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31 ways to use more dark green leafy vegetables

We all know they're good for us — but sometimes you just need a little extra inspiration.
31 ways to use more dark green leafy vegetables

Kale salad with sweet potatoes and walnuts. (Photo, Erik Putz.)

Dark green leafy vegetables

Spinach-pesto and artichoke pasta salad

Put it in: A homemade pesto. Pesto doesn't have to be all basil, all the time. From Kale to spinach, it's all about a flavourful, leafy green (plus garlic and parmesan, of course). Get the recipe.

Spinach-pesto and artichoke pasta saladPhoto, Roberto Caruso

Kale: Chicken and Kale saute on rice

Use it in: A flavourful rice bowl. This easy bowl is topped with a chicken and kale sauté, and seasoned with hot-red-chilli flakes for that kick of spice. Get the recipe.

Chicken and kale saute on ricePhoto, Erik Putz.

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Kale: Smoky braised lentils with halloumi

Use it with: Pan-fried cheese and lentils. Carrots, kale and leeks give it an big boost of nutrition (so don't be afraid of the fried halloumi). Get the recipe.

Smoky braised lentils with halloumiPhoto, Erik Putz.

Kale: Pesto pasta

Put it in: Tonight’s pasta. Bored with leaves? (We understand.) Get those dark leafy greens into dinner in a new, more inspiring way: blitz them into a pesto for pasta. Get the recipe.

Kale pesto pastaPhoto, Erik Putz.

Kale: Sausage and white bean soup

Put it in: A winter soup. A hearty veggie-packed soup, served with crusty bread, might just be one the best winter meals, ever. Get the recipe.

Sausage and kale soupPhoto, Roberto Caruso.

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Kale: Nordic meatballs with salad

Put it in: Tonight’s side salad. Beets and kale pair with rye croutons for a wintry salad that complements these meatballs perfectly. Get the recipe.

Nordic meatballs with kale saladPhoto, Sian Richards.

Kale: Sweet potato and walnut salad

Put it in: Tomorrow’s lunch salad.  Kale, roasted sweet potatoes, walnuts and creamy goat’s cheese make this salad a hearty, healthy (and interesting) work lunch you can assemble the night before. Get the recipe.

Kale salad with sweet potatoes and walnutsPhoto, Erik Putz.

Spinach: Paneer curry

Put it in: A vegetarian curry. What’s paneer? It’s a mild-flavoured fresh cheese commonly used in Indian cuisine. It has a similar texture to extra-firm tofu. Get the recipe.

Easy dinner recipes to make this week: Paneer curry with potatoes and spinachPhoto, Sian Richards.

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Spinach: Turkish salad with mint and feta

Put it in: A colourful Turkish salad. A bright platter rich in juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, feta and fresh mint. Get the recipe.

turkish salad recipe with mint and fetaPhoto, Sian Richards.

Mushroom grain bowl

Put it in: A hearty grain bowl. Filled with mushrooms, lentils, quinoa, baby spinach and hazelnuts, this super nutricious bowl is a great weeknight meal sure to leave you satisfied. Get the recipe.

Mushroom grain bowlPhoto, Erik Putz.

Spinach: Hand pies

Put it in: Flaky hand pies. These vegetarian pies are especially quick to make when you prep the dough ahead of time. (It keeps for up to three days in the fridge.) Get the recipe.

31 ways to use more dark green leafy vegetablesPhoto, Roberto Caruso.

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Spinach: Chili verde

Put it in: Green chili. Chicken chili is your new go-to this winter. Ready in just 30 minutes, you can top it with your choice of cheese, jalapenos, avocado, cilantro or tortilla chips (psst: we like them all). Get the recipe.

Chicken chili verdePhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Spinach: Breakfast smoothie

Put it in: a smoothie. Simplify your morning with an energizing smoothie bowl. This easy, eye-pleasing meal begins with a fruit and yogurt base and are packed with protein, fibre and vitamins. Get the recipe.

Green goddess smoothie bowlPhoto, Sian Richards.

Swiss chard: Duck confit pasta

Put it in: Spaghetti. Dress up spaghetti night with a few new ingredients, starting with swiss chard. Get the recipe.

31 ways to use more dark green leafy vegetablesPhoto, Roberto Caruso.

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Swiss chard: Sautéed with capers

Put it in: Tonight’s veggie side. Sautéed chard gets dressed up with just a few simple flavour-enhancing ingerdients: capers, salt and olive oil. Get the recipe.

31 ways to use more dark green leafy vegetablesAngus Fergusson

Swiss chard: Roasted trout with farro and swiss chard

Put it in: A two-for one dinner. At only 350 calories, this is a light (but filling) dinner to get your week going. And the best part? Some of the prep you do today will save you time on tomorrow’s meal. Get the recipe.

Roasted trout with farro and swiss chardPhoto, Erik Putz.

Swiss chard: Risotto with garlic shrimp

Put it in: A filling risotto. A creamy rice bowl tossed with colourful Swiss chard, goat cheese and garlicky shrimp. Get the recipe.

Risotto, with swiss chard and garlic shrimpPhoto, Erik Putz.

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Swiss chard: Vegetarian pasta

Put it in: Lasagna.

With swiss chard, ricotta, navy beans and noodles, this vegetarian lasagna is a comforting and colourful winter hit. Get the recipe.

fresh veggie lasagna with swiss chardPhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Swiss chard: Lemony sauté

Put it with: A Sunday roast.  An impressive bacon-wrapped tenderloin set the stage for a big family meal, just add crisp roast potaoes and some dark, lemony greens to round out the plate. Get the recipe.

chard, sides,, vegtables, lemon, dinner, food, cooking

Charred broccoli with chiles

Put it in: The spotlight, as a stellar veggie dish. The best way to prepare a quick weeknight dish of veggies is to char them in a hot cast iron pan. Drizzle with a garam-masala-and-ginger-laced vinaigrette, garnish with sesame seeds, flaxseeds, fried shallots and thinly sliced Thai chilies, and even broccoli haters will be clamouring for seconds. Get the recipe.

Broccoli recipes: Charred broccoli with chiles and curry dressingPhoto, Erik Putz.

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Broccoli: Rice vermicelli bowl

Put it in: A rice-noodle bowl. Paired with beef strips, this saucy sesame-ginger noodle bowl is an easy weeknight dinner that belongs to the regular rotation. Get the recipe.

beef and broccoli on top of vermicelli in a bowlPhoto, Sian Richards.

Broccoli: Chipotle roasted chicken and broccoli

Put it in: A one-pan roast. An eight-ingredient meal you can have on the table in just 40 minutes. Get the recipe.

Easy weeknight dinner recipes: Chipotle roasted chicken and broccoliPhoto, Sian Richards.

Broccoli: Pita pizza with hummus and mint

Put it on: Vegetarian pizza. This Middle-Eastern inspired pizza is all about the healthy veggies. (We’ve added protein-rich hummus as the base for a more complete the meal.) Get the recipe.

Pita pizza with hummus and mintPhoto, Michael Graydon.

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Broccoli: Cheddar Broccoli soup

Put it in: A warming soup. A perfect match to stave off the cold as we make it through the last stretch of winter. Get the recipe.

Cheddar Broccoli soupPhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Broccoli: Primavera pasta

Put it in: A one-pan pasta. A 20-minute pasta that keeps the kitchen relatively tidy, and adds a great boost of veggies onto your plate. Get the recipe.

One pot primavera pasta recipe with spring peasPhoto, Roberto Caruso.

Arugula: Trout with arugula relish

Put it in: A zesty relish. It’s not just for salads! Stir it together with salt, garlic, lemon zest and juice for a flavourful gremolata that tastes amazing over fish. Get the recipe.

Trout with arugula gremolataPhoto, Roberto Caruso.

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Arugula: Linguine with arugula pesto.

Put it in: (More) pesto. Arugula makes a peppery and perfect pesto that competes with both pesto and basil pestos at our table. (We’ve also added fried pancetta to really make this pasta stand out.) Get the recipe.

31 ways to use more dark green leafy vegetables

Arugula: Warm mushroom-arugula salad

Put it in: A starter salad. Earthy mushrooms and umami-rich parmesan make this salad a perfect belnd of rich, balanced flavour. Get the recipe.

31 ways to use more dark green leafy vegetablesPhoto, Roberto Caruso

Arugula: Italian tuna melt

Put it on: A warm sandwich. A few handfuls of arugula add a sharp, peppery note to this warm sandwich, giving it a more elegant look and taste. Get the recipe.

Italian tuna meltPhoto, Sian Richards.

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Arugula: Mushroom salad with fennel and goat cheese

Put it in: A hearty winter salad. This rustic salad mixes golden sautéed mushrooms, croutons, goat cheese and peppery arugula for a riot of complementary fall flavours. Get the recipe.

Salad recipes for winter: Mushroom salad with fennel and goat cheesePhoto, Erik Putz.

Arugula: Flank steak and hashbrowns

Put it in: Gremolata. This dish is all about easy upgrades. The crisp pan-fried potatoes get dressed up with sundried tomatoes, while the beef gets a zesty and peppery arugula gremolata to finish. Get the recipe.

Flank steak and hashbrownsPhoto, Roberto Caruso.

We all know dark green leafy vegetables are good for us (they're rich in fibre, folate, vitamins and minerals, not to mention anti-oxidants), but no one wants to eat salad every night of the week. Here are 20 ways to get creative with some of our favourite dark greens, from kale to spinach, broccoli, swiss chard and arugula (with a few salads thrown in, just in case).

Related:
How to de-stem leafy greens
How to cook green vegetables and keep them green
13 simple roasted vegetable recipes

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