You’ve probably heard or been told that you should add more green leafy vegetables to your diet. But sometimes that can be a challenging thing, especially if you’re not used to eating them on a regular basis or have only ever considered lettuce to be the only “green” part of your diet.
So to help you get more of those healthy greens, I’m sharing a delicious Crispy Chickpea Kale Salad from Jesse Lane Lee’s newest cookbook, Jesse Lane Wellness Cookbook: Healthy Fresh Salads. But first, I want to talk about the benefits of leafy green vegetables, and how you can incorporate them into your daily meals in a way that’s both easy and delicious.
Benefits of Green Leafy Vegetables
So to start off, why should you care to eat green leafy vegetables in the first place? Well, as the name implies, these leafy veggies includes things like kale, spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard and collard greens. And all of these beautiful leafy plants are a rich source of fibre, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, calcium, potassium, and folate.
Antioxidants help fight against free radical damage and oxidative stress, which keeps cells and tissues functioning properly. Antioxidants are also important for keeping skin young and glowing.
When you include green leafy vegetables in your diet, you’re also supporting the brain and nervous system, as well as keeping muscles and bones strong and healthy. Most people are surprised to find out that you can meet your body’s calcium needs just by eating more green leafy veggies instead of increasing dairy consumption.
These vegetables are also important for a healthy cardiovascular system and help maintain good blood pressure levels.
You can probably see that you’ve got every reason to include more of these amazing vegetables in your diet. So how can you add more of this green deliciousness in your life?
How to Include More Green Leafy Vegetables in Your Diet
Smoothies are a fun way to add more greens in your diet, especially if you aren’t particularly used to the taste or want to feed picky children. Try my Tropical Green Smoothie recipe for a taste of the caribbean! 🙂
Soups and stews
You don’t have to stick to only eating raw greens! You can add some variety in your diet by adding chopped up leafy greens to your favourite soup or stew. Cooking leafy greens is also a good option if you’re currently healing a leaky gut and have trouble digesting raw foods. All leafy greens cook quite fast, but the greens with “hardier” leaves (such as kale or Swiss chard) will take a few extra minutes to cook. Either way, leafy greens should only be added in the last 5-7 minutes of cooking and you want them to just be wilted before turning off the stove.
Another tip: the volume of the leafy greens will significantly shrink once they’re cooked, so prep a little extra, even though it might initially seem like a lot. I promise it won’t be that much once they’re actually cooked!
Another great option for cooking your leafy greens is by sauteeing them! All you need is a little bit of oil in a pan, some chopped up greens, salt, and if you want to add a bit of flavour, freshly minced garlic or just plain old garlic powder. Simply heat up the oil, add your ingredients and you’ll have some delicious sauteed green veggies that you can add as a side to any meal!
Lastly, and probably the most obvious option for adding more greens to your diet is with salads! I love salads because they make a great side dish to practically any meal. Don’t worry though, salads don’t have to be boring. In fact, they’re the most versatile because you can literally add anything you want to a salad. Not to mention that you can change the flavour of a salad just with the dressing or vinaigrette alone.
And if you’re thinking that salads are only a “cold” dish, and therefore no good for the winter time, I’ve got an awesome tip for you: make a “warm” salad! You can keep the leafy greens raw, but then add some baked sweet potatoes, or sauteed veggies, or even roasted chickpeas (like in the recipe I’m about to share with you!). It’s a ridiculously easy way to make a salad still enjoyable during the colder months.
About the Healthy Fresh Salads Cookbook
This section contains affiliate links, which means that I receive compensation if you buy the cookbook through my link.
Speaking of salads, Jesse from Jesse Lane Wellness has recently published her newest cookbook, Jesse Lane Wellness Cookbook: Healthy Fresh Salads. This cookbook is a great resource if you want to add variety to your salads. It has over 30 recipes, including both salads and salad dressings! Of course, I only recommend things that I think are truly valuable and beneficial; so if you’re stuck in finding creative ways to add more leafy greens in your life – especially in the form of salads – Jesse’s cookbook has got you covered.
And now, for a beautiful, delicious, yet simple recipe straight from the cookbook:
Crispy Chickpea Kale Salad by Jesse Lane Lee
This kale salad is one of the most addictive recipes from the Jesse Lane Wellness Cookbook Healthy Fresh Salads. I think it’s because the toasted, crispy chickpeas gives you the crunchy texture that our bodies crave from chips, and other fried foods. However, with this recipe, your crunchy cravings can be cured in a healthy way! I know a lot of people are skeptical about using kale in a salad, but I promise this fresh dish will turn you into a kale lover! The creamy dressing compliments the chickpea crunch, and the avocado adds those healthy fats that our body needs.
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 30-40 minutes | Serving size: 4 large sides
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp coriander, whole
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large head kale, stems removed and chopped/torn into bit sized pieces
2 avocados, diced
Creamy Cashew Dressing
3/4 cups raw cashews or ¾cup sesame seeds for a nut free version
2 garlic cloves
3/4 cup tahini
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice (1/4 a lemon)
2 tsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
2. In a large bowl mix the chickpeas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil, cumin, garlic powder, coriander, pepper, paprika, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Spread out on the baking sheet and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
3. Place the cashews (or sesame seeds for a nut free version) and garlic in a food processor and pulse until minced. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. The dressing will be much thicker than regular salad dressing but you can add water as needed.
4. In a large bowl massage dressing into the kale. Top with the avocado and sprinkle with the crispy chickpea and seed mixture.
Jesse Lane’s Bio
Jesse Lane Lee, BSc, CNP is a cheerful Holistic Nutritionist, motivating speaker, cookbook author, and founder of JesseLaneWellness.com. She is a salad lover and former civil engineer. Jesse Lane literally ate a salad every day for the 7 years she worked as an engineering which works out to roughly 1,700 salads! She got super creative with the salads she was making and shares them with in her cookbook Healthy Fresh Salads. She is also the author of author Jesse Lane Wellness Cookbook Healthy Dairy Free Desserts and has contributed to recipes to KrisCarr.com, MindBodyGreen.com and Clean Eating Magazine. Check out her free eBook Healthy Eating on a Budget!
Free eBook: http://www.jesselanewellness.com/freebies