5 Ways to Up Your Greens Game

By: Merritt Watts
All Star Sides Spr1

All Star Sides Spr1

Greens in A White Dish on A Green Tablecloth

©Food Stylist: Simon Andrews Prop Stylist: Marcus Hay

Food Stylist: Simon Andrews Prop Stylist: Marcus Hay

Greens that taste amazing? You better be-leaf it! These healthy, delicious sides will upgrade any main dish, assuming they don't steal the show first. Consider these takes on spinach, collards and kale the healthiest way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Creamed Spinach (above)

Okay, the term "creamed" is used lightly here, in every sense: Instead of actual cream, a blend of low-fat milk and evaporated milk makes for a rich spinach dish that's just as satisfying as the original. Enjoy it alongside a seared top round for a guilt-free take on a steakhouse fave.

Kale may get all the glory these days, but collard greens are just as nutrient-dense as those other scene-stealing leafy divas. Give collards a little love by braising them with onions and broth for a bit, then enjoy the meltingly tender result alongside baked chicken or pork tenderloin. (Kale better watch its back.)

COLLARD_GREENS_017.tif

COLLARD_GREENS_017.tif

Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

Antonis Achilleos Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

But speaking of kale ... in a world of kale chips, kale smoothies and kale wraps, it takes a certain amount of bold conviction to serve something as simple as sauteed kale. This beyond-easy recipe makes a strong case for getting back to basics: It’s brightened up with a dash of vinegar at the very last minute, which changes everything. Try it alongside lean pork chops.

Bobby_Flay_Fit_Sauteed_Kale

Bobby_Flay_Fit_Sauteed_Kale

Bobby Flay's Sauteed Kale

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Just when you thought spinach couldn't get any better for you, it meets up with  fiber- and protein-rich chickpeas and -- voilà! -- a veritable superfood smorgasbord is born. Serve this alongside a simple roast chicken for a healthy dinner that's delicious, not dutiful.

CHICKPEAS_SPINACH_011.tif

CHICKPEAS_SPINACH_011.tif

Food stylist: Jamie Kim Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

If the last time you saw green beans was in your Thanksgiving casserole, it's time to rethink your side dish situation. Bring the beans back into rotation with this recipe: It doubles down on green goodness thanks to a guest appearance from kale, gets a savory boost from mushrooms and finishes strong with flavor-packed staples like red pepper flakes, fresh lemon and Parmesan cheese.

Merritt Watts is a writer and eater in San Francisco, where strawberries are almost always in season.

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