This beautiful book, 100% dedicated to leafy greens, is written by the prolific and highly respectable vegan cookbook author, Nava Atlas (with gorgeous photography by Susan Voisin of Fat Free Vegan ). The book grabbed my interest early on simply because of its title. I truly am wild about greens, and this book was everything I hoped for. And more! I was eager to flip through it and read it cover to cover, but the real excitement didn’t kick in until after I had made a few recipes. To say I enjoyed cooking out of this book would be an understatement.
The recipes were fast and delicious, and they all made perfect use of the kale forest I have growing in my tiny urban backyard. I also had a chance to enjoy Mustard greens (one of my most favorite greens) and Bok choy in ways I don’t normally prepare. While I am an enthusiastic eater of greens, I appreciated the change-up in preparation for the greens I enjoy daily, such as: Kale, Spinach, Arugula, and Dandelion greens. I also learned a thing or two about the greens I am less familiar with like Mizuna and Tatsoi.
The book is broken down by chapter into different ways of preparing greens, starting with Basic Preparations for Leafy Greens, which offers a thorough guide to braising, sauteing and stir frying and ending with the easy and highly nutritious chapter, Green Juices & Smoothies.
I spent a few days trying out recipes from this book, and loved them all. I had two smoothies from the Green Juices and Smoothies Section: the Spinach Piña Colada Smoothie, which was a pleasant change in scenery for my often boring and monotonous green smoothie routine, and one more close to what I love indulging in pre-lunch, the Greens & Apple Smoothie (with the addition of hemp Seeds as recommended). Both were simple and the perfect smoothie consistency and sweetness in my opinion.
Usually after a big breakfast of greens I am craving even more of the leafy stuff, so I like to re-charge with a salad. Even though I feel like I am pretty efficient at mixing up my salad rotation and always discovering new flavors on my own, Nava blew me away with the combinations in this book. I first tried the Orange & Cucumber Salad with Spring Greens, and loved the juxtaposition of the zesty citrus and watercress next to the coolness of the cucumbers.
I also tried the simple but spectacular Kale & Cucumber Salad with Avocado-Tahini Dressing, and the more hearty Kale with Cauliflower & Sweet Potatoes, both making excellent and easy light lunches over the weekend.
The final recipe I tried was the Balsamic-Glazed Chickpea and Mustard Greens, which turned out to be my dinner, rather than the snack that I hoped it to be. I ended up eating the entire recipe by myself!
As you can see, I gravitated mainly to the kale recipes– and even then, I barely scratched the surface! There is still many recipes left for me to explore.
(For even MORE recipes for kale by Nava Atlas, check out this link)
I found this book to not only be a great recipe book, but also a wonderful reference for the green lovers out there. It’s also a perfect introduction to people wanting to incorporate more greens into their diets but are unsure of where to start. The world needed a beautiful and thorough book dedicated to greens and Wild About Greens is it.
Nava and her publisher Sterling were gracious enough to share a beautiful recipe from the book called Stir-Fried Sesame Kale and Red Cabbage:
Stir-Fried Sesame Kale and Red Cabbage
(Reprinted with permission of the author and publisher)
The trick to this pretty stir-fry is to stop the stir-fry process just shy of when you think you need to, so that both the cabbage and kale retain their bright colors.
- 8 to 12 ounces kale, any variety
- 1/2 small head or 1/3 medium head red cabbage
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (preferably unhulled)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Strip the kale leaves from the stems. Stacking a few leaves atop one another, cut them into narrow strips. If desired, slice the stems thinly to use in the stir-fry; otherwise discard.
Cut the red cabbage into thin slices about 2 inches long.
Heat the oil in a stir-fry pan or large skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden and soft.
Add the kale and cabbage. Turn the heat up to high and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until both are brightly colored and tender crisp.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the sesame oil and sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper and serve at once.
To this simple vegetable combination, you can add a small amount of another vegetable or two, depending on what you have on hand. Use any of the following, adding them at the same time as the kale and cabbage.
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into long narrow strips
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed)
- 8 to 10 baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
To spice this up, add a spicy condiment, minced fresh hot chili, or dried hot red pepper flakes to taste.