I’m such a fan of Asian greens. They have a tendency to be overshadowed by their ever-popular cousin kale, but I think they deserve their own spot in the nutrient-dense limelight. My father shares my opinion and always grew a wide variety of Asian greens, like bok choy and tatsoi, in our garden while I was growing up. He used to tell me that the secret to longevity was eating your greens. I believed him at the time, but have grown even more passionate about these dark green leafies now that I fully understand their nutritional benefits.
Green vegetables (especially the leafies!) are the most commonly missing food in our modern diet. This is particularly disappointing because they pack a serious nutritional punch. Green leafies are one of the most nutrient dense foods out there – they are filled with antioxidants and phytonutrients, as well as iron, zinc, calcium, protein, folate, phosphorous, and magnesium. They have been used in traditional cultures to support vitality, renewal, and refreshment. Modern science has discovered direct links between increased intake of green vegetables and reduction in cancer and heart disease. At the same time, they help increase the number of health gut bacteria, boost immunity, and support strong circulation. Have I convinced you that greens deserve a prime spot on your table yet?
Asian Greens with Ginger Garlic Sauce Ingredients (serves 4):
2 large bunches of leafy greens – bok choy, tatsoi, Asian spinach, napa cabbage, mizuna etc.
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
4 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp Bragg’s liquid aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Directions (15 minutes):
Slice each head of greens into quarters. Rinse them well, but don’t spin them dry
Saute on medium/high for 5 – 7 minutes, or until greens have wilted.
While the greens are cooking, zest the garlic cloves and ginger on a zester or fine grater. Mix with sesame oil, lemon juice, and Bragg’s.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry cast iron pan on high. Toss them regularly and keep a close watch on them so they don’t burn. Pull off the heat once they have started to brown and become aromatic.
Toss the hot greens with the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds on top.
These make a delicious side dish for anything with Asian flavors. The pair particularly well with fish, grain dishes like fried rice, or miso soup.
In addition to all the powerful nutrients in the greens, you also get a hefty dose of calcium from the sesame seeds, immune-boosting allicin in the raw garlic, and anti-inflammatory compounds in the ginger. It’s delicious and nutritious at it’s best!
Here are some of my other favorite leafy greens recipes –