I had my first harvest today. After several months of extremely hard work I cycled out to our garden with a pair of scissors, an empty basket, and some very excited taste buds.
Having zero access to a plot of land for many years now, it’s indescribably gratifying to get my hands down in the earth, plant seeds and watch miracles happen (well, they seem like miracles to me). To be able to bike past the market, just to sit in my strawberry patch, basking in the sweet, sweet glory of a perfectly ripe jewel that I’ve had a hand in growing is nothing short of awesome. Total connection.
So, what is Sarah B. growing? Well, lots of root veggies, as Danish temperatures lends itself to produce that can hide underground for months on end (who can blame them?), but peas and beans will tolerate the cool and wet weather pretty well. I got some pretty groovy winter squashes in there, a good mix of herbs and edible flowers, and some fruit trees. Most of these treats I’ll have to wait a few more months for, so for the moment my pride and joy are the greens. Greens, greens, everywhere! And pretty ones too, with pink and purple stems.
In honor of the first harvest, I dedicate this post to greens. We could all stand to eat more of them, but they are not always the sexiest, nor the most sought-after veggie on many people’s list. In fact, I find that most folks are downright scared of green things. How the heck did this happen? With a few simple tricks, greens are downright tasty. I’ll show you how.
Why Green is Gold
Leafy greens are among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. The greener they are, the more nutritious and healing they are. Loaded with vitamin A and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and folic acid (the name derived from the word foliage), greens are also extremely low in calories for the nourishing punch they pack.
Including greens in your diet on a daily basis (it’s okay if that feels overwhelming – baby steps) is your ticket to greater health via their uncompromising ability to improve immune response and prevent disease. Leafy greens are also excellent brain-boosters, blood cleansers and cancer-fighters.
The happy news is greens are fairly abundant all year ‘round. They are very simple to grow (as I have now witnessed), but even if you don’t have a foot of soil to plant in, one can always find a green leaf at the grocery store during any season. And greens are extremely versatile: use them the obvious way like raw salad as I have done here, or add them to a soup or stir-fry (cooking them causes serious shrinkage so they are easy to hide!), blend them into a juice (I find spinach is a winner in this application), or juice them. One of my favorite ways to eat greens is to replace a wrap or piece of bread with a giant leaf and just roll up whatever I am munching on. This was a trick I learned some years ago and it really works – even with kids! The trick is making the flavours really sing until you can groove on the natural “green” taste, which I promise you will learn to love.
With all these glorious fresh greens ready to enjoy from my garden now, I thought I better come up with a killer way to eat them day after day. I have been craving something with big taste, something with ka-pow! And my totally boss mix of flavours fits the bill for sure.
The cool thing about this meal is the customizing aspect to it, one I would imagine would greatly appeal to children, or anyone unenthused by leafy greens. Once the intoxicatingly vibrant dressing of lime juice, garlic, ginger, chili, tamari and honey wraps itself around each ribbon of green, these once humble leaves become shockingly addictive. Then each person is free to liberally add in their favorites: toasted sesame, cashew, and coconut, more chili, and spring onion, cilantro and mint. Please inform everyone at the table that more is better! Pile on the toppings because they are all super healthy, and along with massive flavour, they bring on major nutritional bonus points.
And if you want to stop at just the greens, by all means do so – I added the noodles for a more filling and complete lunch. Take it to the next level with some marinated, stir-fried tempeh, avocado, sprouts, beans or lentils. The point is, we are making greens taste good and you can do just about anything with that.
Flavour Bomb Greens n’ Noodles
Brown rice noodles (approx. 125g for four servings)
A few large handfuls mixed greens (Swiss chard, kale, spinach etc.)
2 Tbsp. tamari
2 Tbsp. cold-pressed sesame oil (or olive)
2 tsp. raw honey (or maple syrup)
2 tsp. brown rice vinegar
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger root, minced
2 spring onions, sliced
½ red chili, minced
¼ cup mixed black and white sesame seeds
¼ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
¼ cup cashews
½ cup cilantro, chopped
½ cup mint, chopped
1. In a small dish whisk dressing ingredients together, reserving a few slices of spring onion and chili for garnish. Season to taste. Set aside.
2. Boil a pot of salted water, add noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to halt cooking. Place noodles in a large bowl, pour half of the dressing over and toss well to coat. Add some mint and cilantro and toss.
3. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside. Repeat with cashews and coconut.
4. Wash and greens and spin them dry. Remove any tough stalks, stack leaves, roll up and slice into thin ribbons. Add to a large bowl pour remaining dressing over, throw in some mint and cilantro (reserve some for garnish) and toss well to coat. Add dressed greens to dressed noodles.
5. To serve, allow each person to take their desired amount of greens and noodles. Place small dishes of toppings around the table for garnish and be generous! The more herbs, nuts, seeds, and coconut the better this will taste. Go wild!
I want to end this post with a huge thank-you to all of you who wrote a comment in the last post, on Facebook or sent an email. I have been so overwhelmed with your unbelievable outpouring of love and excitement for my pregnancy, and it means more than you know. I feel as if I have this giant extended family out there, made up of gorgeous people whom I have never even met, but wow, how I can feel you. And undoubtedly, so can this little sprout.
big love, Sarah B
oh – and because you’ll ask, I buy my seeds from here.
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And don’t forget to check out my recipes in The Guardian, in print and online.