If you have trouble adding dark green, leafy vegetables to your diet, try one of these easy soup recipes to reap the nutritional benefits.
The nutritional benefits of dark green, leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach and collard greens, continue to be discovered by researchers and nutrition experts. It is well known that the darker the leaf, the more dense the nutritive value of the vegetable.
Dark, Leafy Greens a Good Source of Vitamins and Minerals
The Center for Young Women’s Health at the Children’s Hospital Boston, says that dark green leafy vegetables are good sources of many vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy, such as vitamins A, C, and K, folate, iron and calcium.
According to their Web site, research suggests that the nutrients found in dark green vegetables may prevent certain types of cancers and promote heart health.
Dark Green Vegetables May Reduce Diabetes Risks
In a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers found that a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, even with only a portion and a half a day, cut type 2 diabetes risks by 14 percent. Nutrition experts recommend that consumers continue to aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
What Are The Dark Green Vegetables?
The United States Department of Agriculture’s My Pyramid food guidance system divides the vegetables into five categories. The dark green vegetables include: bok choy, broccoli, collard greens, dark green leafy lettuce, kale, mesclun, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, turnip greens and watercress.
Getting a larger portion of the dark leafy greens into the diet is not always easy. Many palates are not suited to the greens: collards, mustards, spinach or kale, eaten in a raw form or even cooked alone. One solution to this problem is to try these leafy greens in soup recipes.
Make Collard Greens Soup
- ½ C. Great Northern Beans, soaked overnight
- 2 quarts water
- 1 small hambone or ham hock
- 1 small beef bone
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 bunch fresh collards, washed and chopped coarsely
- ½ onion, chopped
- Link sausage, as much as desired, cut into one inch pieces
In a large pot, put water, ham and beef bones, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a boil, skimming foam if necessary. Lower heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add beans and collard greens and cook until tender. In separate pan, cook onions and sausage and add to soup when onions are soft. Add potatoes. Bring soup to a boil and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, which helps to reduce any bitterness from the greens. Cover and simmer. When the potatoes and greens are done, the soup is ready.
Try a Tuscan-Inspired Soup with Kale
- 1 lb. ground Italian sausage
- 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 4 Tbsp bacon, crumbled
- 2 tsp garlic puree
- 2 quarts water
- 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 large potatoes, sliced
- ¼ of a bunch of kale, chopped coarsley
In a large pot, sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper. Drain excess fat, then pour mixture into another dish and set aside. In the original pot, sauté bacon, onions and garlic on low until the onions are soft. Add water and bring to a boil. Add chicken bouillon. Add potatoes and kale and cook until potatoes are soft or about half an hour. Add the heavy cream, then stir in sausage mixture and simmer until heated through, then serve.
A Soup Recipe with Spinach and Tomatoes
- 1 can white beans, such as Great Northern or Navy beans
- Link style Italian sausage, cut into pieces
- 1 large can Progresso crushed tomatoes
- 2 cans chicken broth
- ½ cup elbow macaroni
- 1 cup white wine
- Ham flavoring
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 package frozen chopped Spinach, thawed
In a large pot, cook onion and garlic until soft. Add chicken broth, beans, sausage, crush tomatoes, wine, ham flavoring and spinach. Bring to a boil. Cover pot and simmer until beans are to desired tenderness. Add wine and macaroni. Cook until macaroni is just tender, and then serve.
To add more dark green, leafy vegetables to your diet and reap the nutritional benefit of this category of vegetables, try one of these easy soup recipes.