Greens are the most user-friendly vegetables. All of them cook quickly and they are extremely nutritious. Numerous varieties both common and exotic are available in the market these days, and new ones appear all the time. Most supermarkets carry Swiss chard, kale, dandelion greens, collards and broccoli rabe. Lately I’ve been able to find other kinds of kale like black lacinata, also called dinosaur kale because of its dark alligator like leaf pattern.
Leafy greens are considered “super foods” and belong to a family of vegetables called crucifers; specifically kale, mustard greens and collards (other vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts are also good sources). Cruciferous vegetables contain certain compounds called indoles that are believed to act as detoxifying agents, removing carcinogens from the body. Personally I love them because they taste wonderful and make my mealtime easy.
When shopping for greens, look for a crisp, shiny appearance. Always buy greens with whole, untorn and fully formed leaves. Beware of small holes and dark blemishes, which can indicate insect infestation. Always check the cut stem end to see when the greens were trimmed and placed on the produce stand.
Our other star vegetarian ingredient, tofu really gets a bad rap. Most people have such a bad impression because often bean curd is not prepared well. In this dish, its works well adding texture, flavor and protein. You may use firm or extra firm tofu. Shredded cheese now comes in several blends including a Mexican variety which will work great in this dish.
Leave the greens uncut until ready to cook, as they will keep longer. Although I recommend using fresh greens within three days of purchase, an effective way to store them is in a perforated plastic food bag.
—By Steven Petusevsky