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Embrace Winter Greens Like You Mean It

Diners have fallen in love with delectable, deeply healthy and inexpensive dark leafy greens.

Embrace Winter Greens Like You Mean It

From maple-glazed Brussels sprouts to kale and quinoa salad, these greens are staying on the menu. Here are a few new ideas for cooking up green leafies from root to stem.

Make a salad for the season.

During fall and winter, reach for darker, slightly more bitter greens like chard, kohlrabi and dandelion greens, or chicories such as frisée and endive. Enliven the salad with flavors such as dried fruit, candied nuts and fragrant crumbled aged cheese. Then add a little more sustenance and fat to the whole thing and replace the olive oil in your dressing with bacon fat. Adding chopped bacon brings another flavor and texture to the dish.

Balance out the bitterness.

Some winter greens, such as mustard, collard and dandelion, have a pronounced bitterness that tastes best when balanced in some way, suggests Chef Meegan Roberts, Culinary Consultant at Sysco Phoenix. With dandelion greens, marinate them or toss them with an acidic vinaigrette, such as one that uses anchovies and lemon. You can also mix them in a salad with a more neutral green such as butter lettuce or curly endive. When using collard greens, “I would use plenty of fat and flavorful braising liquid to cook them down,” says Roberts. “And it can also be turned into a soup.”

Save the stems.

“I think Swiss chard is going be the next kale,” Roberts says. If there’s one thing she has learned about greens as a chef, it’s that you always remove the stem to get that nice consistency of texture—but don’t throw that stem away. “You can take the tender leaves and chop them up in a salad, and then pickle the stalk,” says Roberts. “Leafy greens are so versatile because you do have two vegetables in one,” she adds. “I make a lot of beets, and I love to cook the beet greens, too. I sauté them with a little lemon and olive oil. Instead of throwing away the stem and greens, which most people do, you are making another delicious dish out of it.”

Ask your Sales Consultant about Sysco FreshPoint’s assortment of winter greens and frequent delivery schedule for getting the freshest produce directly to your kitchen.