create high levels of moisture. What this means is that your starch substitute is now stew.
Alternatively, too high of heat with too few greens will yield crunchy results. Instead, preheat your pan and warm your oil properly. Once your pan is hot, reduce the heat to medium so that the leaves don’t brown or burn. If you’d like to add aromatics such as ginger, lemon, or garlic, this is the time. After thirty seconds, add the greens.
Quickly turn the greens with tongs or a serving spoon and don’t walk away from them. This only takes a minute or two. Once the greens have wilted and brightened, they are done. You don’t want high heat to char the greens or burn the bits of garlic and ginger. After those bits have cooked sufficiently, squeeze on some acid. Use lemon juice or other acid like balsamic vinegar, apple cider or rice vinegar, or tamari.
Work in batches if you are serving a crew. Otherwise, one large pan should suffice for one to three servings.
Starch Substitute Meal Pairings
We love cooking curry. Since curry typically contains starch heavy potatoes, adding steamed rice beneath it will completely over-carb load. Sometimes, though, we just need some grains to go with that dish. In that case, try making a fusion of greens with your grain of choice.
For instance, a tofu stir-fry would go great with rice noodles or brown rice. Try mixing a half portion of rice with a half portion of greens. The same can go with curry. Say you’d love some farro, barley, or quinoa. Those are all great grains but they can really amp up your carbs. Mixed with greens, your carb intake lowers substantially. Obviously you can also apply this method to pasta as well. Many times the bitter qualities of greens marry very well with sweet, sour, and/or umami flavors. In fact, you might say that they add an unexpected element that is completely called for.
Easy Sautéed Greens
- 2 pounds spinach cleaned and dry
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger optional
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
- Using a large frying pan with a wide base, preheat it on high and add oil.
- Add ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding spinach. Do not go over a minute or they will burn.
- Immediately add the spinach and stir until wilted. The high heat and stirring helps to evaporate water in the spinach so you just end up with wilted, not slimy greens. If desired, drizzle with vinegar or lemon immediately prior to serving.
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