Green vegetables are the champion of healthy ingredients.
Packed with vitamins and rich in minerals, each green vegetable brings something different to the table. Often, people consider vegetables as boring or tasteless but there’s no reason for them to be. I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 green vegetables and my favourite ways to make them taste great.
Top 5 Green Vegetables:
1. Spinach – An easy one to include in your diet as it goes well with most foods. If you’re not a big fan, try shredding it up and tossing through rice or quinoa or you can gently wilt it in a pan with salt and pepper and watch as half a bag shrinks down into a couple of easily palatable forkfuls. Try seasoning with a little lemon juice, crushed garlic and sea salt.
2. Kale and Cavolo Nero – These leafy greens benefit from a gentle steam to soften them up, or slice and add to a stir-fry. Cavolo nero is rich in flavour and makes a delicious accompaniment with turkey. Try stir-frying together with diced turkey breast, bean sprouts, peppers, red onions and a little Chinese 5-spice.
3. Tender stem Broccoli – Chunky florets of broccoli aren’t for everyone, so these tender stem greens might be a tastier alternative. Simply drop in boiling water for 3 minutes, and then submerge into cold water to blanch. This keeps the broccoli green and crunchy instead of soft and overcooked. If you do enjoy regular broccoli, you can blitz it in the food processor to create a rice-like consistency.
4. Courgette – Such a versatile vegetable. Slice, dice or spiralise – this tasty vegetable is delicious pan fried or roasted with a variety of herbs and spices. A simple go to would be lemon juice and fresh parsley or go spicy with some smoked paprika and fresh chilli.
5. Bok Choi – Popular in a Chinese stir fry, slice some of this up and add it to rice, quinoa or just simply add straight to your wok. My chicken fried rice recipe would pair perfectly with a few handfuls of shredded bok choi tossed through the dish.
Greens come in many shapes and sizes, not forgetting the flavourful variety of herbs available to us. My favourite 5 herbs are below, and I’ve included a suggestion of which foods to pair with each herb that will add that little extra to your meals.
Simply, shred or finely chop the following herbs and add them at the end of the cooking process. If you add your herbs at the start, you will lose the flavours by the end and the herbs will wilt quickly. Season with sea salt, black pepper and fresh herbs at the same time.
Top 5 Herbs:
1. Chives – work well with Greek yoghurt, sweet potato, and in sauces. Great on top of poached eggs too. Try mixing Greek yoghurt with chopped chives and lemon juice for a tasty, high-protein dip.
2. Parsley – works well in salads, with garlic, lemon, chives and steak. Toss it through rice and quinoa dishes to easily add a boost of fresh flavour or blend to create a chimichurri for steak.
3. Coriander – works well with Asian dishes, lime, chilli, cumin. Makes a great base for a Thai green curry paste, with coconut milk and lemongrass or sprinkled on top of Indian dishes.
4. Basil – works well with Italian and Mediterranean dishes, oregano, tomato and garlic. Great base for a pesto with rocket, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil.
5. Dill – works well with fish dishes, pair with lemon, lime, capers, olives or mustard. Great to add to a lemon and olive oil marinade for salmon, or included in a watercress salad with mackerel.
Tip: Sage, rosemary and thyme are great when cooking roasted chicken or turkey with a little lemon and roasted garlic. They add those traditional ‘roast dinner’ flavours. Add fresh thyme to a beef casserole or pair with mushrooms and tomatoes at breakfast. Use a sprinkle of dried thyme and a squeeze of fresh lemon before grilling tomatoes.
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