Spring is the perfect time to add mixed greens to your plate and palate. There are many varieties of mixed greens that are grown in Vermont – from spinach and arugula to bib and red oak leaf lettuces.
Mixed Greens: Nutrition
Mixed greens are a great source of vitamins A and C, and the darker greens are especially good sources of folate and antioxidants.
Growing Mixed Greens
These tender lettuces and other greens grow best in cooler weather before the sun gets too strong and the temperature really begins to rise. When grown in the middle of the summer, greens can become more bitter and tough. Greens don’t take up much space in the garden, and they like the shadier spots that you may want to avoid with other crops, making them a great addition to any backyard plot.
Whether you grow them yourself, get them in a CSA or just buy them at the store, you’ll be amazed at the variety of tastes and the amount of flavor that fresh spring greens provide. Arugula can be quite peppery and even spicy while pea shoots are sweet and mild. Fresh spinach – which has more iron by weight than beef – has a lovely deep earthy flavor and soft texture while frisee is slightly bitter and crunchy. With all the unique flavors the different varieties provide, its no wonder that mixed greens have become a salad staple.
But salads are just the beginning!
There are so many uses for greens and ways to include them in your daily meals. Try making a pesto with arugula or baby kale for a tangier sauce with a little more bite. Top a pizza fresh out of the oven with arugula or spinach and let the greens wilt just a bit while the pizza cools enough to enjoy. Use mixed greens in scrambled eggs, omelettes or a quick frittata to add texture and nutrition. Using different greens in place of your usual lettuce on sandwiches and wraps can also be a nice change of flavor.
Spring Greens Pesto
- 3/4cupwalnuts or almonds
- 1 1/2cupspacked greens
- 1small garlic clove, peeled
- 1/3cupolive oil
- 1/2cupgrated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Place nuts, greens, and garlic in a food processor and blend until everything is finely chopped. Scrap down sides of the bowl and process again.
- Add parmesan cheese and, with the motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream. When the pesto looks saucy, stop adding oil.
- Turn off food processor. Mix in salt and pepper, to taste.
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