March is National Nutrition Month, a time to focus on what you're putting into your body and how it affects your overall health. One change that can really improve your diet is increasing your daily consumption of leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale and arugula. They're packed with essential nutrients that assist the body in fighting off disease, preventing inflammation and detoxifying. Try these mouthwatering recipes with leafy greens to enhance your diet.
1. Spinach, Green Onion and Smoked Gouda Quiche
Start your day off right with this delicious breakfast dish filled with vegetables and calcium-rich dairy products.
- 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
- 2 Tbsp. 1% low-fat milk
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 5.6 oz. all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
- 3/4 cup (3 oz.) grated smoked Gouda cheese
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- Dash of grated nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
In a large bowl, begin preparing the crust by beating the butter at medium speed until fluffy and light. Pour the salt, egg yolk and milk in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly. Add the milk mixture to the bowl with the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat well after every addition. Pour in the flour and beat until combined. Press the mixture into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap the chilled dough and place on lightly-floured surface. Roll into a 10-inch circle and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Freeze for 15 minutes before baking for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
For the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes, or until tender. Toss in the spinach and saute for another 2 minutes. Mix 1 cup milk and remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Stir in spinach mixture and pour filling into crust. Bake for 35 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
2. Kale, Quinoa and Avocado Salad
This salad recipe contains an impressive amount of vitamins, protein and healthy minerals. The quinoa makes this salad more than just a side dish, but a nutritious meal that will leave you feeling satisfied.
- 2/3 cup quinoa
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
- 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. red onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 3/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Bring the quinoa and 1 1/3 cup water to boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer until quinoa is tender and all the water is absorbed, around 15-20 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Place kale in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water in a saucepan. Cover with a lid and steam kale until hot, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a large plate and top kale with quinoa, avocado, bell pepper, feta cheese, cucumber and red onion.
For the dressing, whisk the sea salt, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil and black pepper in a bowl until the oil emulsifies into a dressing. Pour over salad and serve.
3. Orecchiette with Kale, Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Pasta lovers will enjoy this quick and flavorful dish that combines a range of spices and vegetables for a meal that's just as healthy as it is scrumptious.
- 8 oz. uncooked orecchiette pasta
- 5 cups bagged prewashed kale
- 2 slices center-cut bacon
- 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 3/8 tsp. salt
- 1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Cook pasta until almost tender, about 8 minutes. While the pasta cooks, prepare bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon, crumble and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low and add sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and crushed red pepper to the bacon drippings. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
Add kale to pasta and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain over a bowl to reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Combine pasta mixture, salt, black pepper and 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid to pan. Toss to thoroughly mix and top pasta with bacon and cheese. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living