We’re willing to bet that, at least once in your life, you’ve been told to eat your greens. You pretty much can’t go wrong with green vegetables–all of them provide valuable nutrients and health benefits–but we’ve narrowed down the top 10 that give you the most nutritional bang for your buck. Not a fan of plain old greens? We’ve got some great recipes that will make them not just palatable, but downright delicious!
- SPINACH – Popeye had the right idea: this leafy green has vitamins A and C to boost your eyesight, immune system, and hair and skin health, as well as folate and calcium. Cooked spinach makes a great filling for omelets and quiche.
- BROCCOLI – A staple in stir-fries, pasta bowls and crudite, broccoli provides tons of vitamins A and C, potassium and folate. You don’t have to eat them as florets: slaw is another great way to get broccoli into your diet.
- CABBAGE – It’s not just for St. Patrick’s Day as a side for corned beef. The vitamin C and cancer-fighting compounds in cabbage make it a wise dietary choice. Roast it in wedges like its mini-me, the brussels sprout.
- SPIRULINA – This freshwater microalgae is typically used as a mix-in for smoothies and dressings to add a serious nutritional boost. Spirulina has B vitamins, amino acids, omega fatty acids, and lots of antioxidants. Get a double-dose of greens with this spinach & spirulina smoothie from The Whole Food Diary.
- AVOCADO – Okay, so we know avocado is technically a fruit, but we couldn’t have any kind of meaningful discussion about greens without including it. It’s full of heart-healthy omega fatty acids and can even be used in baking as a butter substitute. Guacamole might seem like an obvious recipe choice, but it’s a classic!
- PEAS – They may be small, but peas give you some big nutritional benefits. In addition to aiding blood sugar regulation and cardiovascular function, these tiny green veggies have a laundry list of vitamins and minerals (magnesium, iron and zinc, to name a few) and can help prevent certain types of cancer. Transform frozen peas into pesto with this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.
- MUSTARD GREENS – A less bitter version of kale and collard greens, mustard greens are great for detoxing and can help lower your cholesterol and cancer risk. Saute it with squash for a delicious and filling vegetarian dish.
- GREEN BEANS – Whether you call them green beans, string beans, or haricots verts, there’s no doubt that this veggie is a winner. Like most greens, they have vitamin A, potassium, magnesium and folate, and they’re a good source of fiber for heart health and weight loss. Even though Thanksgiving is over, you can still turn your green beans into a healthy casserole.
- LEEKS – These cousins of onions and garlic do wonders for your cardiovascular health with their flavanoids, folate and polyphenols. They also provide a significant amount of vitamins A and K. Leeks are typically used in soups, but they’re also delicious braised.
- KALE – We saved the best for last. Kale is a considered a superfood for good reason: it’s packed with vitamins A, C, and K, folate and potassium, and it’s a great source of calcium for bone health. Try it in kale & potato soup for a creamy and comforting (but healthy) cold-weather dish.
What’s your favorite green vegetable? How do you usually prepare it?