Spring is in the air, the perfect time for colorful flavorful dishes featuring leafy green vegetables. After months of the colder, heavier energy of winter, spring’s uplifting energy is reflected in the food we eat. Sour is the signature flavor for spring, and lemon juice lends that sour taste to any dish. Foods with this sour flavor feed and nurture our liver, gallbladder, and nervous system as do leafy green vegetables.
Often the vegetables we buy have greens attached that we end up tossing out because we don’t know what to do with them. The nutrient-dense greens that grow upwards from root vegetables have upward, expansive energy and naturally bitter flavor. Their upward energy opens us up physically and emotionally to get ourselves moving in the warmer weather.
The greens featured in my recipe below are full of health benefits.
Turnip greens are very high in potassium, an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E, and excellent for gut health and digestion. They’re also high in dietary nitrates, which help with cardiovascular functioning and reduce the risk of strokes, hypertension, and coronary heart disease.
Dandelion greens are great for detoxing the liver, purifying the blood, eye health, and healthy skin. They also contain over 500% of your daily requirement of vitamin K, which is important for healthy brain function, a strong metabolism, blood clotting, and improved bone health, reducing your bone fracture risk.
Kale is in the cabbage family and has anti-cancer properties. It’s very high in calcium, iron, vitamins C and K, and anti-inflammatory properties, and is great for your heart.
Fennel is one of the signature vegetables of spring. This licorice-tasting vegetable is great for your digestion. It contains a compound called anethole which is found to inhibit smooth muscle spasms in the intestinal tract, helping to eliminate gas or treat stomach cramps, which may help soothe indigestion, colic, stomach ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Spring Greens Medley with Turnips and Sweet Potato Miso Sauce
4 cups water
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 purple onion (thin half-moons)
1/2 fennel bulb (sliced thin)
4 cups kale (cut up)
2 cups turnip greens (cut up)
1 cup dandelion greens (cut up)
10 cloves black garlic (cut up or or reg. minced)
4 oz. mushrooms (cut up) Use your fave variety
2/3 cup vegetable water from recipe
2 T. brown rice vinegar
1 turnip (cut in matchsticks)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 sweet potato (approx. 3 1/2 cups, peeled & cut up)
3/4 cup vegetable water from recipe
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. mellow white miso or chickpea miso
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Boil turnips for approximately five minutes until soft. Remove turnips and boil the sweet potato for approximately 10 minutes until soft, then remove from water. SAVE THE WATER TO USE IN THE RECIPE AS VEGETABLE WATER.
Sautée the onions in a little olive oil and sea salt on medium heat until soft and translucent. Remove onions and add fennel to the middle of pan. Sautée with a pinch more of sea salt until soft.
Put mushrooms, garlic, kale, turnip greens and dandelion greens on top of the fennel and onions. Add 2/3 cup vegetable water, 2 T. brown rice vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Cover and simmer for approximately ten minutes until greens are soft.
Turn off heat, add turnip to the pan, and mix all together. Put the sauce ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. I recommend serving the sautéed vegetables over brown rice. Drizzle sauce over the top and enjoy!
Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. She offers weekly, virtual cooking classes that all can attend. Visit http://www.macroval.com for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or her radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.
Excerpted from the Spring 2023 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2023, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.