Do you ever find that your week’s eating ends up having an unintentional theme? This week, I have, in one way or another, eaten shredded greens EVERY DAY. And this is the theme for most of my weeks. If you’ve ever been round to my house for dinner, it’s a pretty safe bet that I’ll have fed you shredded greens in some form (and if you haven’t, you are welcome any time). Shredded greens are satisfying in so many ways, and there are SO many ways you can eat them. They are delicious and fucken good for you, yo, and easily the quickest thing to cook and also you’ll feel really good and smug after a dinner consisting mainly of greens. Eat them.
My revered papa used not to eat kale, because his parents would feed it to the chickens and so he doesn’t think it is food for people. He literally had gout, though, and now all he drinks is green juice consisting mainly of kale, bless him. I have watched him juicing kale for nearly three straight hours. A bleak scene. You totally don’t need to juice kale though, guys – you can just eat it. Kale is ridiculously good for you. I periodically freak out that I’m not eating enough iron and then eat a whole bag of kale in one go and I will say that a massive bowlful of kale, or spring greens, or whatever greens you have around, with lemon juice, a little drizzle of olive oil, some chilli flakes and toasted nuts, is a verifiable delight.
Here are just a few of my favourite ways to use shredded greens. But seriously, just have them every day. It’s the go to option for the winter, to have in place of a side salad.
KALE SALADS. These days I almost always use kale leaves instead of salad in my packed lunches, for various reasons. The first is that it feels way heartier, and better for you. Kale is legit nutritious, whereas most salad leaves are mainly water. Also, there’s something about the eating of raw kale – it feels like quite hard work and I quite like that. It also means that it takes longer to eat your lunch, instead of wolfing it all down at 12.30 like usual. ALSO you can dress your salad before lunchtime and the kale won’t wilt because it is a SUPER FOOD. You can leave kale dressed in the fridge for, like, three days, probably.
Spaghetti with bits! I’m big into sprouts again right about now, and there’s nothing I love more than a hearty vegan pasta with bits. This was the first recipe I did for this blog and I still make it ALL the time.
Vegan shepherd’s pie (love you Jamie Oliver) with a huge bowl of greens: shredded kale (cavolo nero is best) and sprouts, with peas, leeks, vegan butter, lemon juice & chilli flakes. And MAGGI, the best seasoning in the world. This, incidentally, is a great thing to make for a dinner party for non-vegan friends, especially those who say annoying things like ‘Ugh well I can’t come round for dinner anymore because you’re a vegan now aren’t you’. They will not notice that it is vegan and they will ask you for the recipe. It is a very good pie.
Cabbage soup. My post on Pantry Suppers will have alerted you to the fact that I LOVE a cabbage, and always, always have one in the fridge. Cabbage soup is a super quick, tasty and ridic healthy and warming supper. Tin of tomatoes, softened onion, maybe some caraway seeds (cabbage & caraway is the bomb), veggie stock, shredded cabbage. Cook for 10 mins or so. You want the cabbage nice and soft. Mop up with a mound of fluffy white bread.
Double greens in this one – one of my favourite pantry suppers is a huge bean stew with loads of shredded greens – whatever you’ve got – topped with some homemade pesto. You can make pesto out of ANYTHING. I always reserve things like the stems of broccoli, and carrot tops, and any fag ends of kale etc, and blitz them up into a pesto with plenty of garlic and olive oil, whatever nuts you fancy, and a bit of preserved lemon. I love preserved lemon (have I ever mentioned that I love preserved lemon? HAVE YOU EVER HAD A PRESERVED LEMON MARTINI? If not, come round. I’ll make you one) and I find it’s a good salty and sharp note to add to a vegan pesto in place of the usual parmesan. It also gives it a nice creamy texture. The same goes for hummus, actually. You will never make better hummus than hummus that has a preserved lemon in it.
One of my other favourite things to eat at the moment is stuffed squash. Those wonky-ass little guys that are EVERYWHERE in your fruit & veg aisles at the moment. Tis but the work of a moment to whip up a couscous filling to stuff into the squash, and it is the perfect accompaniment to your delicious greens.
- 1 seasonal squash – acorn, kabocha, ambercup, turban (don’t squashes have the most delightful names??), about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. Use your common sense about this…
- 1.5 cups cooked couscous
- ½ a preserved lemon – skin only (instructions on how to make these here)
- 30g dried sour cherries
- Large handful of both parsley and coriander, chopped
- 50g Pistachio kernels
- Seeds from half a pomegranate
- Couple tbsp pumpkin seeds
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp garlic granules
- Juice & zest of half a lemon
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Finely chop the skin of the preserved lemon
- Roughly chop the cherries, pistachios, and the herbs.
- Mix together in a bowl everything except the the squash (…obviously), garlic and 1 tbsp olive oil. Combine and season to taste.
- CAREFULLY cut the squash in half – I do tend to do this side to side rather than top to bottom, but see which way you think your squash will sit flatter. It differs between varieties.
- Scoop out the seeds.* Rub the hollowed out squash halves, inside and out, with the remaining olive oil, the garlic, and a bit of salt.
- Pack the hollow of the squash with the couscous, and bake for 25 mins, or until the squash is soft. If it’s getting a little brown on top for your liking, cover it in tin foil.
- Serve topped with a few pomegranate seeds, and with some deliciously sauteed shredded greens, obviously, and a little of your favourite tahini sauce, or (whispers) a bit of mayo. OMG I just remembered that I found out that sriracha mayo is a thing and that it is VEGAN does anyone know where I can get some! Also: Smoked Tabasco is a thing. Did everyone know about this and just no one told me? It’s the best thing I’ve ever tasted.
*If you are more virtuous than me these are delicious once you clean off all the stringy stuff, give them a good rinse, and coat them with smoked paprika, cumin, garlic and salt, and bake them for 5 mins or so. Good on soup.
This is quite a crumbly filling, which I like, but if you’d like something a little sturdier, a couple of mashed parsnips would make an excellent binder.